Presidential Election Predictions: 5 Ways Trump Could Win on Tuesday

presidential election predictions

Getty Biden vs. Trump

Could President Donald Trump win Tuesday’s election? The polls, generally, say no. However, that was true of most polling in 2016 (there is an outlier, a boutique polling company in Atlanta that called key battlegrounds for Trump in 2016 and predicts he will win again).

However, people learned not to count Trump out when he staged his surprise victory, albeit by very close margins.

Certainly, things are different. Joe Biden is arguably a less polarizing candidate than Hillary Clinton was; can Biden win back the trio of Midwestern rustbelt states (Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Michigan) that Hillary lost in 2016? Again, the polls say yes, but Trump is competing heavily in them. He will be in riot-torn Kenosha, Wisconsin, on election even. The oddsmakers have a Trump victory as a longshot. For example, FiveThirtyEight is favoring Biden to win and says he would prevail in 90 out of 100 scenarios they ran.

That established, let’s take a look at ways that Trump could win on Tuesday.

Here are 5 ways Trump could pull it off.


1. Trump Wins Florida & Wisconsin

Almost all paths to victory go to the Sunshine State. If President Trump wins Florida – and the polls are very close there – he can afford to lose other states.

To show you the power of Florida, we ran this scenario and Pennsylvania’s 20 electoral votes, and Nevada, but he STILL wins the election. How? By retaining Wisconsin and Arizona, and winning the two Congressional districts of Maine and Nebraska. These are all things he won in 2016, but not by a lot. We could have given Trump Michigan or Pennsylvania instead in this scenario and he wins.

Bottom line is that he can lose some of the Midwestern states he flipped in 2016 and still win in 2020 – provided he wins Florida.

Can Trump win without Florida?

Yes, there are different ways for Trump to win the election without Florida, but it means he would have to win pretty much every battleground state.


2. Trump Wins Pennsylvania & Arizona

After Florida, the next big important victory for Trump on Tuesday is Pennsylvania. If he can win Pennsylvania, his pathway to the White House gets a lot easier.

Pennsylvania and Arizona really matter to Trump. If he gets those two states, he can win without Michigan and Wisconsin. This scenario also gives Nevada to Biden, a state where people think Trump still has a chance. Everything else would have to go right for Trump, though, in the battleground states.

Biden has enjoyed a consistent lead in Pennsylvania, but it’s tightened slightly.


3. Trump Flips Minnesota

What if Trump flips Minnesota? It’s possible. It would be shocking because the last time Minnesota picked a Republican for president was Richard Nixon.

But the state’s suburbs may be turned off by the scenes of a burning police precinct, immigration is a big issues in the state, Hillary Clinton barely won it in 2016, Trump has been there a lot, and it’s a state that once elected Jesse Ventura as governor.

So who knows?


4. Trump Loses Georgia But Wins Wisconsin & Pennsylvania

Can Trump weather a surprise upset in a state like Georgia (where the polls haven’t been great) and still win. Yes. The above is how.

It requires a combination of the rustbelt states (we could substitute Michigan for Wisconsin.)


5. The Election Ties

Is it possible the election ties? Yes. It’s definitely possible, but that’s good news for Trump.

This scenario gives Biden a lot of battleground states, but gives Trump the two Congressional Districts, Florida, and Pennsylvania. What happens if the election ties? History.com reported that it happened once before – in 1800. The Constitution holds that a tied election would go to the U.S. House of Representatives: “[I]f there be more than one who have such Majority, and have an equal Number of Votes, then the House of Representatives shall immediately chuse by Ballot one of them for President.” Radio.com reports that the Senate would choose the vice president.

The site reports that each states gets one vote for president in the House under this scenario, and a candidate needs 26 states to win. A majority of delegates would cast the single vote, so Republicans would have enough states to pick the president. They’d surely pick Trump.

Here’s another way you can get to a tie. In this scenario, Trump needs Wisconsin (as well as the other battleground states of Arizona, Florida, North Carolina, and so on, but he can lose Pennsylvania and Michigan. This scenario sees the candidates splitting the two congressional districts. You could, of course, swap either congressional district and still get a tie, and you could swap Minnesota’s 10 electoral votes for Wisconsin’s.


Maine’s & Nebraska’s Congressional Districts Elect Trump

Maine’s 2nd Congressional District went narrowly to Trump after not going for a Republican for years, but polls show Biden with a slight lead, according to WABI5. This led Donald Trump Jr. to recently say the district could determine the election.

Nebraska’s 2nd Congressional District could go either way. According to Fox News, Trump narrowly won the district in 2016, but a recent poll put Biden up by 1. Obama won the district in 2008, but Mitt Romney won it in 2012, according to Fox News.

Nate Silver, political data prognosticator, predicted, “It’s all going to come down to the recount in Nebraska’s 2nd Congressional District.”

Let’s say that Trump wins both of the Congressional districts. This scenario requires him to win one of the three Midwestern states of Wisconsin, Pennsylvania or Michigan. We gave him Wisconsin in this map, but could have gone with either of the other states.

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