The short answer is yes. It makes a lot of sense given the national polling that Biden is putting a lot of seemingly red states into play. This doesn’t mean he’ll ultimately carry any of these states. If the national race tightens, these states will probably fall into Trump’s column.
Now take a look at the current average of polls in the states Trump won by 10 points or less in 2016. At the same time (in parentheses), we’ll examine what we’d expect those averages to be by applying an 8 point uniform swing from the 2016 results. A uniform swing is simply shifting all the results a certain amount (e.g. 8 points in Biden’s direction). We’re shifting these states 8 points because Biden’s winning nationally by 10 points, and Clinton won nationally by 2 points.
- Michigan: Biden +8 points (Biden +8 points)
- Wisconsin: Biden +8 points (Biden +7 points)
- Pennsylvania: Biden +7 points (Biden +7 points)
- Arizona: Biden +4 points (Biden +5 points)
- Florida: Biden +4 points (Biden +7 points)
- North Carolina: Biden +3 points (Biden +4 points)
- Georgia: Biden +2 points (Biden +3 points)
- Iowa: Biden +1 point (Trump up 1 point)
- Ohio: Tied (Tied)
- Texas: Trump +2 points (Trump +1 point)
What should be quite apparent is the state polls look almost identical to what you’d expect given a uniform shift of 8 points across states. The average difference is just a point. Moreover, there is no bias with Biden doing 8 points better than Clinton did in the average of state polls, as you’d expect with the national polls where they are.
Now, look at the states where Biden’s matching or outperforming what we’d expect on a uniform shift: Michigan, Iowa, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. White voters make up a larger share of the electorate in each of these states than they do in the nation as a whole.
Meanwhile, Biden’s doing worse than a uniform shift would imply mostly in places where White voters make up a lower percentage of the electorate than they do nationally like Georgia, Texas and especially Florida.
Still, all of these states are in play, and we shouldn’t be shocked by it. When there’s a big swing, as the national polls imply in 2020, there are going to be some seemingly shocking results.
This year, the national swing model is implying that at least two states that haven’t gone blue in a generation (Georgia and Texas) could do so this year. If past big swings are any precedent, they very well could.