STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:
When Joe Biden traveled to Florida yesterday, he explicitly referred to the electoral map. He said if Democrats win Florida four days from now, quote, "it's over." It would be very hard for President Trump to reach the 270 electoral votes that decide the presidency. The president knows this, too, and also campaigned yesterday in Florida, which, not coincidentally, he has made his new home state.
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PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: We are going to win Florida. And we are going to win four more years in the White House.
JOE BIDEN: When you use your power, the power of the vote, we literally are going to change the course of this country for generations to come.
INSKEEP: So that's one state on the electoral map. And let's look across NPR's final version of that map, which is out today. NPR senior political editor Domenico Montanaro is with us. Domenico, good morning.
DOMENICO MONTANARO, BYLINE: Good morning, Steve.
INSKEEP: So what do you see on that map?
MONTANARO: Well, like you say, Biden has the advantage. What our map shows us that with states leaning or likely to go in either candidate's direction, Biden now leads with 279 electoral votes to 125. That 270 is obviously over the threshold needed. So if the president is going to win, he's going to have to win all of the toss-up states and one of those states that's leaning in Biden's direction. And it's not completely out of the realm of possibility. He's certainly within striking distance in those competitive states. We've made two big changes in this map. We put two important states in the toss-up category, Arizona and Texas. Not all these toss-ups are created equal, though. We hesitated with Texas because of its history of voting Republican - hasn't gone for a Democratic president since 1976, and Trump won it by nine points in 2016. But look. It's been remarkably close. Early voting has been through the roof. Lots of young voters, lots of Latinos turning out. And, you know, Biden has been leading consistently in Arizona, also, since early March. Polls are within the margin of error there. So to keep that competitive, Trump is certainly pulling out a lot of stops. And it looks like, you know, right now it's a toss-up.
INSKEEP: Because you made the change in Texas and some other changes, you see tossup states that are now leaning blue. You see traditional red states that are now toss-up states. That's the way the map is moving. But you mentioned that the president could still win this.
MONTANARO: Absolutely. I mean, like I said, all the toss-up states are polling within the margin of error. So when you see a state that's within two or three points, one way or another - which is where a lot of those states in the middle are - that's not much of a lead at all. So I understand Democrats being very nervous. And the outcome is certainly not clear. Trump would have to win all of them, all those toss-up states, and win over one or more of those states leaning in Biden's direction. If he does that it would make it 259 to 259 and leave Pennsylvania as the state next up in the polling averages. And it's a state we know both campaigns are making strong pushes for. Pennsylvania, though, is expected to be slow in counting the vote this year. We could be waiting some time because Pennsylvania just doesn't have a history of dealing with as much mail-in voting as it is this year.
INSKEEP: I'm starting to think through different scenarios for election night, the final night of voting. One of them, I suppose, is Joe Biden wins Florida, as he's saying...
INSKEEP: ...And that makes it seem that it's all over very quickly. But another is perhaps President Trump wins Florida, and he's still alive, and then we're waiting a long time for Pennsylvania.
MONTANARO: Yeah. Florida is a huge key in this election, you know? And Florida, I think, should make a lot of people nervous about the polls because it's always been a very close state. And in 2018, you know, a year when Democrats had a huge wave, won back the House, you know, the Democratic candidate there for governor had been leading in the polls by 3 1/2 points and wound up losing. So it's not outside the realm of possibility that you see something like that happening again. But without Florida, Trump's path is almost nonexistent.
INSKEEP: In a couple of seconds, what's one thing you're watching in the final days?
MONTANARO: Well, I mean, what is this huge turnout going to actually mean? You know, we've got potentially 65% of the electorate that's going to turn out - 150 million people. What is that going to do?
INSKEEP: NPR senior political editor Domenico Montanaro presenting the NPR final electoral map. Thanks.
MONTANARO: Thank you.
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