US election minus 13 days

Biden continues to lead nationally by almost ten points, but only by just over six points in the “tipping-point” states.

Guest post by Adrian Beaumont, who joins us from time to time to provide commentary on elections internationally. Adrian is an honorary associate at the University of Melbourne. His work on electoral matters for The Conversation can be found here, and his own website is here.

With 13 days left until the November 4 AEDT election, the FiveThirtyEight national aggregate gives Joe Biden a 9.9% lead over Donald Trump (52.1% to 42.2%). Biden’s lead has decreased by 0.3% since last week. In the key states, Biden leads by 8.2% in Michigan, 6.3% in Wisconsin, 6.2% in Pennsylvania, 3.8% in Arizona and 3.6% in Florida.

Pennsylvania and Wisconsin are virtually tied now as the “tipping-point” state that could potentially give either Biden or Trump the 270 Electoral Votes required to win the Electoral College. If Biden is only up by six in Pennsylvania while leading by ten nationally, the popular vote/Electoral College gap is nearly four points in Trump’s favour, the highest gap I can recall in these reports.

A concern for Biden is that his strongest Pennsylvania polls were either from pollsters with Democratic house effects this cycle (Quinnipiac had Biden up eight, but has been good for Biden all year), or showed an unrealistic gap in Biden’s favour between likely and registered voters (CNN had Biden up ten with likely voters but just five with registered voters).

In FiveThirtyEight’s aggregates, Biden also leads by 3.1% in North Carolina, 1.1% in Iowa and 1.0% in Georgia. He trails by 1.0% in both Ohio and Texas. As I have said previously, if Biden wins all these states, he wins over 400 of the 538 Electoral Votes.

The FiveThirtyEight forecast gives Trump a 13% chance to win the Electoral College, unchanged from last week. He only has a 4% chance to win the popular vote.

Trump’s net job approval ratings have dropped over one point since last week. In the FiveThirtyEight aggregate, his net approval with all polls is -11.6%, and -11.2% with polls of likely or registered voters. The RealClearPolitics average has Biden’s net favourability at +9, the highest it’s been, while Trump’s is -11.

In the FiveThirtyEight Classic Senate forecast, Democrats now have a 78% chance to win control, up 2% since last week. The most likely outcome is a 52-48 Democratic majority. Unchanged on last week’s projection. The 80% confidence range is 48 to 56 Democratic seats, also unchanged.

Biden is in a stronger position than Clinton was in 2016

Comparisons are being made to 2016, when Trump unexpectedly defeated Hillary Clinton. There are two key differences from 2016. First, although Clinton was consistently ahead of Trump nationally in 2016, she never reached 50% of the vote, while Biden is currently at 52%. US polls include undecided in their main voting intentions tables, and this makes it more difficult to reach 50%.

In 2016, both Trump and Clinton were very unpopular. The James Comey letter reopening an investigation into Clinton’s emails just 11 days before the election was probably influential in swinging late deciders behind Trump. In exit polls, he won those that did not like either candidate by 47-30.  This year, Biden’s big lead is partly explained by his own popularity.

Trump is trying to revert back to 2016, when he successfully attacked “Crooked Hillary” by going after Biden’s son, Hunter. But the increase in Biden’s net favourability and the lack of change on voting intentions suggest that most voters do not care about Hunter Biden. Still, I expect Trump to attack Hunter at Friday’s final presidential debate AEDT.

Voters are far more likely to care about coronavirus, and Trump is perceived to have handled that poorly. Over 70,000 new US cases were recorded last Friday, the highest since late July. Over 1,200 deaths were recorded Wednesday, the highest since August. Coronavirus continuing to be in the headlines is not good for Trump.

Here’s a coronavirus hypothetical: imagine if Trump had at least pretended to follow scientific advice on wearing masks, not holding big rallies and advocating social distancing. There’s currently also a massive spike in new cases in the UK, but the Conservatives lead Labour by 42-36 in the latest poll.

Left wins Bolivian election after re-run

After the October 2019 election, left-wing Bolivian president Evo Morales was forced to resign over claims of vote rigging. Owing to coronavirus, a new election was delayed until last Sunday. Luis Arce, who was Morales’ Minister of the Economy, won outright with 54.5%, avoiding a second round.

