Sir John Curtice explained that Trump needs to win several states where Biden is narrowly ahead in state polls, including the likes of Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, to stand any chance of victory.
But the Democrat’s leads are more solid than Hillary Clinton’s in 2016 and only one or two battleground states need to fall in Biden’s favour for Trump to be ousted from the presidency, he said.
Curtice, who is a politics professor at Strathclyde university and president of the British Polling Council, conceded he does not pay close attention to US polls but was now “casting an eye over what’s going on” before Tuesday’s election.
He dismissed suggestions that American pollsters got it wrong in 2016 because they gave Clinton a 3% lead and she eventually won the popular vote by 2%.
But he conceded that four years ago polling in Midwest states like Michigan and Wisconsin was “light and patchy in quality, not least because these were not states which were thought to be up for grabs”.
However, even looking at the final state polls in 2016, Curtice said a candidate needed to be 6% ahead to be 95% sure of winning any one state.
“You could see in 2016 that the numbers were not there for Clinton and you could see how if the cookie crumbled in North Carolina, in Florida, in Pennsylvania, and in the Midwest states that Trump could just do it, which is exactly what happened,” he told the Lords liaison committee.
Turning to this year’s election, he went on: “You can still see now a pathway to Trump.
“It means certainly winning Pennsylvania, it probably also means winning Wisconsin and or Minnesota, but it also means winning Florida and Texas, Georgia, Arizona and a whole load of other states, many of which have at least Biden narrowly ahead.
“So in other words – yes you could see how Trump could still win but many more cookies have to crumble in the right direction for him than had to in 2016 for the pathway to work.
“And it only needs one or two of those states not to fall in that direction and Biden should be home and dry.”