With 30 days to go, here is the state of the race and my thoughts. From now on every 10 days, I will combine these posts with the four upcoming elections (New Zealand, British Columbia, Saskatchewan, and US) although in first and third only if major news. Since nothing major in those two, will skip an update on those this time.
In BC, there have been a few more polls out and all show NDP solidly ahead. At this point barring some major change, I am pretty confidence Horgan will get his majority even if he doesn’t deserve one. At the same time I won’t be upset if Wilkinson loses, especially with his ill conceived PST cut. I have never been a keen supporter of him and while I still plan to vote BC Liberal, I don’t plan to campaign or donate to them. My real hope is Michael Lee and Ellis Ross both hang onto their seats as both would be great potential leaders to help lead party to victory in 2024. I hope that focus is on ensuring rookies from 2017 as well as open seats are held so party has some new blood that was not part of past administration and thus can lead to the true renewal it needs. I also think social conservatives like Laurie Thorness need to be booted out. Unlike in 2001, attitudes have changed and on abortion and gay marriage, idea it is a free vote or we tolerate diversity of viewpoints is woefully out of date. It should be now anyone who is not fully support of LGBT rights is not welcome in party. Society has moved on and those who cannot adapt need to be purged from mainstream parties. The same applies to federal Tories as well.
In US, there is the term October surprise and in 2016 it was the Comey bombshell on re-opening into Hillary Clinton’s e-mails. It seems the October surprise has already come with Trump catching COVID-19. As much as I despise him politically, I would not wish ill on anyone, not even my worse political opponents. Still hopefully this is a wake up call to start taking virus seriously. Fact he has taken it as a joke is very worrisome and cannot say I am surprised he has contracted it. Still knowing Trump, I somehow doubt this health scare will cause him to change. Still may have to hold next debates virtually or postpone them. Likewise with a number of senators coming down with it, could throw a wrench in getting Amy Coney Barrett nominated before election day. I believe that if she is not nominated before then, GOP has no choice but to wait until we know who has won the election before proceeding. Only if Trump gets re-elected should they be allowed to proceed in lame duck session. If he loses or GOP loses senate, they have no choice but to withdraw her and start over in the new year once next president and senate is sworn in. Off course considering how morally bankrupt party is, I don’t expect them to do this. However, Biden should pack the court if they try this, but if they don’t, then don’t pack it.
In terms of where race stands at, polls are fairly stable and seems to me with so few undecided voters compared to 2016, less likely to see a big surprise. Below is my summary of where things are first for president and then senate.
Clinton 2016 states that could flip: Minnesota, Nevada, and New Hampshire. Those are only Clinton states from 2016 Trump even has a remote chance of winning. And at this point the odds are quite low and getting lower as election day gets closer. Below in brackets I give electoral college for each if that is all that flips assuming it goes in order listed. I put Nebraska 02 in between Pennsylvania and Arizona, while Maine 02 in between North Carolina and Ohio.
Below is ranking of swing states in order of likelihood to flip. (306 Trump to 232 Biden if nothing flips)
Michigan (290-248 for Trump): Biden has a steady lead here and of all the states Trump won in 2016, this is the one I am most competent Biden will flip. Not 100% sure, but Biden heavily favoured
Wisconsin (280-258 for Trump): At beginning of year, this was the one blue wall state Trump won I predicted he would hold. With polls all showing Biden with more than 5 point lead, it looks very likely Biden will flip this, but still potential for late swing. But Trump will need a late swing if he is to even have a faint hope of winning here.
Pennsylvania (278-260 for Biden): We saw some tightening here earlier, but now Biden once again clearly ahead. Nonetheless unlike Wisconsin, Pennsylvania is a lot more polarized so Biden may have a narrow win but at this point he is without question the clear favourite.
Arizona (290-248 for Biden): Biden is definitely the frontrunner here and only way I can see Trump holding this is if Hispanic turnout is low, which is always a risk.
Florida (319-219 for Biden): If there is one prediction you can safely make about Florida, its that it will be close. State is quite polarized and pretty split down the middle. Still most polls show Biden slightly ahead but it is close enough that the few undecided as well as turnout could be key here. My guess is Biden wins it by 2 points. I believe Biden has a 60% chance of flipping the state, but Trump still has a 40% chance of holding it so definitely still in play.