101 comments on “US election minus 13 days”

Comments Page 1 of 3
1 2 3
  1. There isnt enough hard liquor in the house to get me through the 13 days AND the day after. I considered pacing myself. But….. nah, back to the bottlo.

    The good news;
    SCOTUS ruling that Pa can count late arriving mail-in ballots.
    And the 3-4pt Arizona lead is consistent. With NE2 and Arizona, Biden can afford something crazy to happen in one of Pa, WI, MI without resorting to hopes in the eastern sunbelt.

  2. I’m a polling sceptic these days, but the complexity is fascinating, especially the calculations that forecast ultimate outcomes.

    Assume for a moment that polling is accurate and reflects actual early votes at the time the polling occurred. If so, then the large number of early votes this time round should be entered into any forecast based on the polling at that time, and essentially locked in.

    * For Trump to win, how would the polls have to be from now on? Presumably they would have to be dramatically different than they are right now, and stay that way until the last day.

    * If early voting continues at the current rate, how many people are going to be voting on the last day?

  3. If people are so confident of a Biden victory I do not see it in the betting markets. There has been late money for Trump and you can get $1.62 for Biden victory. Also can someone tell me why Minnesota is only $1.36 for Biden as it was a state won by Clinton, thought it should be shorter. I think people still do not trust polling numbers and Trumps voter base is white, not in big cities therefore harder to poll. Still think Trump will lose but the college will be close but total votes Biden is a sure bet at $1.16 .

  4. Damo the odds just reflect what money is being bet. Trump supporters obviously have more money to throw around making Trump look competitive, if the polls are any guide. Betting markets regularly get the result wrong but the bookmakers don’t care – they are just following the money and taking their cut.

  5. IMO this is the Corona Virus election. Everybody affected is voting. 1200 deaths were reported yesterday. Trump is heading for a loss.

  6. seems to me very likely democats win Arizona and Michigan…………. this is almost there without any other state flipping…… all clintons 2016 wins will stay

  7. If we just look at states with polling lead averages outside a generous margin of error (say, +/- 5%), Joe Biden has 279 Electoral Votes in the bank (the Clinton states + Wisconsin, Michigan & Pennsylvania). Trump, by contrast can only be sure of 126 EVs.

    There are 123 EVs from States that are too close to call, namely Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, North Carolina, Ohio, and Texas. Of these, Biden has small but consistent leads in Arizona, Florida and North Carolina, as well as apparent leads in the Congressional District EVs up for grabs in both Maine and Nebraska.

    This suggests an comfortable Electoral College outcome of 335 for Biden v 203 for Trump.

    For Trump to win from here, he’ll need to hold all of those line ball states he’s currently barely ahead in (namely Georgia, Iowa, Ohio and Texas), while at the same flipping at least one of the states that Biden currently enjoys a comfortable 5%+ lead in. Pennsylvania is the most likely of these, but in any event it’s a pretty narrow needle to thread, and a Biden blow-out (where he wins all the close states, and ends up with an EV count over 400) is probably more likely than an unexpected Trump win.

    Congress is also looking good for the Blue team. The Democrats will hold the House of course, probably with an increased majority, and they have an increasingly strong chance of taking the Senate. I think everyone is assuming that Doug Jones will lose in deep Red Alabama, which means the Dems need to pick up four seats to bring it to 50-50 (in which case putative Vice President Kamala Harris would provide the casting vote). They seem almost certain to win in Arizona and Colorado, and are a better-than-even chance in Maine, North Carolina, and Iowa, while Montana, Texas and both Georgia races are possibilities on a good night. It’s quite possible that the Dems might sweep the board and up with a 53-47 Senate majority, but a 50-50 result seems the more likely outcome.

  8. It was a very ordinary debate Trump seemed to be allowed to respond to the response to his response Biden pointing out he’d lied.

    Biden had consistent trouble with his lines, like he was trying to reinforce Trumps attack against him. And Biden just came across as soft when he needed punch.

    Hopefully not too many minds left to be made up, but ugly.

  9. You had to be looking hard to see slip ups in Biden’s performance. The ‘what would you say at your inauguration speech’ showed him to be Presidential – whilst Dotard could only promise the more of the same. This in my view confirmed a draw, which is all he needed.

