October 28, 2020

General Election Update

As of Sunday evening, Former Vice President Joe Biden leads President Donald Trump by an average of 7.1% nationally. Biden is leading by 3.5% in battleground states. RealClearPolitics

Also as of Sunday evening, The FiveThirtyEight forecast gives Biden an 88% chance of winning the electoral college. FiveThirtyEight

Explore ways Trump or Biden could win the election yourself. FiveThirtyEight

See past issues

From the Left

The left is optimistic about Biden’s chances.

“Whether it makes sense that Biden is polling worse in Pennsylvania than in Michigan and Wisconsin is a fair question. Biden was born in Scranton, and it’s the most urban and racially diverse of the three states. Still, Wisconsin and Michigan are traditionally more Democratic; Barack Obama won them by larger margins than Pennsylvania in 2012, for instance… Is Pennsylvania a must-win for Biden? No, not quite…

“The reason losing Pennsylvania wouldn’t necessarily doom Biden is because he could still hold those other Midwestern/Rust Belt states. Pennsylvania is fairly similar to Michigan and Wisconsin, but not that similar… it’s denser and more racially diverse. It may or may not be in the Midwest. It’s traditionally a bit more purple. So if Biden is doing better than Clinton with rural whites but worse with Black voters — as a lot of polling shows — he might gain ground in Wisconsin but lose in Pennsylvania… It wouldn’t be the blowout that Democrats hope for, but Biden would still retain an edge in the Electoral College even without winning his birth state.”
Nate Silver, FiveThirtyEight

“[Unlike in 2016, the Democatic candidate] has visited [Michigan] several times, and may be back. In the past week alone, the Biden campaign has sent Jill Biden; Kamala Harris’s husband, Doug Emhoff; Pete Buttigieg; and the pop star Lizzo all over the state, and Harris and Emhoff were back there today. (Trump and Vice President Mike Pence were also in Michigan this past week.) Democrats’ TV spending has remained high, and issue-specific, such as the campaign ad that started running earlier this month, just in the Traverse City market, highlighting the effect of climate change on fruit farmers. Clinton’s Michigan ads in 2016 mostly focused on calling Trump terrible, without a clear positive message about her or the Democratic Party.”
Edward-Isaac Dovere, The Atlantic

“There are an enormous number of complicating factors this year that make hard-and-fast predictions questionable. Among them is the extent to which absentee votes will be counted, given the Trump campaign’s very public effort to discount them…

Those efforts might backfire, however. Relying on Election Day voting for the bulk of his support puts Trump at a disadvantage should there be problems with voting systems or should there be bad weather in key areas. The Supreme Court’s decision on Monday to halt changes allowing for late-arriving ballots to be counted might hurt his own voters more than he expects: Nationally, about 53 percent of ballots requested by Democrats have already been returned, compared with about 44 percent of Republican ballots.”
Philip Bump, Washington Post

Some caution that “It’s important for Democrats to frankly face up to some of the unique problems of mail-in balloting, because it’s far more likely to hurt Democrats than Republicans. This is not so much because of ‘voter fraud’ problems as because ballots get lost and when voters violate bureaucratic requirements, their ballots aren’t counted. The New York Times reported in 2012 that mailed absentee ballots were rejected at twice the rate of in-person votes, and that there were unique opportunities for error…

“[Thomas] Edsall concludes that if the absentee ballot rejection rate is high, and these ballots tilt Democratic, it could ‘mean roughly 2.7 million Biden votes would go uncounted, compared with roughly 735,000 Trump votes’. Fortunately, Biden is well ahead in polls, but what matters is the outcome in swing states rather than the national popular vote, and it may be that in swing states things are close enough that these are differences that can make a difference.”
Nathan Robinson, The Guardian

Even if Biden wins, “[The size of his lead matters because] with a President Biden really needing a Democratic Senate, and Democrats needing a net gain of four seats outside Alabama, where they are very likely to lose an incumbent, there really isn’t much of a margin for error. A big Biden win could not only decide very close Senate races in Iowa, Maine, North Carolina, and Georgia (two races!) in Democrats’ favor, but could even sweep away Republican seats in Alaska, Kansas, Montana, and South Carolina in the tide… if Biden’s national margin shrinks just enough, Republicans could hang onto the Senate and make Biden’s presidential honeymoon vanish.”
Ed Kilgore, New York Magazine

From the Right

The right is cautiously optimistic about Trump’s chances.

