4.

It’s been a long time…

When I started this process out, just over ten months ago, this is not the script I had in mind. Yet, here we essentially are, kind of where I expected things. Biden won the primaries by eventually building the coalition of white and black blue collar voters that Bernie Sanders could not defeat. Biden immediately was then staked out to a lead against Donald Trump because of generic Democratic strength with non-white voters AND strength with white voters, particularly old and educated ones, that hadn’t been seen since Jimmy Carter’s 1976 campaign. Throw on Covid and suddenly Biden’s lead has approached landslide levels. Even so, here we are essentially battling in Pennsylvania, Florida, North Carolina, Arizona, Michigan, and Wisconsin, the big six from last time, and Biden is clearly stronger in them than Clinton ended up being- as I figured. As I thought from the start, Biden would put Ohio and Iowa back in play, but I did not expect conditions this year to legitimately put Georgia and Texas in play. In short, Biden ended up being who I thought he was. 2020 was not what I expected though- and yet it looks like the ending I expected.

Iowa was so long ago…

So the race- not much moving. 538 puts Biden up 8.8%. They give Biden a 90% chance of victory. That seems pretty good. RCP puts Biden up 7.9%. He’s over 50% in every poll they count, other than the two outliers (Rasmussen and The Hill), where he’s at 49%. He leads every battleground state as well, other than Arizona, despite the Rasmussen, Trafalgar, and Susquehanna state polls messing with the averages. Biden’s overall lead is 5.6% better than Hillary’s at this same point. His 51.4% polling average is also favorable to Hillary’s 45.5% closing number. There simply are less undecideds, Biden has more support, and Trump is in a bigger hole. The Economist gives Biden a 96% chance to win. This race simply doesn’t look like 2016.

NBD.

Some quick reads for you all. How Biden’s Malarkey Factory Fights Back. These folks deserve saint hood. Latino Turnout Could Decide Pennsylvania. While this shouldn’t surprise you, it might. Allentown, Reading, Bethlehem, and Hazleton are just *some* of the places future campaigns should invest their time and resources into turning out in droves. Entirely not campaign related, but Japanese robot Gundam shows off it’s dance moves. This is so 2020.

Four years ago I kicked off “Get Out The Vote” weekend with a Chelsea Clinton rally in Elizabeth City, NC, followed by a mad dash to the county board of elections site in town to deal with the crowd standing in line to vote. If I’m being honest, I was both far less confident in that outcome and far happier with the experience of the campaign. I had an easier job, woke up looking at the bay side of the Outer Banks every morning, and didn’t realize just how bad our party had become at running national campaigns yet. About the only bad thing I can say about my 2016 experience four years later is the Presidential outcome. This time I have a laundry list of personal and professional grievances with the experience, but I’m beyond confident in the outcome I see coming. It looks like Bob Casey in Allentown tomorrow, Andrew Yang in Bethlehem on Sunday, and a special guest in the Lehigh Valley on Monday. Let’s see where things end up…

5.

It’s the final hours now. The Hill reports that Joe Biden and Kamala Harris will spread out across the Commonwealth Monday, as will Trump. The latest DeSales/WFMZ Poll shows Joe Biden and Congresswoman Wild both leading in PA-7 by 19%. Meanwhile the Lehigh Valley Live/Franklin & Marshall Poll puts the PA-7 lead at 7%. Both would be significant movement from 2016. Even so, I have people sending me articles about the mythical “shy Trump voter.” They don’t exist. They didn’t exist in 2016. Polls were off by 1% in 2016. That’s what margin of error is. This is not a margin of error race.

My current map.

So the state of the race? 538 says Biden by 8.8%. They give Biden an 89% chance of victory. The Economist gives Biden a 95% chance of victory. RCP says Biden is up 7.6%. Their top battlegrounds polling is closer, but still puts Biden’s leads at larger numbers than 2016. Biden’s RCP lead is 5.3% larger than Hillary’s at this hour in 2016. In short, there’s not a lot of drama.