  10. With a huge number of early votes the debate would have limited impact:

    Total Early Votes: 48,674,556 • Mail Ballots: 34,221,827 • In-Person Votes: 14,452,729

    Votes 2016: 127m

  11. Some early voting numbers:

    Scrolling down you get to a graph that shows early voting in 2020 has reached the same level as 2016, with another 11 days to go. Scroll some more and you get to

    At least 23.0 million people have voted in battleground states

    If you expand that to show all states it’s clear that the majority of the early voting is in Texas, where early voting has already outstripped 2016.

  12. Yeah, that 87% is a real nail-biter.

    All considered, 87% is enough to make one drink whiskey straight from the bottle. 42% polled say they will vote for Trump. Trump. Easily the most despicable human being to attain top office in the US.
    ‘A man so petty and small minded he would while away his evenings sewing name labels onto buildings… a trumped up little squirt… an incompetent reality show presenter with a Napoleon complex. Who would allow this man, this joke of a man, this man who could not outwit a used tea bag, to be in a position where he might endanger the entire world? Who? Only a yoghurt.’*

    This is the largest, most dangerous cult of yoghurts since I dont want to say.

    * Red Dwarf. Grant & Naylor.

  13. “Biden’s lead has decreased by 0.3% since last week.”…. Gees, Trump is about to take over…. Oh dear…

    Trump’s last opportunity to truly go back into the race, today’s debate, was an utter failure….

    In the meantime the Republicans are desperately rushing Amy Coney Barrett through the senate, in spite of a Democratic party boycott, in order to get her into the Supreme Court defying current conventions… This is just calling for retaliation from the coming Biden administration if the Democrats end up controlling the Senate (which is quite possible).

    Trump and Mitch McConnell were determined to exploit their advantage to the full against convention, and they will be repaid by a similar exploitation to the full by the Democrats. In addition:

    “Joe Biden plans special commission to suggest supreme court reforms”

    The Republicans want to play hardball?…. Let’s see whose “ball” is harder!

  14. I was ‘doing some numbers’ last night assuming that accurate polls accurately reflect accurate early voting reports. I also assumed a total 70% turnout, to give Trump’s numbers a chance of catching up. And finally I assumed steadily improving poll numbers for Trump from now until the final day. (This is very rough stuff.) But the bottom line for Trump to win the popular vote, his numbers on the final day have to be 53% Trump versus 47% Biden.

    Caveat: This ignores that State level polling and State level early voting numbers almost certainly would produce a more accurate analysis.

  15. Interesting that Monmouth are polling the Iowa congressional districts. They have the Dems well ahead in 3 of the 4 and only 4pts behind in the other (IA4). IA4 was won by the Republicans in 2016 by 22pts. Dems got close ish in 2018. Republicans got rid of their white nationalist incumbent for a more palatable option this time around but he has a race on his hands.

    There have also been some good statewide polls for the Dems there. 538’s “Toss up” call is a little over cautious. Democrats would have to be favoured here.

  16. Sorry. I forgot to mention one other assumption, that in total 100M early votes would be cast. (The numbers in themselves don’t mean much, but it does give a feel for the hill Trump has to climb.)

  17. I wonder about the MAGAs and those who comment on Fox and Sky News Australia, they seem completely oblivious to the idea that Biden may well win as if it’s a completely impossible scenario. They are banking heavily on the polls being completely off. Meanwhile Democrat voters continue to be nervous nellies, terrified that they will once again be robbed at the finish line. My take is that Trump would have had a greater chance if he could have shown empathy towards those hit so hard by the pandemic but that’s obviously beyond him. I’ll be happy to see him gone, he’s an unlikeable oxygen-thief.

  18. I decided long ago that all of those Fox/News Corp/Murdoch sites are either primarily frequented by bots or else selectively moderated so that it looks like they’re primarily frequented by bots. Not worth wasting any time there.

  19. The Republicans want to play hardball?…. Let’s see whose “ball” is harder!

    Centrist Democrats never play hardball with Republicans. Only with progressives. They roll over to Republicans every single time.

