Why Biden's lead is different from Clinton's in 2016

But some people have dismissed Biden’s lead by pointing out that Hillary Clinton also led in most polls of the 2016 election (Clinton, obviously, ended up losing to Trump). While this is true, Clinton’s lead was much smaller. Applying our current polling-average methodology to 2016 polls, Clinton led national polls by an average of about 4.0 points four months before the 2016 election, and 3.8 points on Election Day itself. So while a normal-sized polling error was enough to throw the 2016 election to Trump, it would take a much bigger — and much unlikelier — polling error for Trump to be ahead right now.

Of course, Trump became president because he won the Electoral College despite losing the national popular vote. But if Biden wins the popular vote by 9.6 points, his current lead, Trump would be extremely unlikely to pull off the same trick. In our state-by-state polling averages, Biden currently leads in states worth 368 electoral votes, far more than the 270 needed to win.2