Corpus Christi, TX

Last night at 3am, Trump took to Twitter for his latest tweetstorm. He’s such a tiny, scared man right now. He knows he’s about to get humiliated. He can’t take it. That makes me smile.

More today…

6.

Today in Allentown.

Six days to go. RCP says the race is Biden +7.5%. They put Biden up in all the battlegrounds but Florida, which they call a tie. RCP has Biden’s lead at 5.6% larger than Hillary on this date in 2016. Meanwhile 538 puts Biden’s ads at 88%. They put his lead at 9%. Meanwhile the Economist puts Biden’s odds at 96%. The race remains not close.

Doug Emhoff visited Allentown today. It’s the first visit from a Biden or Harris family member to the Lehigh Valley. He drew a nice crowd of a few hundred to the IBEW hall downtown. There were some lunatics outside the gate making noise, but they just made fools of themselves. It was a good day.

A scenario I hadn’t considered was Georgia and Texas being as close as Florida at this point. Biden’s pathway right now is pretty interesting. Biden holds fairly comfortable leads across the board in Hillary’s 2016 states, with Michigan and Wisconsin looking good to join them. That’s 258 electoral votes. Trump would like to pull back Nevada, Minnesota, and New Hampshire, which combine for 20 electors, but that looks unlikely, as do the 26 electors from Michigan and Wisconsin. Other than Trump somehow sweeping them all in, Biden would win with just Texas. From his current 258, Biden not only would win by Pennsylvania or Florida, but also Texas, Georgia, North Carolina, Ohio, or Iowa and Arizona combined with any other swing state.

I’d rather have more paths than less…

7.

Welp…

Well we have one week to go. Joe Biden leads. 538 says the lead is 9.2%. They give him an 88% chance of victory. Meanwhile, The Economist says Biden’s odds of victory are 96%. RCP is bullish on Trump, putting him only down 7.1%. In the battlegrounds they say it’s only 3.5%. It’s worth noting they’re factoring in a lot of right-leaning pollsters like IBD, Emerson, and Rasmussen to get these numbers. Even so, they have his numbers at 4.9% better than Hillary’s at this point four years ago. Biden’s lead is substantial.

Lines stretched outside the courthouse all day.

One week out marked the end of early in-person voting in Pennsylvania. The system is new, and far from perfect, but overall it worked well. I went to the Northampton County Courthouse to hand out Biden goodies and answer voters questions, but ended up mostly helping county workers get voters to fill out the necessary paperwork to get their ballot and vote. I’m happy to report that every voter in line that finished their application by 5pm received a ballot, and only a hand full in a long line failed to finish and hand in their application by 5pm. The line stretched outside the building virtually all day, from the lower level inside (the elections office), to the rotunda security, then out of the building to the street. The scene in Easton was mirrored by even bigger lines in Allentown (Lehigh County). Going into the day, more than 94,000 ballots had been returned in the 7th Congressional district. Democrats has a 2:1 advantage in ballots returned going into the final day of in-person early voting.

Every morning

Doug Emhoff will visit Allentown tomorrow to kick off a canvass from IBEW Local 375. Doug is of course the husband of Kamala Harris. Doug becomes the first of the four main principles on the Democratic ticket to visit the Lehigh Valley in 2020. One may recall that Tim Kaine visited the region twice in 2016, but Hillary did not. For contrast, John Kerry visited twice, his wife once, and both Barack and Michelle Obama stopped by in their campaigns. I’m going to put a pin in this and leave it here for now, it is what it is. There is no bigger swing area of a swing state, but predictive analytics hate close areas. We’ll re-visit later. I’m glad Doug is coming in and giving our folks something to cheer. Predictive analytics make Democratic campaigns suck, as they make them overly efficient and not nearly energetic enough, or energizing.

I’m going to save the bulk of my comments about how bad the Democratic model of organizing is for a later (soon) date, and just share an anecdote. Four years ago, Hillary had very few yard signs, because they “don’t work,” and made you either buy one or volunteer enough times for one. Biden went the opposite way, flooding our area with signs, but still making you sign up and give over your data to get a sign. The result? No less than 2,000 Biden-Harris signs sitting around in PA-7, waiting to go somewhere. It’s not a lack of demand. I sent an email just in my township to active volunteers, and I received an immediate 25 requests, without even calling these folks. We could have moved these in days with effort. Democratic campaigns are addicted to posting big numbers though, even if it means you fail to meet your objectives. Analytics over everything. No wonder we lose often.

