US election 2020 polls: Who is ahead – Trump or Biden?
By The Visual and Data Journalism TeamBBC News
- 26 August 2020
Voters in America will decide on 3 November whether Donald Trump remains in the White House for another four years.
The Republican president is being challenged by Democratic Party nominee Joe Biden, who is best known as Barack Obama’s vice-president but has been in US politics since the 1970s.
As election day approaches, polling companies will be trying to gauge the mood of the nation by asking voters which candidate they prefer.
We’ll be keeping track of those polls here and trying to work out what they can and can’t tell us about who will win the election.
How are the presidential candidates doing nationally?
National polls are a good guide as to how popular a candidate is across the country as a whole, but they’re not necessarily a good way to predict the result of the election.
In 2016, for example, Hillary Clinton led in the polls and won nearly three million more votes than Donald Trump, but she still lost – that’s because the US uses an electoral college system, so winning the most votes doesn’t always win you the election.
With that caveat aside, Joe Biden has been ahead of Donald Trump in national polls for most of the year. He has hovered around 50% in recent weeks and has had a 10-point lead on occasions.
By contrast, in 2016 the polls were far less clear and just a couple of percentage points separated Mr Trump and his then-rival Hillary Clinton at several points as election day neared.
Which states will decide this election?
As Mrs Clinton discovered in 2016, the number of votes you win is less important than where you win them.
Most states nearly always vote the same way, meaning that in reality there are just a handful of states where both candidates stand a chance of winning. These are the places where the election will be won and lost and are known as battlegr