The right is cautiously optimistic about Trump’s chances.

“A new survey by the Trafalgar Group shows the president taking a tiny lead in the all-important swing state of Pennsylvania, which is worth 20 electoral votes. The polling firm’s latest data show Trump slightly ahead of Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, 48.4% to 47.6%... Hispanics only gave Biden 51.3%, with 40.5% supporting Trump — a reflection of fears voiced elsewhere among Democrats that Biden is lagging among Hispanic voters…

“Trafalgar has the distinction of being one of the only firms to have called the 2016 presidential election accurately. Even other polling groups called it crazy. Trafalgar correctly called Pennsylvania, Florida, Michigan, and North Carolina for Trump when other pollsters showed then-Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton winning. More importantly, Trafalgar predicted in the afternoon of Election Day in 2016 that Trump would win the Electoral College with 306 votes, which is exactly what happened.”
Becket Adams, Washington Examiner

“How do you get an accurate sense of how people are planning to vote if some of them are unwilling to be honest about their intentions? You ask them about other people’s intentions. Not ‘Will you vote for Trump?’ but ‘Do you think your friends and neighbors are voting for Trump?’ According to USC, that type of ‘social-circle question’ — similar to Trafalgar’s approach — shows Trump faring better than most polls indicate. And not just better, but well enough to pull another rabbit out of the hat in the electoral college next Tuesday.”
Allahpundit, Hot Air

“It’s easy to forget that Trump won with 306 electoral votes four years ago — two of his electors were faithless — and thus he can give away 36 electoral votes and hit the critical threshold of 270. He doesn’t need to win Wisconsin. He doesn’t need to win Michigan. He could lose both of those states and Iowa, and still finish above 270 electoral votes… Trump needs to win at least one of those big three upper midwestern states that he won narrowly four years ago — Michigan, Pennsylvania, or Wisconsin…

“My first thought was that from what I can see, Pennsylvania is the lowest-hanging fruit, and perhaps the key to the whole election… Biden is ahead in the RealClearPolitics average in Pennsylvania by 5.1 percentage points. But this is a complicated state, with many Pennsylvanians casting ballots by mail for the first time; without the ‘security envelope,’ the ballot will not be counted… But then again, maybe Wisconsin is the lowest-hanging fruit. Biden is ahead in the RealClearPolitics average in Wisconsin by 4.6 percentage points; the most recent Susquehanna survey had the race a tie.”
Jim Geraghty, National Review

“[Michael] Bloomberg’s PAC has committed millions of dollars for ad buys in Texas and Ohio… Team Biden doesn’t really expect to win Texas but what they are doing by concentrating on Texas is continuing to lay the groundwork for future elections. Texas Democrats have been ramping up their efforts to turn Texas back to a blue state since 2013 and each election cycle gets more intense…

“Bloomberg is also tossing millions into a statewide race in Texas – the Texas Railroad Commission’s Democrat candidate will reap the benefit of $2.6 million from his PAC for last-minute campaign ads. Chrysta Castañeda is running against Republican Jim Wright who defeated the incumbent Republican in the primary race. Castaneda will be the first Democrat to hold the position in 25 years if she wins the race, which I am doubtful she will. Texas Republicans have held all of the statewide offices since 1998… We’ll see if Bloomberg’s money in Texas and Ohio move the needle toward Biden and Castaneda. All of his money couldn’t buy success for his own presidential ambitions.”
Karen Townsend, Hot Air

“By any normal metric, Trump is toast and the GOP is losing the Senate. But these are not normal times and 2016 showed that there is an undercounting of Trump voters out there… All the bluster in the press about the early vote is ignoring that these are passionate voters and not new voters. These are people who would have shown up on Election Day and their minds are made up, so don’t think the President cannot overcome a wave of early voting to win… The question no one has an answer to is can Trump defy expectations twice?”
Erick Erickson, Substack

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