‘Til tomorrow…

8.

Welp…

Predictions, predictions. As we enter the final week of the election, things are becoming clear now. Joe Biden will easily win the popular vote. The Democrats will hold the House. We know the tipping point states for President and control of the Senate. We know the House battlegrounds. So what’s my call?

President- Joe Biden. I’m not predicting a win, I’m predicting a blowout. 375-163. If you look at elections post-2000, the battlegrounds tip towards the winner as a group. Hence, Biden will win PA-MI-WI fairly easy, NC-FL-AZ by modest margins, and OH-GA-IA in squeakers. He has the enthusiasm, the middle, and surge voters. It will show. Perhaps the significant part of my prediction is this- the legal nightmares Democrats have will be small at best.

Senate- Democratic. This is going to be the close part of the night. The GOP will take Alabama, meaning Democrats will need four seats to flip the chamber. AZ and CO are coming. NC seems like it is, but it’s not quite a lock yet. ME looks great, but ranked choice voting might save Collins. IA is feeling as good as those two, to me. Then you get into some interesting races. Both Georgia seats suddenly look very winnable. Texas and Kansas remain on the board very late. South Carolina is a jump ball. Montana remains very much in play thanks to having the better candidate. Mississippi is the sleeper of sleepers. And somehow, Louisiana and Kentucky occasionally look good. Meanwhile the GOP has MI and MN to play for, and that’s it. I’m predicting the Democrats pick up five seats.

House- Democratic gains. This is a bit of a surprise, but Democrats are about to make gains all over the map. Predict a dozen pick-ups. This is where the tsunami is at.

More to come later…

9.

The Washington Post takes anyone’s picture.

Into the single digits we go… and the race is mostly unchanged. RCP puts the race at 7.8% for Biden, mostly because they count Rasmussen’s ridiculous “Trump +1%” poll (perfectly timed for the GOP). Compared to 2016 at this same point, Biden is 4.9% better than Hillary at the same time. According to RCP, Biden is up 9% in Michigan, 5.5% in Wisconsin, 4.8% in Pennsylvania, 2.4% in Arizona, 1.8% in Florida, and 1.2% in North Carolina. This is closer than the national race, but not really very close for this point. Meanwhile 538 remains at Biden with an 87% chance of victory. That’s pretty good, but his 9.4% lead in their polls is even stronger than RCP’s. They also counted the Rasmussen garbage in there, but also had several polls showing the race at double digits. Finally the Economist model has Biden at a 95% chance of victory, and 346 electoral votes. Basically nobody gives Trump as good of a shot to win as he had in 2016 at this point.

Nevertheless, Donald Trump was here today. I guess he has to try (and spread Covid everywhere). He made stops in Hanover Township, Lititz, and Altoona today. The Lititz and Altoona stops can only be read as trying to strengthen his base, which is not good this late. This would seem to suggest Hanover was also about fortifying his base, which isn’t good for him. Meanwhile both Northampton and Lehigh County courthouses we’re full of voters- Democratic voters. Democrats continue to run a roughly 50k ballots returned advantage in PA-7 as they cross the 100k ballots cast mark. I maintain my belief about the state of this race.

I suspect Joe Biden’s internal polling is better than the public polling. Why? Upcoming stops in Georgia, Texas, and Iowa, all suggesting they believe they can play offense in the closing days. I do think we’ll see some more Pennsylvania stops though. Basically, if Joe wins PA, you can write off this race. Everything suggests he will, but you don’t gamble on it. Nobody wants to be second guessed like the Clinton folks for their schedule in the final two months.

More coming…

10.

