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.

14.

Well, we’re into the homestretch. With under two weeks to go, RCP has it 51-42.5%, or Biden plus 8.5%. Comparable to 2016, Biden’s lead is 2.9% bigger than Clinton’s. In yesterday’s polls, Biden lead by 8%, 9%, and 3% (in the one poll that gave Trump a final lead in 2016), which looks pretty healthy. If you look back at Clinton’s final 2016 RCP lead (3.3%), the thing that stands out is that she only hit 50% in one poll, and was often around 45%. Biden regularly hits 50%. 538 gives Biden an 87% chance of victory, while their polling average sits at 52.2-42% for Biden. Meanwhile, The Economist model gives Biden a 93% chance of victory, projecting a 346-192 win. None of this is close or good for Trump at this point.

Let’s talk about Trump insulting Erie during his stop there last night. There was no way he was coming, he didn’t have to. Really? One of the rather remarkable things about this election is how steady Joe Biden’s lead has really been since 2017. This President has never been very popular, compared to any predecessor in modern times. It is more likely than not that he is going to go down as having won a 2016 fluke, a statistical accident, than that he ever was really favored to win. Him thinking otherwise is both hilarious and insulting.

Could he win? It is statistically possible, and should be taken seriously until it’s called, but it’s unlikely. It is true that Trump finished 3.9% better than his RCP average, which was an almost identical 42.2% in 2016. It is also true that Gary Johnson and Jill Stein both lost close to a point from their averages though, a non-factor this time, and that Hillary finished 2.7% above her average as well. A similar change this time would push Biden close to 54%, a huge number for any modern nominee. The 2016 results were complicated and need to be read far deeper into than we often do. it’s highly unlikely to look the same in 2020.

Feeling confident as ever, more later…

15.

But a snapshot…

Well, we’re two weeks out. Above is my current projection of the race. The simple truth of the matter is with his current lead, Biden would win, and win pretty healthy. He’d probably carry PA/MI/WI each by over 5%. He probably carries NC/FL/AZ each by over 3%. He would very narrowly pull out OH/IA/GA right now. Last but not least, he holds MN/NH/VA/CO by close to double digits, and NV comfortably. I don’t think right now he carries TX, but that could make this a historic blowout.

In the Senate, I think things are more competitive, but still leaning Democratic. Democrats seem in strong position to pull off AZ and CO pick ups, but likely to lose AL. At this point Dems remain favorites in MI and MN to hold, and slight favorites in ME, NC, and IA to flip the Senate. Then you have a real toss-up in MT, and very slight GOP favorites in KS, AK, both GA seats, SC, and TX. Even MS and LA are now on the board for the Dems too. With Dems holding financial edges almost everywhere, right now I predict a 53-47 Democratic Senate.

The House isn’t even in play. With some of the supposedly competitive seats producing lopsided polls in favor of the Democrats, it’s hard to see where they pick up seats. I’m predicting Democrats pick up 12 seats, going to 244-191.

The one ray of hope for the GOP are the Governor’s races. Taking back NC may look like a pipe dream, but MT is leaning their way. Defenses in WV, IN, UT, and NH all appear safer than earlier in the year. Their one semi-competitive protection, MO, is leaning their way.

That’s all for now…

16.

It’s Magic

And down the stretch we come! We’ve reached the two week mark, so I’ll be doing a few posts today, starting with this one.

The Economist is up to 92% on Biden winning. This might feel incorrect for a lot of people as they read “horse race journalism” about how Clinton lead too, or some swing states are actually close, or any other garbage. Let’s state the obvious though- Biden’s lead is 3.2% bigger than Clinton’s was at this point. What exactly does this mean though? On Election Day, Clinton’s polling average was about 2.9% on average in 2016, and the exit polls showed her up by 3.2% nationally. She won the popular vote by 2.1%. So in short, Clinton lost 2.5% from 14 days out until the end, then about another point on Election Day, totaling 3.5%. That 3.5% surge gave Trump an electoral college victory by 450k votes in the closest six states, 77k in the closest three. RCP has Biden up 8.6% today, clearing 51%. By this measure, Biden wins by 5.1% nationally, and unless you actually believe Biden gained 3% on Clinton entirely in reliably red and blue states, he wins. If we use 538, it’s a 10.3% lead, and with a Trump surge it’s 6.8%. Biden wins easily at that point. Of course if we applied a full 4% margin of error onto both of those numbers, perhaps Trump wins, but that’s at least double counting. He needs a much bigger surge than 2016.

