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US presidential election: So what do the opinion polls say on the eve of the vote?

Donald Trump and Joe Biden during the second and final presidential debate at Belmont University in Nashville, Tenn. on Oct. 22, 2020.
Donald Trump and Joe Biden during the second and final presidential debate at Belmont University in Nashville, Tenn. on Oct. 22, 2020. Copyright AP Photos
Copyright AP Photos
By Alasdair SandfordEuronews
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Several surveys suggest Joe Biden has a significant lead over Donald Trump in the popular vote. But the margin in swing states is tight and the pollsters have been wrong before.


The US presidential election is gearing up to be a close race as current president Donald Trump and Democratic candidate Joe Biden fight for the country's top post.

The much-anticipated showdown is on Tuesday and the candidates have been flat-out trying to win battleground states.

So what does the polling say on the eve of the vote?

YouGov America's final poll ahead of the election gives Joe Biden a 9-point lead over Donald Trump, with the Democrat on 53.2% compared to the Republican's 44.3%. The research group suggests this would convert into an electoral college 364—174 majority for Biden. The threshold to win is 270.

Its poll gives Biden a large majority among people who have already voted — and a large majority for Trump among those who intend to turn out on election day. A breakdown of the figures suggests a tight race in some key states.

YouGov says it has carried out more than 99,000 interviews, including over 1,400 in the final 24-hour period, for its weekly polling.

A CNN Poll of Polls tracking the average poll result in the race gives Biden a 10-point lead of 52% to Trump's 42%. But the US broadcaster points out that the president is elected by the electoral college, not the popular vote which national polls can only approximate.

The website FiveThirtyEight, which focuses on opinion poll analysis, says Biden is "clearly favoured" to win the election, coming out top in 90% of its simulations. But, it adds, bigger polling errors have happened in the past — pointing out that a 10% chance attributed to Trump "is roughly the same as the odds that it’s raining in downtown Los Angeles. And it does rain there".

An analysis by RealClearPolitics of "top battleground" states gives Biden the lead in five out of six — in Florida, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin and Arizona. Trump is given a 0.6% lead in North Carolina. But of the five states the polling aggregator suggests are leaning towards Biden, only in two does the Democrat's lead top five percent.

Trump has advanced to a 7-point lead over Biden in Iowa, 48% to 41%, according to a Des Moines Register/Mediacom poll. But a RealClearPolitics polling average for the state puts the incumbent president's lead at under one percent — with Trump on 46.5% and Biden on 45.8%.

In Euronews' previous analysis of the polls early last week, we reported that the Democrat's poll rating had increased by several percentage points over the incumbent.

Some conservative commentators argue that despite survey adjustments made by pollsters since 2016, they are still ignoring factors that do not show up in their polls — which they suggest underestimate the level of support for Trump.

In 2016, Hillary Clinton led Donald Trump in the national polls and secured more votes — but lost the election after finishing behind him in crucial swing states, handing those electoral college votes to the Republican.

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