Margolis Maps 2024: Inaugural Projection
Today marks the first anniversary of the launch of my Substack. It’s been a great year with remarkable growth. I’m thrilled to launch a new series for my newsletter to elevate this milestone!
Introducing Margolis Maps 2024!
This unique series delves into the heart of the 2024 presidential race, presenting my 2024 presidential projections derived from a comprehensive analysis.
Drawing from approval rating polls, national match-ups, battleground insights, economic indicators, and related state races, Margolis Maps 2024 will predict the outcome of the upcoming presidential election and provide regular updates to that projection.
This exclusive feature will be reserved for my Substack’s paid subscribers. This edition of Margolis Maps 2024 has been made available to everyone, but if you want access to future projections, you’ll have to be a paid subscriber.
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In a political landscape that is constantly evolving, Margolis Maps 2024 can be exactly what you need to cut through the bias and clutter to gain a clear-eyed perspective on the current state of the presidential race.
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And now, here’s my inaugural projection and analysis of the 2024 presidential race.
The fate of this election hinges on the pivotal seven states: Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.
In the past, Ohio and Florida have been seen as reliable bellwether battleground states that have determined the election results. Not so much anymore. A seismic shift has entrenched both firmly in the red column. The once-crucial status of winning these states has waned, giving rise to new battleground states.
For example, Arizona and Georgia, once staunch red states, now showcase shades of purple, upending conventional electoral wisdom. Conversely, states like Michigan, Minnesota, and Pennsylvania, traditionally painted blue, find themselves far more competitive this cycle. Even Nevada, a state I’d long written off as solid blue, has emerged as a critical battleground in this electoral showdown that Trump could win.
So, let’s consider where things stand in the seven battleground states of 2024:
Arizona’s recent political trajectory has been somewhat hard to understand. Though a longtime red state, in recent cycles, it has elected two Democrats to the U.S. Senate, and it went for Biden in the 2020 presidential election—albeit under questionable circumstances—and the current race for the U.S. Senate cycle is very competitive, with Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-Ariz.) having a slight edge. So, Arizona has earned battleground state status.
But that’s no reason to write off President Trump’s chances. In fact, he’s been consistently maintaining a lead in the polls. According to the RealClearPolitics (RCP) average, Trump currently holds a lead of +4.8 points. The last time President Biden led in Arizona, as per RCP-tracked polls, was back in April 2023, with a slim one-point margin—within the poll’s margin of error (MOE) of 4.4 points. I am placing Arizona in Trump’s column, but the race is undoubtedly tight.
Like Arizona, Georgia went from a reliably red state to one that barely (albeit questionable) went blue in 2020 and proceeded to elect two Democrat U.S. Senators in 2021, with radical leftist Sen. Raphael Warnock managing to win a full term in the 2022 midterms. The pivotal question, though: Was this shift a true reflection of a change in Georgia’s political landscape, or was it more a manifestation of the vulnerabilities of the Republican candidates? A little of both.
In the 2022 midterms, the final RCP average had Trump-backed Herschel Walker up +1.4 points, indicating a true toss-up election that Warnock barely won by less than a point. However, the political landscape is a dynamic canvas, and as we find ourselves in 2024, the terrain has shifted once again. Recent polls consistently show Donald Trump polling ahead of Biden in Georgia. Not only that, but his leads have been outside the margin of error. The political pendulum appears to be swinging back towards a more familiar hue, with Georgia seemingly poised to revert to red.
Michigan is an interesting one. A battleground state by reputation, the last Republican to win it in a presidential election was Trump in 2016, and before that, George H.W. Bush in 1988. It’s arguably a blue state that gave Trump a chance in 2016 but swung back in 2020.
The economic repercussions of Bidenomics have clearly left an impact on Michigan, contributing to a notable shift in the political winds in the state. Polls have consistently shown Trump leading in the state with healthy margins. While it may be premature to predict a substantial victory for Trump in Michigan, the current data suggests he has a strategic advantage in this crucial state.
The last time that Minnesota voted for a Republican was Nixon. Heck, it was the only state to vote for Mondale in the 1984 election when Reagan won an epic landslide reelection. Considering this historical context, categorizing Minnesota as a battleground state seems silly, but hear me out.
