Sunday, September 27, 2020

THE PRAIRIE EDITOR: Who Is Really Ahead?

As the title of this article implies, the presidential race might
not be what it seems to be.

With six weeks to go, conventional media thinking has Joe
Biden well ahead, and leading already in enough states to
win the all-important electoral college tally. Many well-known
pundits and strategists are even suggesting the election is
virtually (pun intended?) over.

While Joe Biden might indeed win when the votes are counted,
even by a decisive margin, I think the true status of this race
now remains unsettled and unknown.

The primary evidence for conventional thinking has been a
series of establishment media polls which have shown Mr.
Biden ahead of Mr. Trump by high single digit or low double
digit numbers in nationwide polls, and with mid-single digit
leads in many of the battleground states. In recent weeks,
most of these polls have tightened while in a few competitive
states, Mr. Trump has pulled slightly ahead.  In at least two
nationwide polls, the president is actually very slightly ahead 
of his opponent --- but these seem to be, for now, outliers.
(National polls reflect the national popular vote; but the actual
election is done by state-by-state electoral college voting.) As
happened in 2016, Mr. Trump is not expected to win the popular
vote in 2020 --- given the huge majorities Mr. Biden is expected
to win in California, New York and Illinois.

Conventional media thinking assumes the polls are accurate,
but many observers and some poll experts dispute this, arguing
that most establishment polling is undermeasuring Republican
and Trump voters, especially in battleground states.

In 2016, the final national polls were relatively accurate, but the
competitive state polls often were not, something I repeatedly
noted BEFORE election day. National polls are still being
published, but this cycle, the emphasis is on state polls (as it
should be).

So are the state polls accurate?

They might be, but the non-polling evidence-on-the-ground
seems to dispute this in many of the competitive states in
the midwest and south. The pandemic, violent urban
unrest, the economy, and now, a U.S. supreme court vacancy,
each appear to complicate any election predictions.

The only surprise left, it seems, would be if there were no
more surprises.

The biggest known possible vote-changing events ahead are
the presidential debates, especially the first one. These
debates could provide Mr. Trump or Mr. Biden with some
critical closing momentum.

On the other hand, one or more political surprises could 
also happen, and change the outcome.

Stranger than fiction or fantasy, you could not have made
2020 up before it happened.

Copyright (c) 2020 by Barry Casselman. All rights reserved.


1 comment:

  1. I just signed up (subscribed) to your blog, Barry, after hearing you many times on Silvio Canto's Canto Talk.