Here we go. The final days before the election. Joe Biden continues to hold comfortable leads in the polls. RCP shows it as an 8% lead for Biden, and he sits at 51% in nearly all the polls. That lead is 5.4% larger than Hillary’s lead at this point four years ago. 538 gives Biden an 87% chance of victory. They also give Biden a 9.2% lead. The Economist gives Biden a 94% chance to win, and predicts 346 electoral votes for Biden.

Above is my updated map. I am not predicting a close election, or anything resembling 2016 on the surface. The only caveat to my 375-163 map is that I feel eleven states and two congressional districts will be competitive on Election Day. With that in mind though, I see Biden pulling out all of them but Texas. If he really wins by 7% or more, I don’t see how he doesn’t.

What do “the professional” pundits think? Below are some “other” maps:

With the exception of the betting market, there’s not much debate about the state of this race. Chalk that up to the male tilt of the betting market. Throwing that out, I think you can see the state of the race. Now go vote and make it real.

11.

And soon, like a miracle, it will be over.

Well, we’re almost there. Over 50 million votes have been cast. How’s it look? 538 says it’s a 9.7% race in favor of Biden. Their forecast gives Biden an 87% chance of victory. Meanwhile, the Economist gives Biden a 91% chance of winning, and 346 electoral votes. The RCP average has it Biden 51.3%-42.4%, an 8.9% lead for Biden. That’s 4.1% larger than Clinton’s lead four years ago. These are actually pretty steady numbers, although 538 and the Economist are showing slight movement towards Trump. Ultimately though, the race is heading steadily towards a Biden win.

The eleven day out mark is significant for two reasons. One, Anthony Scaramucci spent 11 days as the incoming White House Communications Director, so we are one Scaramucci away from the election. Two, it was 11 days out in 2016 when James Cody dropped his infamous letter on Hillary Clinton. It is worth noting that Clinton’s RCP average lead on that date was only 3.9%, as she battled Russia, misogyny, trying to win a third term for her party, and Trumpism. Did Comey decide the race? No. Did he probably tip the race away from her? Probably. She was already stuck below 50%, with lower approval, and big obstacles in her way. Being called a crook didn’t help.

We now head into the second to last weekend of the election. The Bidens, Bernie, and Bon Jovi are all in PA. Cher is on the road. Millions of people are voting. We’ll have more later today…

12.

Guess what I did today?

Today I did my twice annual (primary and general) civic duty and cast my vote for Joe Biden to be the 46th President of the United States. Not coincidentally, I then voted Democratic all the way down the ticket. I’m pretty happy with my choices.

It was the final debate night of 2020, which I don’t think matters a whole lot. I think it’s fair to say two things are simultaneously true- Trump both was much better than the first debate and Biden still won the debate. Does it matter? John Kerry and Hillary Clinton won all of their debates and lost the election. People don’t vote based on debates. So while they looked good, I’m not putting much stock in them.

The final analysis? Just one day closer. Now we’re on to Comey day. I’m not sure what can change it now…

13.

Barack Obama was in Philadelphia today. That is generally a good thing for Democrats. Joe Biden continues to lead by 5-9% in poll after poll of the Keystone state, which when you consider the extent to which pollsters are trying to find the “missing” Trump voters from 2016, generally means things are good. Public polling has consistently shown Biden winning the all important swing 1st, 7th, and 10th Congressional districts. Early voting numbers show a ridiculous Democratic leaning in ballots requested and returned. By every measure, Joe Biden is poised to carry Pennsylvania. If he carries Pennsylvania, he’s almost certainly President.

So, what can go wrong, right? Do you fear under performing in Philadelphia and it’s suburbs, or Pittsburgh and Allegheny County? Or do you fear a repeat failure in the Lehigh Valley or NEPA? Or maybe it’s just Western PA? Honestly, none of the above seems likely to be any worse than 2016 to me. So what am I watching at this point?

  • Getting ballots in.
  • Counting issues.
  • Foreign Interference in counting.

Obviously things will narrow a bit in the closing days. We all know that. They almost have to. At this point I see a race that ends between Biden by 5% (51-46%) and Biden by 9% (54-45%) when the dust settles. I believe either way he wins the electoral college, but one is very easy, the other might be a little longer wait.