With 15 Days to Election Day, What the Polls Say About Biden and Trump in Key Swing States

With just 15 days to Election Day, Democratic nominee Joe Biden appears to be favored to beat President Donald Trump in most key swing states—although some of these contests are close or within the margin of error.

Numerous recent national polls show Biden leading Trump by double digits, but the election is expected to be decided in key battleground states. This year, all eyes are on Arizona, Florida, Michigan, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. In 2016, Trump lost the popular vote by nearly 3 million votes but managed to pull off a series of wins in Florida, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin—states that had gone blue for President Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012. This propelled Trump to a big win in the Electoral College.

The averages of recent polls compiled by Real Clear Politics show Trump trailing his Democratic challenger by more than 6 percentage points in Wisconsin and over 7 points in Michigan. In Florida and North Carolina, the race is close—with Biden ahead by about 1.4 percentage points and 2.7 percentage points, respectively.

The Democrat also leads by an average of 4.4 percentage points in Pennsylvania and 3.9 percentage points in Arizona. Meanwhile, Trump has a narrow advantage, an average of just 0.5 percentage points, in Ohio.

Joe Biden and Donald Trump
Joe Biden participates in an ABC News town hall event at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia on October 15. President Donald Trump gestures as he speaks during an NBC News town hall event at the Perez Art Museum in Miami the same night. JIM WATSON,BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty

Biden is ahead in most recent polls done in Arizona. CBS/YouGov found that the former vice president had the backing of 50 percent of likely Arizona voters, while Trump was supported by 47 percent, in a poll carried out from October 13 to 16. Monmouth University, in a survey conducted from October 9 to 13, showed Trump trailing by 7 percentage points, with the backing of 44 percent of likely voters, compared with 51 percent who support Biden.

But Arizona polling by the Trafalgar Group conducted from October 6 to 8 showed Biden trailing by 4 percentage points. Trump was backed by 48 percent of likely voters, and the Democrat was supported by just 44 percent.

The polls show a close race in Florida. The most recent survey conducted by The Hill/HarrisX shows a tied race between Biden and Trump in the state. Meanwhile, the Trafalgar Group, in a survey carried out from October 11 to 13, has Trump up by 2 percentage points over Biden, with support from 48 percent of Floridians, compared with 46 percent who back the former vice president.

A recent Florida survey by Emerson, which was conducted from October 10 to 12, puts Biden ahead by 3 percentage points. In that poll, Biden is supported by 50 percent of the state's likely voters, as opposed to 47 percent who favor Trump.

In Michigan, The Hill/HarrisX found Biden leading Trump by double digits. In that poll, carried out from October 12 to 15, the Democratic nominee has the backing of 54 percent of likely voters and Trump is supported by just 43 percent—a lead of 11 percentage points for Biden. But polling by the Trafalgar Group from October 11 to 14 showed Trump leading by 1 percentage point—with a 47 percent to 46 percent margin in favor of the president. Meanwhile, Reuters/Ipsos found, in a survey conducted from October 7 to 13, that Biden was ahead by 8 percentage points (51 percent to 43 percent).

In North Carolina, the race is close, but several recent polls favor Biden. The most recent survey carried out there by Emerson, from October 13 to 14, showed Trump and Biden tied, both with the support of 49 percent of likely North Carolina voters. However, a poll by The New York Times/Siena, which was conducted from October 9 to 13, had the Democratic nominee up by 4 percentage points (46 percent to 42 percent). Polling by Reuters/Ipsos from October 7 to 13 showed Biden with a lead of just 1 percentage point, supported by 48 percent of likely voters, compared with 47 percent who back Trump.

Recent Ohio polls show a very close race, with Trump just slightly favored in the combined average of survey results. Surveys carried out this month by Quinnipiac University and The New York Times/Siena have Biden up by just 1 percentage point. But a poll by the Trafalgar Group, conducted from October 1 to 3, has Trump ahead of Biden by 4 percentage points, 48 percent to 44 percent. A poll from the end of September, by CBS News/YouGov, shows the Republican and Democratic candidates tied.

In Pennsylvania, which Trump won by just 0.7 percent of the vote in 2016, all recent polls favor Biden. The Hill/Harris X, in a survey carried out from October 12 to 15, shows Biden ahead by 5 percentage points, supported by 51 percent of voters as opposed to 46 percent who back Trump. The Trafalgar Group has Biden up by 2 percentage points in a survey conducted from October 10 to 12. A Reuters/Ipsos poll from October 6 to 11 shows the Democratic candidate supported by 51 percent of likely Pennsylvania voters while just 44 percent back Trump—a lead of 7 percentage points for Biden.

All the recent polls out of Wisconsin show Trump trailing Biden as well. A CBS News/YouGov survey carried out from October 13 to 16 has the Democratic nominee ahead by 5 percentage points, or 51 percent to 46 percent. Reuters/Ipsos' most recent poll shows Biden backed by 51 percent of likely voters while Trump is supported by just 44 percent—a 7 percentage point margin favoring the Democratic challenger. Trump trails Biden by double digits in a New York Times/Siena poll carried out from October 6 to 11 in the state. While Trump was backed by just 41 percent of likely voters, Biden was supported by 51 percent—a lead of 10 percentage points.

Overall, Biden appears favored to win in most key battleground states, which would propel him to victory in the Electoral College. But Trump and his supporters have dismissed the polling, suggesting the pollsters are biased against the president and Republicans. They have also pointed to 2016, when polls indicated Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton would win the election. Meanwhile, analysts have pointed out that Biden's lead has been much more consistent and durable than Clinton's was in the last presidential race.