Chances are that whoever wins the presidency will have a more comfortable margin than winning by the skin of their teeth. Still, there are a number of different maps where either President Donald Trump or former Vice President Joe Biden wins the presidency with just 270 electoral votes, or where the two of them each get 269 electoral votes.
Below are just some of the realistic scenarios where Biden or Trump ends up at either 270 or 269 electoral votes. There are more, but this gives you insight into how it could happen.
1. Trump wins 270 to 268 by holding on to the states he won in 2016, except for Michigan and Pennsylvania
2. Biden wins 270 to 268 by winning the Clinton states plus Arizona, Michigan, Nebraska’s 2nd Congressional District and Wisconsin
3. Trump wins by 270 to 268 by winning New Hampshire and holding on to the states he won in 2016, except Arizona and Florida
This map relies upon looking at the larger trend driving our politics. We know Trump’s base is White voters without college degrees, and he’ll likely need to run up the score with them in 2020 to win a second term.
4. Biden wins 270 to 268 by losing Minnesota but winning the Clinton states plus Arizona, Michigan, Nebraska’s 2nd Congressional District and Pennsylvania
5. The 269-269 tie
This can happen a lot of ways. Just imagine all the above scenarios, but flipping the winner of Nebraska’s 2nd District. Again, the data is limited from that district, so you could conceive of it going either way.