Because I’d like to see how in tune I am with the state of my fellow citizens, I am posting a predicted electoral map for the 2020 Presidential Election. Much is this is derived from the polls, but as you can see, I make several calls that don’t strictly follow the polling leader.
- Consistent polling leads for Biden
- Improvements in polling methodology from 2016
- Extremely consistent dissaproval for Trump across his entire presidency
- Democratic gains in the suburbs in 2018
- Increased turnout
I think many of the mid-west states that Hillary Clinton lost will return to Joe Biden. In Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania, he has consistently led Donald Trump by wider and more consistent margins than Clinton. More importantly, pollsters have learned from 2016, and more heavily weigh the demographic makeup of Trump’s base this time around.
As Nate Silver of 538 has pointed out, polling biases rarely stay constant across elections, and there is reason to think a polling bias might even overweight Trump’s base this time around.
Florida burned Democrats so painfully in 2018 that I believe people discount Biden’s consistent polling lead here. Similarly, North Carolina has had him consistently leading for some time. Arizona has seen an even more robust Biden lead. I call these all for him.
The states I have the most trouble with are Iowa, Ohio, Georgia, and Texas. Georgia and Texas have been trending blue, and while they also burned Democrats in 2018, I believe the blue-trending suburbs and high turnout will be just enough to push them into Biden’s camp. Trump and Biden have been trading leads in Iowa and Ohio so I have the 2018 congressional elections in Iowa portending a Biden victory there, while Ohio barely stays in the Trump column.
Why This Could be Wrong
All of this could be wrong for many reasons, but I think there are a few likely candidates. First, undecided voters could swing to Trump as they did in 2016. This is unlikely to win him the electoral college outright, but could tip several close states in his favor.
Second, there could still easily be a polling bias in favor of Biden. Whether non-college educated white voters turnout for the first time for Trump, or people haven’t been honestly answering pollsters, it is certainly possible Trump outperforms his polls significantly.
Third, the presence of election shenanigans. While the polls have been steady, in many swing states, officials have implemented measures to restrict voting. Most recently, a GOP led effort attempted to throw out around 127,000 votes in Harris county (which is likely to vote for Biden). While this effort was struck down, other litigation will continue, especially in close states. However, if the election comes down to litigation, it’s likely that my prediction will have already been far off the mark.
This time I’m knocking on wood,