Recent polling data shows Biden with a lead over Trump in the state. But there’s a catch. Biden’s margins are small and within the margin of error. Trump may find Minnesota within his grasp, given the right conditions. The looming possibility of a 2024 recession adds a layer of uncertainty, potentially tilting the scales in Trump’s favor.
That said, I’m not going to get anyone’s hopes up. It’s a much safer bet that Minnesota will stay in the Democratic column come November. However, the dynamic nature of politics always leaves room for surprises, and the upcoming election may yet unfold with unforeseen twists. But for now, I give it to Joe Biden.
Nevada has been quite a surprise recently. Despite Trump’s narrow losses in 2020 and 2016, recent polls indicate a shift in Trump’s favor. He currently has an RCP average spread of +5.4 points. This average includes a N.Y. Times/Siena poll showing him up 11 points, which appears to be an outlier, but Trump has been ahead in most recent polls by 2 or 3 points. That’s within the margin of error, but Biden hasn’t polled ahead of Trump in the state since October, suggesting he has the advantage. So, Nevada currently goes in my Trump column, but I also suspect this is a state that may go back and forth over the next ten months.
Recent polls indicate a notable Donald Trump has a solid chance in Pennsylvania, a crucial battleground state he won in 2016 but lost to Biden in 2020. Understanding the dynamics at play here requires a thorough examination of various factors.
While numerous polls suggest Trump’s lead in Pennsylvania, Sen. Bob Casey (D) is up for reelection in November. Monitoring Casey’s reelection bid provides valuable insights into the broader implications for the presidential race.
Casey maintains a RCP average lead of +7.2. However, a recent Susquehanna poll shows him leading his likely Republican opponent, Dave McCormick, by a narrower margin of 4 points. Is that race getting more competitive? Perhaps. However, an early Quinnipiac poll indicates a more substantial lead for Casey by 10 points, and it has a larger sample size and a smaller margin of error than the Susquehanna poll. That suggests a better outcome for Biden.
That said, Trump has had some excellent polls in Pennsylvania. In October, Emerson had Trump up by 9 points. I didn’t believe that poll then, nor do I believe the latest Susquehanna poll showing Biden up 8 points. Outliers happen in polling, and I believe Pennsylvania will be much closer than that. Still, even with that suspected outlier, Biden currently has an average spread of +0.6 points in the state—smaller than his average lead in Pennsylvania at any point in the 2020 election.
Biden faces real challenges in Pennsylvania compared to the incumbent Democrat senator, which indicates a decline in his support since 2020. The state appears evenly split, resembling a toss-up, albeit with Biden holding a slight advantage (for now) in the RCP average. As such, my current projection leans towards Joe Biden for Pennsylvania, although with the proviso that it will likely change in future projections.
Wisconsin is a tough call. It has voted blue since 1988, save for 2016, when Trump won. It swung back to Biden in 2020, but it certainly could swing back to Trump in 2024 under the right circumstances. The current RCP average for the state is a literal tie, though the polls are starting to trend towards Trump.
The historical context of Wisconsin’s blue-leaning tendencies raises questions about the feasibility of a Republican victory in a statewide race. Notably, the decision of prominent Republicans, including former Gov. Scott Walker and Rep. Mike Gallagher, to refrain from challenging incumbent Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D) may indicate a perceived lack of favorability for Republicans by those who know the state well.
There’s no doubt that Trump comes into this election stronger than he did in 2020, but for now, I give the edge to Joe Biden in Wisconsin.
Here’s the current electoral landscape as I see it unfold. Trump emerges victorious with a lead of 283 Electoral College votes, leaving Biden trailing at 255.
While it appears to be a decisive Trump victory, a shift in any battleground state (or combination of two) with more than 13 Electoral College votes from red to blue would alter the outcome. Trump can’t afford to lose any states, and strategic attention should be directed holding key battlegrounds he lost in 2020, particularly Nevada, Arizona, and Michigan. Simultaneously, he must bolster his position in Pennsylvania and Wisconsin to help bring them into his column and fortify his lead.
If you enjoyed this analysis and found it insightful, check out the February edition of Margolis Maps 2024. For access to the full analysis, you must be a paid subscriber. Enroll in a monthly subscription to enjoy a generous 20% discount ($4/month), or opt for an annual subscription to unlock an impressive 40% discount ($2.50/month). Don’t miss the chance to get my 2024 projections and in-depth analysis (in addition to all my archives) at this unbeatable value.