Does Biden Need Pennsylvania to Win? The Alternative Election Path to 270

Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden may not need to secure the vote in Pennsylvania, a tipping point state offering 20 electoral votes that is likely to make or break the election, to get the 270 electoral votes required to win the race.

The most "plausible path" for Biden is "Nevada, Wisconsin, Michigan... then he wouldn't have to have Pennsylvania," GOP pollster Daron Shaw told the Fox News Decision Desk on Wednesday.

At time of writing, according to The Associated Press' election data, Joe Biden has 238 Electoral College votes to Donald Trump's 214, with 270 required to carry the election win. Among states still in contention, Nevada offers 6 electoral votes, Wisconsin 10, and Michigan 16. Winning all three would put Biden on the required 270.

At the time of writing, Trump was reported to be ahead of Biden in Pennsylvania with 53.4 percent (3,063,634) of the vote, while Biden had 45.3 percent (2,599,924), based on 79 percent of expected votes counted, according to data compiled by Reuters.

However, Biden has a narrow lead over Trump in Nevada, Wisconsin and Michigan. In Nevada, Biden has 49.3 percent of the vote (588,252), while Trump has claimed 48.7 percent (580,605), based on at least 86 percent of expected votes counted. Officials in Nevada noted they will not resume counting ballots until Thursday morning.

The former vice president has 49.4 percent of the vote (1,630,389) in Wisconsin, while Trump is slightly behind at 48.8 percent (1,609,879), based on at least 99 percent of expected votes counted.

Biden has claimed 49.6 percent (2,622,108) of the vote in Michigan, while Trump has 48.7 percent (2,577,192), based on 94 percent of expected votes counted, according to Reuters.

Many votes still to be counted in Michigan are mail-in ballots from Detroit and its suburbs, where Democrats have traditionally had an advantage. If Biden secures the vote in Nevada and Wisconsin, a victory in Michigan, Georgia or Pennsylvania would be enough for him to win the election, according to Reuters.

Trump was reported to be leading in Georgia with 50.3 percent (2,389,867) of the vote, while Biden lags behind at 48.5 percent (2,306,880), based on 93 percent of expected votes counted, according to the Reuters tally.

Shaw noted Wednesday, "according to estimates from the White House, the president needs to get about 61 percent of the remaining vote [to win the election] and we think that's right. That estimate is actually pretty consistent with what we're seeing.

"However, our estimates are saying that he's [Trump] on line to get about 44-45 percent of the remaining vote, which leaves him well short of what he needs.

"The president needed to run the table in at least five or six states, where he was trailing a little bit in the polls," Shaw said, referring to states such as Florida, North Carolina, Georgia, Texas and Ohio. "He's managed to hold most of those."

Shaw added: "We think he's [Trump] not gonna win in Arizona and he may hold on in Georgia...those states are sort of out there. If he loses those states, he's in a tough position. And Pennsylvania obviously continues to be decisive."

Joe Biden in Pennsylvania November 2020
Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on November 3. Biden may not need the vote in Pennsylvania to win the election if he can secure the votes in Nevada, Wisconsin and Michigan. Drew Angerer/Getty Images

The graphic below, provided by Statista, illustrates how close presidential races have been historically.

U.S. presidential races since 1896
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The graphic below, also provided by Statista, illustrates winning margins of U.S. presidential elections since 1980.

Winning margins in US elections
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