    If Biden becomes president, and if Democrats gain a Senate majority, and if Amy Coney-Barrett is on the Supreme Court, Biden will passively accept that outcome. He won’t expand the number of judges on the Supreme Court and other federal courts. He considers Republicans to be his friends. He is openly saying that he will appoint Republicans to his Cabinet (including politicians who voted for Trump policies 90% of the time in Congress). What evidence is there that Biden would do something progressive like expand the federal judiciary so that conservative judges can’t spend the next fifty years striking down every slightly progressive law?

  20. Fuck off Nicholas.

    You fail to comprehend that there is no point in ‘playing hardball’ with political operatives – left or right – if those shenanigans just piss off the non political – the low interest low information voters just trying to make ends meet.

    The ‘hardball’ that you bitch about is not a grievance that ‘the centre’ has with the left cannibalising the left flank of the progressive plurality. Thats fine. Win Melbourne, Sydney, Balmain, marrickville, west end. Whatevers. All hail bohobostan.

    No, it’s a greievence that the centre and centre left have about ‘the left’ – which is actually a faux left, given the obvious bourgeois background and proclivity of you blowhards – is the insistence on positions that that mainstream voters (ie. not the political operatives or enthusiasts of ‘the centre’ or ‘centre left’ that you despise for a lack of purity, but ordinary folk) find troubling, scary or downright repulsive. Let me spell it out to you: that shit dives these folk – the very same ones that the progressive plurality depends on to form majorities and therefore effect progressive change by democrat means – straight into the arms of the Tories. You fucking oxygen thief.

    That’s what the centre and centre left despise about you. You are a brake and obstacle to actual progress.

    Fuck off.

  21. Damo: Minnesota at 1.36 (or the 1.33 on Betfair) looks like good value to me. I think those state markets are just very thin though, a little money would move them sharply.

  22. @Nicholas

    He appoints a republican senator to cabinet and suddenly their is an open senate spot.

    He gets credit for being bi-partisan while making the senate more friendly to the democrats.

  23. He appoints a republican senator to cabinet and suddenly their is an open senate spot.

    He is considering appointing a former Republican Senator Jeff Flake. So no, it wouldn’t reduce the number of Republican Senators.

    It’s extraordinary that Biden seems to think that there aren’t enough competent Democrats in a nation of 330 million people to fill the top government posts.

    When was the last time a Republican president appointed a progressive Democrat to a senior Cabinet post?

    When was the last time a centrist Democratic president appointed a progressive Democrat to a Senior Cabinet post?

    Do you really think that Republicans haven’t had enough power over American politics during the past twenty years? That the Republican party has had so little power recently that in the interests of fairness it should be represented among the top echelons of a nominally Democratic administration?

    Biden won’t fight for regular people. He is a Washington swamp creature. If you expect that a Biden Administration will make a serious effort to improve the lives of the vast majority of the country, you aren’t paying attention.

    It is highly likely that a Biden Administration will continue with policies that favour corporations and well-connected people, and the crises that afflict most Americans will continue, and there will be a backlash against the Democratic Party in 2022 and 2024.

  24. catprog, you are assuming the Democrats can win the special election replacing that Republican senator.

    There arent many that are;
    – winnable and
    – has a Republican that is suitable for a cabinet position (there arent many moderates left) and
    – one that would take it up

    Pat Toomey in Pa? He has plans tho. Ted Cruz? Dog no. Rick Scott? Surely not. Grassley? Or one that gets elected in Nov in a tight race – even there you are looking at peeps with very unpleasant policy platforms.

    My concern is that, whilst Biden was probably a good choice for beating Trump (in 10 days time), he isnt the best to get the major reforms needed through congress and SCOTUS and sell them to the public. And I am not sure about Harris. It is here that I would have preferred some combination of Klobuchar/Buttigieg/Warren/Booker and even Sanders and maybe Harris.

  25. Biden won’t fight for regular people.

    His policy platform says otherwise. The future of the Democrat party demands it. If they win, they have 4 years (actually, only 2) to gain enough political credibility to face down an equally odious yet more presentable Republican.

  26. Nicholas @ #34 Saturday, October 24th, 2020 – 9:49 am

    He is considering appointing a former Republican Senator Jeff Flake. So no, it wouldn’t reduce the number of Republican Senators.

    It’s extraordinary that Biden seems to think that there aren’t enough competent Democrats in a nation of 330 million people to fill the top government posts.

