Over the past week, we've given Trump fans a few rays of hope by covering polling data and methodologies from Trafalgar and USC that suggest another upset win could be in the offing. Biden remains the obvious frontrunner down the home stretch, having an overwhelming chance of winning the "popular vote," which translates into multiple paths to an electoral college majority (more on that below). But pollster Kristen Soltis Anderson, a skeptic of the president's re-election odds, posted a Twitter thread yesterday explaining that this election's range of genuine possibilities is quite wide. The bad news for Team MAGA is that Biden is ahead, and could end up dominating. The better news, she writes, is that even if some results fall within current polling margins of error in battlegrounds, the president has a slim but realistic avenue to victory:
Current polling averages in the Sun Belt states - FL, NC, AZ, TX, GA - all have Trump in striking distance. They are tied or within just a point or two. Not enough for me to say confidently which way they'll go. If they all go Trump, that's ALMOST enough...— Kristen Soltis Anderson (@KSoltisAnderson) October 29, 2020
There's a scenario where the map looks like this. And this scenario DOES NOT REQUIRE THE POLLS TO BE WRONG. pic.twitter.com/CZuREaQRoz— Kristen Soltis Anderson (@KSoltisAnderson) October 29, 2020
In conclusion: pic.twitter.com/7v0KpciFHU— Kristen Soltis Anderson (@KSoltisAnderson) October 29, 2020
If Trump slightly over-performs the polling averages across multiple states, as he did in 2016, he'll be right in the mix, with a real shot of pulling it off. However, if he slightly under-performs this year, he could get absolutely blown out on the electoral map. And there are factors at play that make solid predictions in either direction quite precarious: The pandemic effect, the new voters effect (which often benefits Democrats, though Republicans have done Yeoman's work on this front in key states ahead of 2020), and just the whopping, unprecedented turnout in general:
Morning update: Texas just surpassed 95% of its 2016 total votes cast w/ two days of early voting & Election Day left to go. We're just headed for a massive, unprecedented turnout there (and a lot of other places).— Dave Wasserman (@Redistrict) October 29, 2020
Analyst Josh Kraushaar, who was more perceptive about Trump's chances against Hillary Clinton, looks at the political environment and believes the dominoes will fall mostly against the incumbent, leading to a lopsided outcome:
My new column: Predicting the presidential race, state by state — and why 2020 isn’t at all like 2016:https://t.co/XdwPtNq3lY— Josh Kraushaar (@HotlineJosh) October 28, 2020
My final electoral scorecard: 340 electoral votes for Biden, to 198 for Trump. It will be a historic triumph for Biden, but just shy of the landslide that Barack Obama rode in the 2008 election. It will be a significant enough victory for Biden to claim a mandate, but not quite large enough for him to get his agenda passed without compromise.
Click through and read how he reached that conclusion. It's entirely plausible. I'm tempted to say it's even bordering on probable, but there are enough X-factors floating around that I'm not willing to edge out onto that limb. This is the biggest reason why I'd put the odds of a Biden blowout at least on par with those of a Trump upset:
Feel like a broken record on this but stop looking at the margin between Trump and Biden and focus instead on Trump vote share. In both WI and PA he has been stuck at 44-45% for MONTHS. That’s the issue.— amy walter (@amyewalter) October 28, 2020
And it's not just WI and PA, either. To KSA's point above, even if Trump sweeps all the close sunbelt states, he still needs more electoral votes from somewhere, and Biden is running stronger in the upper Midwest than Clinton did. A few intriguing notes: Is the Trump campaign visiting Minnesota again for good reason? And is Nevada less of a blue lock than people assume? Will the Philadelphia rioting and looting make a late impact in that state? Does the monster economic growth number and related good news help Trump close the deal with some last-minute deciders? I'll leave you with this:
As we get closer to E-night it’s important to remember that due to the high volume of mail voting caused by the pandemic, some swing states (particularly WI, MI, PA) will take longer to count their votes, while states like FL, AZ, NC, GA will count quickly https://t.co/47BSTGMVS7— Alicia Smith (@Alicia_Smith19) October 29, 2020
Four days. Vote.