From the Cook Political Report’s Lips to God’s Ears

Cook Political Report, Biden’s Path to 270 Widens, Trump’s Path Narrows, as Texas Moves to Toss Up:

Less than a week out from Election Day and President Donald Trump is playing catch-up. In 2016, he won 30 states (and Maine’s 2nd Congressional District) and their 306 electoral votes. Today, just 20 states, worth 125 electoral votes, are safely in his column. Former Vice President Joe Biden is holding 24 states worth 290 electoral votes in his column. 

To win the election, Trump will need to win every state we currently have in the Toss Up column: FloridaGeorgiaNorth CarolinaIowaOhioMaine’s 2nd CD, as well as the newest addition, Texas. Even then, Trump would be 22 electoral votes short of 270. He would need to win at least two of the seven states currently sitting in Lean Democrat: ArizonaMichiganMinnesotaWisconsinPennsylvaniaArizonaNevada and New Hampshire. Trump carried all but MinnesotaNevada and New Hampshire in 2016.

At this point, Ohio and Maine’s 2nd District are probably the most promising for Trump, followed by Texas and Iowa. If he were to win all of those, he’d be at 188 electoral votes, still 82 votes shy of 270. FloridaGeorgia, and North Carolina are pure Toss Ups with Biden ahead by anywhere from 1 to 2 points in those states. 

Even if Trump were to win all of those states, he’d then need to move into the Lean Democratic territory where ArizonaWisconsin and Pennsylvania offer the best opportunities. If you just looked at polling averages, Arizona would be the best opportunity for Trump. Biden has a small — but steady — 3 point lead. Even so, given Trump’s unpopularity among suburban voters, it’s hard to see how he makes up needed ground in Maricopa (Phoenix). …

In Pennsylvania, the conventional wisdom, as well as the Trump campaign, see a tightening race. The FiveThirtyEight polling average puts Biden ahead by 5 points. But, congressional district polling paints a different — and more difficult — picture for the president. These polls find Biden expanding Clinton’s margins in suburban Philadelphia, but also find Trump failing to put up the same kind of numbers he did in 2016 in central, western and northeastern Pennsylvania. …

Texas is a state that Biden doesn’t need to win, but it is clear that it’s more competitive than ever. Texas’ shift from Lean Republican to Toss Up shouldn’t come as a surprise. Recent polling in the state — both public and private – shows a 2-4 point race. That’s pretty much in line with the hotly contested 2018 Senate race in the state where Sen. Ted Cruz narrowly defeated Rep. Beto O’Rourke 51 percent to 48 percent. 

A huge surge in early vote (as of October 26th, almost half of Texas’ registered voters had already cast a ballot) suggests that we could see record turnout in a state that has added many new residents since 2016. That also adds a level of uncertainty to the equation. 

Statewide and district level polling show Biden running strong in and around metro suburban parts of the state, but underperforming with Latino voters.