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 six days left until next Wednesday’s AEDT election, the FiveThirtyEight national aggregate gives Joe Biden an 8.9% lead over Donald Trump (51.8% to 42.9%). Biden’s lead has decreased by 1.0% since last week. In the key states, Biden leads by 8.5% in Wisconsin, 8.1% in Michigan, 5.2% in Pennsylvania, 3.5% in Arizona and just 1.5% in Florida.
Pennsylvania is currently clearly 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 five in Pennsylvania while leading by nine nationally, the popular vote/Electoral College gap is nearly four points in Trump’s favour, the same as last week.
If Biden loses Pennsylvania, but wins Michigan, Wisconsin and Arizona, he would have 269 Electoral Votes, one short of the magic 270. Either Maine’s or Nebraska’s second Congressional District could in that scenario give Biden the narrowest of Electoral College wins.
In FiveThirtyEight’s aggregates, Biden also leads by 2.1% in North Carolina, 1.8% in Iowa and 1.5% in Georgia. He trails by 1.7% in Ohio and 1.8% in Texas. As I have said previously, if Biden wins all these states, he wins over 400 of the 538 Electoral Votes. The move to Trump in Florida puts it in with these states when it had previously been better for Biden.
The FiveThirtyEight forecast gives Trump an 11% chance to win the Electoral College, down 2% since last week. He only has a 3% chance to win the popular vote. The slight tightening nationally and in Pennsylvania is more than offset by time running out for Trump. Trump is likely to need a much bigger polling error than in 2016.
Trump’s net job approval ratings have improved over one point since last week after dropping the previous week. In the FiveThirtyEight aggregate, his net approval with all polls is -10.3%, and -9.4% with polls of likely or registered voters. The RealClearPolitics average has Biden’s net favourability at +6, while Trump’s is -13.
In the FiveThirtyEight Classic Senate forecast, Democrats now have a 79% chance to win control, up 1% 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.
With the US hitting a new record of over 80,000 coronavirus cases Wednesday, coronavirus is likely to dominate the headlines in the lead-up to the election. That is unlikely to help Trump.
Poll closing times
All times given here are next Wednesday Australian Eastern Daylight Time. Polls have suggested the early vote will be strongly pro-Biden, but the election day vote will be strongly pro-Trump. Early leads in a given state are likely to depend on whether that state counts election day or early votes first. Poll closing times are from The Green Papers.
Some states span two time zones, with voting finishing an hour later in the trailing zone. US media will not call states until all polls in that state are closed. The most important early state is Florida: if Biden wins, he’s almost assured of victory, but a Trump win means we could be waiting for mail votes from Pennsylvania and Michigan, possibly for days.
10am. The first polls close in the eastern time zones of Indiana and Kentucky, both expected to be easy Trump wins.
11am. Polls close in Georgia and most of Florida. In Florida, early votes will be released soon after polls close and election day votes are counted relatively quickly. Here’s the catch: polls in most of Florida close at 11am, but there’s a very right-wing part called the Panhandle. The Panhandle is in a different time zone, and closes one hour after the rest of Florida. In 2016 and 2018, the Panhandle caused agony for hopeful Democrats.
11:30am. Polls close in North Carolina and Ohia. I believe early votes will be counted first in both states.
12 noon. Polls close in Pennsylvania and most of Michigan and Texas (small parts of Michigan and Texas close at 1pm). I believe election day votes will be counted first in Pennsylvania and Michigan, while early votes are counted first in Texas.
1pm. Polls close in Wisconsin and Arizona. In Arizona, a large share of the overall vote will be mail, and that should be out for most of Arizona within an hour of polls closing. Mail received after election day can be accepted.
2pm. Polls close in Iowa, where I believe early votes will be counted quickly.
3pm. Polls close in California, Oregon and Washington. These are all Democratic strongholds that should be called immediately for Biden. If he’s already gained enough Trump 2016 states, this could be when he is declared president-elect.
5pm. The final polls close in Alaska’s western time zone.
167 comments on “US election minus six days”
Good on Axios for wheedling a commitment out of Trump:
President Trump denies Axios report claiming he plans to declare premature victory if he appears ‘ahead’ on election night
President Trump says a report by Axios claiming he told confidants that he’ll declare victory on Tuesday night if he appears to be “ahead” is false. Trump went on to criticise Supreme Court rulings that allow absentee ballots that arrive after Election Day to be counted in states such as Pennsylvania saying “as soon as that election is over, we’re going in with our lawyers.” Pennsylvania’s attorney general responded, saying: “Our elections are over when all the votes are counted.”
C@tmomma @ #151 Monday, November 2nd, 2020 – 11:35 am
Good. Unfortunately though “commitment” and “Trump” don’t belong together. But I’ll take the PA AG’s comments.
Late Riser @ #152 Monday, November 2nd, 2020 – 12:14 pm
Trump is putting pressure on the state legislature to ignore (on dubious grounds) the states popular vote and chose his electors. What a stupid undemocratic joke of a system.
Anyone else feel sick after todays Insider Advantage polls came in? Thankfully there are plenty of other recent (and higher rated) polls to keep the faith. I also note that Nate Silver and Insider Advantage have had words in the past.
Late Riser @ #152 Monday, November 2nd, 2020 – 11:44 am
Yeah, that. Trump makes the expected noises now, won’t stop him from doing exactly what he’s accused of planning to do on the night.
“I’m not declaring victory early. I’m declaring victory. I won.”
Simon Katich @ #153 Monday, November 2nd, 2020 – 12:16 pm
It sure is. There’s a fix in the pipeline:
Also, saying something like “as soon as that election is over, we’re going in with our lawyers” projects basically zero confidence in being able to win legitimately. 🙂
There’s a lot to read in that. It seems that states are allowed to do this without violating their agreements with the Union.
which this compact doesn’t. And though it won’t apply in 2020 maybe by 2028 or 2032 there’ll be enough states signed up. The only other caveat is that the compact relies on state law, which can be overturned by each state.
But very good to know about. Thanks.
For Trump there has never been a difference between winning legitimately and winning.
If he had any doubt, he could point to a lifetime of positive reinforcement that cheating, lying, stealing, bullying, bluff and bluster wins over intelligence, effort, competence and anything like a Protestant ethic.
There is a question I once asked in a tutorial. Can you actually have a democracy in a 2 party political system if one of those political parties happily ditches democratic principles in order to get power. Can founding documents, laws, courts and ‘the people’ safeguard a State from spiralling into autocracy in the face of a determined undemocratic party?
Is the problem the two party system? Or is it the fact that almost all founding documents were inherently anti-democratic (anti-universal suffrage) in creation…. That the founding fathers were consciously or subconsciously nervous about letting everyone vote and letting the people have power.
My simplistic response would be that ‘the people’ are the only safeguard. When enough people no longer choose to conform then revolutions happen. Sometimes for better. Sometimes not. What is difficult to accept is that the USA is actively pursuing your question.
Late Riser @ #159 Monday, November 2nd, 2020 – 2:45 pm
Revolutions rarely pan out as an expression of peoples democratic will. They tend to end up (if not start out) as a power struggle with ‘the people’ either stuck in the middle or pawns to the slaughter.
What strikes me is how blind people are to their own hypocrisy. How easily they defend their indefensible actions. That the same people demanding rights to arms and a multitude of ‘freedoms’ and individual rights, will try to kidnap a bus and stop people from speaking, voting and campaigning.
We know humans are completely capable of horrendous acts and convincing themselves that they are rational and doing the right thing. Educated, civilised, cultured people as capable or more so. We dont have to look far back into history to see it.
My question is; despite all the efforts of founding fathers, of a framework of protections and checks and balances, are our systems any more buffered from this collapse into barbarism than any other? Or, all this time, have we just been relying on the good will of two adversarial political parties to keep despots and their cronies at bay?
Some info on timing for Wednesday in Australian.
I don’t doubt you’re right. I was thinking of the Berlin wall. Enough people had had enough.
Short answer, yes. But I’m not sure about “at bay”. My longer answer is that it lies somewhere in the mythology of the country. Myths can explain how people choose their accepted behaviour. Exceptionalism and freedom would be my choices for the dominant American myths, with guns maybe a close third. And “The Greenback” is in there too. Both adversarial parties are built around the same myths. The USA will continue yet.
(Just guessing of course.)
Trump continuing to throw petrol on the fire.
From the Guardian live.
As with the Biden-bus thuggery in Texas and the promise to go straight to the courts in Pennsylvania, I don’t see how that helps Trump with anyone who wasn’t already going to vote for him anyways.
William has a new thread up.
Socrates, this was posted on previous thread:
Sunday, November 1, 2020 at 2:44 pm
Electoral College outcome:
Biden 389 [all close states except Iowa and Ohio]
Let the gap be large!!