    So Biden considers giving an appointment to a Republican who’s been a vocal opponent of Trump and Trumpism? That’s your outrage du jour?

    To quote Joe Biden, “come on”. 🙄

  27. Arizona seems to be tightening up, with two polls today putting the state at evens. Still, it’s an all-mail voting state, so it’s possible this late trend is less significant than it might be elsewhere. Wisconsin and Michigan look pretty stable with Biden around +7%ahead, and Florida and North Carolina also aren’t moving much from Biden +2%. Pennsylvania *might* be blowing out slightly for Biden, with a couple of recent polls putting Biden’s lead at a similar level to the other Rust Belt states. Meanwhile, Georgia and Iowa look to be trending Biden’s way over the last week.

  28. Among the names being floated for possible Biden Cabinet posts are Meg Whitman, the CEO of Quibi and former CEO of eBay, and former Ohio Gov. John Kasich, both of whom spoke at August’s Democratic National Convention. Massachusetts GOP Gov. Charlie Baker and former Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) have also been mentioned, as has former Rep. Charlie Dent (R-Pa.), who resigned from Congress in 2018 and became a lobbyist.

    When asked for comment, a spokesperson for the Biden transition said only that the team is not making any personnel decisions before the Nov. 3 election, but stressed that “diversity of ideology and background is a core value of the transition.”

    When Charlie Dent and Jeff Flake were in the Congress they voted for Trump policies about 90 percent of the time.

    If you think that Trump poses an existential threat to the United States, it is pretty stupid to be considering for senior Cabinet posts people who agree with Trump 90 percent of the time. Why not offer Trump himself a senior position in a Biden Administration if you are okay with people who are 90 percent in agreement with Trump?

    Also, does Biden’s professed support for “ideological diversity” in his Cabinet extend to progressives? Is he considering Stephanie Kelton for Treasury Secretary? Nina Turner for Housing and Urban Development Secretary? I note that his team are not leaking any stories about progressives whom they are considering for senior Cabinet posts.

    It is very clear that a vote for Biden is a vote for the status quo that is crushing the vast majority of Americans.

  29. Late Riser, early voting doesn’t work like that. Late deciders are likely to wait until election day if they’re going to vote. Dems have a big lead in early voting so far, but that’s expected according to polls. Those polls expect Reps to turn out in force on election day.

  30. Adrian Beaumont @ #42 Saturday, October 24th, 2020 – 3:22 pm

    Late Riser, early voting doesn’t work like that. Late deciders are likely to wait until election day if they’re going to vote. Dems have a big lead in early voting so far, but that’s expected according to polls. Those polls expect Reps to turn out in force on election day.

    If I understand you, that would mean that even less early votes are going Trump’s way than the polls indicate. Is that what you meant?

  31. Nicholas @ #41 Saturday, October 24th, 2020 – 3:13 pm

    I note that his team are not leaking any stories about progressives whom they are considering for senior Cabinet posts.

    Perhaps because doing that won’t help him peel wavering Republican voters off of Trump? There’s an election going on, in case you haven’t noticed.

    If progressives can’t calm themselves themselves down for two weeks so that Not Donald Trump can win the election, then they well and truly deserve…well, not 4 more years of Donald Trump; nobody deserves that. But they’re certainly causing more harm than good.

    Donald Trump is the problem. Biden is the only solution on the table. Be part of the solution, or admit that what you really want to see is 4 more years of Trump.

  32. AB. Thinking about that further. If early votes are heavily Democrat, then Republicans must be hoping that these votes will exhaust before Election Day, leaving the field clear for on-the-day Republican votes to catch up and put Trump ahead.

    I found this article on that.

    So far, much of the early voting appears to be driven by heightened enthusiasm among Democrats. Of the roughly 3.5 million voters who have cast ballots in six states that provide partisan breakdowns, registered Democrats outnumber Republicans by roughly 2 to 1, according to a Washington Post analysis of data in Florida, Iowa, Maine, Kentucky, North Carolina and Pennsylvania.

    “Last night felt like Christmas Eve,” said Tony Lewis, 39, who showed up at the Kentucky Exposition Center in Louisville on Tuesday just as polls opened at 8:30 a.m. for the first day of in-person voting. “I just wanted to get out and be one of the first ones to cast my vote to hopefully end the insanity we are living in under the current administration.”