What if the race is closer though? Most folks who believe so, do so on the basis that Trump has an intensity advantage. It doesn’t seem arguable that more people have strong feelings about him. An AI study recently said its a 3% race, 50-47%. They base this on internet mentions and comments. Still others cite Ronald Reagan’s late surge, which when you adjust for demographic movement, is actually probably comparable to 2016. Reagan was of course the challenger though, as was Trump theoretically in 2016- Trump 2020 is not. I’ve basically believed for four years that Trump would get his 46% he got in 2016, and he very well might. Biden simply needs to beat Hillary’s 48%, and probably even 49% under that scenario. The main point is that most theories of Trump over shooting his numbers are based on him having more intense support. Of course Biden has lead for months, early vote numbers among Democrats are super high, and he’s beating Trump’s fundraising numbers on the backs of small dollar donors- so does Trump hold an intensity advantage? The short answer is probably not.

The one interesting thing about this cycle has been the death and burial of the era of “identity politics”- or more directly, the death of “demographics are destiny” talk. Polling this year suggests Biden’s lead is largely because of dramatic improvements among men, whites, seniors, and independents, compared to Clinton. Meanwhile, Trump very well may out perform his 2016 self among African-Americans, particularly the men, and LatinX voters. This drives “professional DC nuts,” but it’s probably good for the country. Elections that simply resemble race wars aren’t good for unifying the country after, and honestly someone’s race shouldn’t define their politics. On a purely partisan level, this probably makes split popular/electoral college decisions less likely. This could be the biggest positive of the cycle for the country, if it continues forward.

More later…

17.

Might not be the image Trump wanted…

It was a big day for Donald Trump. First, the Economist model didn’t change. So it didn’t get worse. Then the RCP average fell to 8.9%. That’s still bad, but it’s best case! It’s still 3.3% worse than 2016 at the same point though, which is bad for him. Meanwhile 538 has him 10.6% down. The race remains a blowout, regardless of how hard Steve Bannon tries to impress Trump for a pardon.

The money race is really close in Northampton County. At least among donors writing checks of $200 or more. My bet is if we could see $50 or less donors, it’s not close. While there are the hardliners, Trump isn’t gaining here.

Today is a mostly virtual day for me. I’ll have a lot more tonight. Most of the coverage of this race is silly season now. One thing to note? 40k ballots are in for Northampton and Lehigh Counties. Democrats have cast 69.5%. That’s back breaking.

More later…

18.

Every morning…

The one sure thing in this campaign is that after every debate, interview, or town hall the Trump campaign takes part in, they’ll complain about the moderator or interviewer. They’re all too mean, their questions too hard, they used the President’s words, or they were too aggressive. You’d almost think the Trump campaign is trying to cover for their candidate not knowing anything about what he’s talking about. They agreed to a town hall with NBC for last night, then spent all day complaining about the moderator.

538 shows no change in the race, with Biden up 10.5%. It was a big day for Trump with RCP, as he’s within 8.9% now. Compared to 2016, he’s 3.1% worse though. Over at the Economist things are unchanged, with Biden winning 343 electoral votes and have a 91% chance of victory. It’s not looking close.

Of course in crackpot land, it’s competitive. They’re pointing at voter registration, a lagging indicator, and giving at least as much credence there as polls, fundraising, and ballot requests. You know though, the crooked pollsters are skewed.

Joni Ernst, the Iowa Senator who became famous for her ads about crushing bull “balls” doesn’t know the price of soy beans. So much for being a farm girl. Turns out she went Washington these last six years.

More tomorrow…