The Election One Week Out
This is an unprecedented election. To date, ~66 million votes have already been cast, and that number could top 100m by Election Day. Election experts expect a huge turnout, most pegging the number at 150–160m — far more than the 137m who turned out in 2016.
The really shocking development is that one party, through state suppression and judicial decree, is actively trying to disqualify enough of the vote so the incumbent can cling to power. No one believes Trump can actually win a majority of votes. “Winning” for the GOP amounts to something between narrowly legal technical victory and a soft coup. There’s no way to predict how that will play out, though Democrats are trying to run up the score to make it impossible for the GOP to disqualify enough ballots. Our democracy is nearing DefCon, and I suspect most of us are just hoping for a miracle here.
But anyway, we do have polls. These suggest what the actual vote may look like, and that’s important. In 2016, Clinton was sitting on a 3.5% lead in the 538 aggregate — and it was collapsing quickly. Biden had a stable lead of 9% this morning. His margin through debates, Presidential viruses, and Supreme Court battles hasn’t wobbled outside the 7.5 to 10.5% range.
More important, of course, are state margins. Below are the current averages in battleground states according to 538. I’ve included all the states Biden and Trump hope to flip. It seems a bit absurd to include South Carolina in the averages, but it represents the same level of reach for Biden (-7.9%) as Minnesota is for Trump. (Biden winning AK and SC is, according to polling, slightly more likely than Trump winning NV and MN.)
Barring some kind of super bizarre, not-in-modern-polling error, Biden will win Wisconsin and Michigan. The critical state is Pennsylvania. If Biden wins it (beyond efforts to disqualify votes), he’ll win the election. Everything else will be gravy. The Senate and statehouses are also a huge deal this census-year election, but you can go read 538 if you want more on them.
Biden Targets [2016 EV: 232]
- Michigan: +8.3% (16/248)
- Wisconsin: +7.1% (10/258)
- Pennsylvania: + 5.3% (20/278)
- Arizona: +2.8% (11/289)
- Florida: +2.4% (29/318)
- North Carolina: +2.4% (15/333)
- Maine District 2: +2.1% (1/334)
- Georgia: +1.2% (16/350)
- Iowa: +1.2% (6/356)
- Texas: -1.3% (38/394)
- Ohio: -1.6% (18/412)
- Alaska: -6.4% (3/415)
- South Carolina: -7.9% (9/423)
Trump Targets [2016: 306 EV]
- Nevada: -7.1% (6/312)
- Minnesota: -7.9% (10/322)
Hang in there, folks, just one 27-month long week to go!