    A 64 percent majority of likely voters supporting Biden said they planned to vote early. Among likely voters supporting Trump, a 61 percent majority planned to vote on Election Day.

    It shouldn’t be too hard to adjust those rough assumptions I made.

  33. I wouldn’t waste time with Nicholas’s tantrums. He has been wrong about literally everything in the last four years and posts from a bubble of wealth and privilege.

    Note: lots of people are being brainstormed for admin positions. Nobody has been offered anything (it’s illegal to do so at this point) and this is really just another desperate outrage who need someone to hate and oppose at all times to keep the dopamine pumping (but not Trump or Republicans because they’re aesthetically cool to them.)

  34. Numbers are like a flea circus. Tricky and Entertaining.

    From the Washington post article I linked to earlier:

    A 64 percent majority of likely voters supporting Biden said they planned to vote early. Among likely voters supporting Trump, a 61 percent majority planned to vote on Election Day.

    Biden vote early/on the day: 64%/36%
    Trump vote early/on the day: 39%/61%

    Those numbers don’t tally to 100%. Total early 103%. Total on the day 97%. You might make it work with sliding scales but I’m not sure that’s significant when the ‘error’ is only 3%. So I’m going with a 62/38 split. And that ultimately means it only comes down to how many votes will be cast on Election Day compared with how many were early. If early votes exceed Election Day votes Biden wins. If Election Day votes exceed early votes, then Trump wins. The math is inescapable. So, it’s all eyes on the early voting.

    But then there’s postal votes. ??? Oh well.

  35. Perhaps because doing that won’t help him peel wavering Republican voters off of Trump?

    There aren’t any “wavering Republicans” at this point who will vote for Biden if only he suggests he will appoint some conservative Republicans to his Cabinet.

    On the other hand there are a lot of progressives who won’t turn up to vote for Biden if he doesn’t offer them anything substantive on policy.

    Only 29 percent of young black voters – aged 18 to 29 – describe themselves as “definitely motivated to vote”. That is a terrible indictment on Joe Biden’s performance. Trump has been abominable yet Biden can’t even motivate young black voters to turn up to vote for him. That is a direct result of his failure to appeal to those voters on policy.

    If you are a neoliberal centrist you are almost certainly in a privileged economic position. Neoliberal centrists have some bizarre beliefs about politics – notably, their belief that the way to defeat conservatives is to adopt conservative policies and conservative framing. They can afford to approach politics in that way because the damage done by conservative economic policies doesn’t hit them personally.

  36. Biden vote early/on the day: 64%/36%
    Trump vote early/on the day: 39%/61%

    Those numbers don’t tally to 100%. Total early 103%. Total on the day 97%.

    I think you’re reading it sideways?

    I take those numbers as “of the cohort who said they would vote Biden, 64% said they’d vote early and 36% said they’d vote on election day (64 + 36 = 100% of Biden’s supporters)” and “of the cohort who said they would vote Trump, 39% said they’d vote early and 61% said they’d vote on election day (39+ 61 = 100% of Trump’s supporters)”. They’re all accounted for, but each group has a significantly different voting behavior which might make it hard to extrapolate things.

    Like say you’ve got 100 voters, which gives 55 Biden votes and 45 Trump votes (approximately). You’d expect 35 Biden votes via prepoll/postals, to 18 for Trump. And then on election day Biden gets 20 to Trump’s 27. I guess the Dems should be worried in any contest where their prepoll/postal rate isn’t around double the Republican number (which would include Florida and Iowa based upon the Guardian tracker; although the tracker only seems to track mail-in votes, not mail-in+prepoll)?

  37. a r, I’ll have another think, but the reported numbers were 64% early for Biden and 61% late for Trump. That implies 36% late for Biden and 39% early for Trump. My simplification on cohort behaviour was to shift the numbers to 62% so I wouldn’t have to go more complex. Then it only matters how many vote on the final day compared with voting early. The 55 Biden votes in your example must show up in the early votes. If there is a sudden drop in early voting or a huge on the day turnout those 55 votes weren’t there. Put another way if the polls are correct then early votes should end up outnumbering Election Day votes.


Comments Page 1 of 3
1 2 3

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *