538 has Trump at 28% to win

Five Thirty Eight has launched its model for the US election and it currently has Trump at 28% chance to win.

That is far from an insignificant chance, and indeed in 2016 they had him at 29% to win, and of course he did. Other models were far more pessimistic on him.

But there is a bigger polling gap between Biden and Trump than Clinton and Trump. The 28% chance Trump is modelled to have reflects the election is still over two months away. If this was election week and the polls were the same, Trump’s chances would be deemed lower.

The current tipping point state in Pennsylvania. Trump needs to win that as well as Florida and Arizona.

In 2016 at the same time, 538 had Trump at only 13% chance to win so he is actually better positioned today than in 2016. However what worked for him in 2016 is that people who disliked both him and Clinton voted for him. Biden is not as disliked as Clinton and as the incumbent Trump less likely to attract undecideds.

The debates will be crucial events. However Republicans need to be careful about setting expectations. The more they insist that he is senile and dribbling, the easier it is for him to be seen to win the debate merely by being not awful.

In politics you generally talk your own candidate down before a debate and talk the other candidate up.

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