North Carolina (334-204 for Biden): Unlike other states, this has been remarkably stable. Since January, almost all polls show lead within margin of error although more show Biden ahead than Trump. If I had to make a guess, I would say Biden wins it but this is going to come down to turnout. Poor turnout and Trump holds it as this state has a large white Evangelical population who will vote heavily for Trump and are very motivated to show up. High turnout favours Biden as that means African-Americans and millennials showed up in decent numbers. Getting those two out will be key for Biden to win here.
Ohio (353-185 for Biden): Far less polling here but very close. This was a swing state prior to 2016, but then in 2016 swung heavily for Trump who won by 8 points despite losing popular vote by 2 points. I think the days of Ohio being a bellwether are over, but that doesn’t mean Democrats cannot win it under right conditions. It simply means Republicans will outperform national #’s and Democrats underperform. I don’t see state going way Missouri as it still is fairly urban and has an African-American population close to national average. However with loss of many blue collar whites, Democrat path to winning here will be heavily predicated on winning over traditional college educated whites in Columbus and Cincinnati metro area. Right now it’s a tossup, but if I had to pick a winner, I would say Trump by a nose. Still Biden doesn’t need to win here, to win White House whereas Trump does.
Georgia (369-169 for Biden): State is definitely trending blue thanks to almost all the growth in the Atlanta metro area which is becoming less white and more educated. Still outside Atlanta metro area, state is deeply racially polarized like much of Deep South so I give Trump a very narrow edge, but Biden definitely could win here. Turnout much like North Carolina is key so higher turnout is; better Biden’s chances are. Lower turnout is, more likely Trump holds this. Still Biden doesn’t need to win Georgia to win White House, whereas Trump does.
Iowa (375-163 for Biden): State is very rural and white which outside New England usually means Republican. Nonetheless voters here are more swingy and Trump’s trade wars have hurt agriculture which is a big component of state’s economy. I don’t think Biden will win nearly as many rural counties as Obama did, but I do believe he will outperform Obama in urban counties. Big problem is unlike most states, more live in rural than urban counties. So my guess is Trump still narrowly holds this, but closer than 2016.
Texas (413-125 for Biden): If Trump loses Texas, its game over. And state is trending leftward meaning I believe there is a very high probability Democrats win it in next decade. Still I don’t think it is there quite yet thus why I still think Trump will win state, but probably only 2-4 points which in this normally solid red state should be very worrisome for Republicans. Bush got around 70% in suburbs in 2004, while since then they have become a lot more competitive both due to being less white, but also many have college degrees thus even amongst whites Trump is doing worse than Bush did. Biggest factor Trump has in his favour is in rural Texas, where he is getting over 80% in most counties so his blowouts there will probably much like with Ted Cruz in midterms allowing him to narrowly hold the state. But with most of the growth being in the metropolitan areas, this will only work in short term, not long term.
Maine and Nebraska: Those two states split their electoral votes so at this point in Nebraska Trump will almost certainly get 4 of the 5 electoral votes, but Biden is favoured to win one as Nebraska 02 is Omaha metro area which is more than 25% non-white and 100% urban which are both demographics Republicans struggle with. For Maine, Biden should win 3 of the 4 electoral votes. Maine 02 went solidly for Obama, but swung hard to Trump in 2016. Trump should outperform Romney 2012 in this district while Biden outperform Clinton 2016. But whether it is a narrow Trump or Biden win, tough to say.
Long shots: Alaska, Montana, and South Carolina are all ones if Biden gets in double digits nationally he has a shot at, but they are very long shots. They will probably be closer than Republicans would like, but would be shocked if Biden actually pulls off any of those.
To flip senate Democrats first have to hold they seats they already hold. Alabama and Michigan are only two I could possibly see Republicans flipping. First one is extremely likely, while latter is possible but unlikely. So with that it is at 54-46 for Republicans. Democrats need to flip 4 seats if they win White House, 5 if not so below is a summary of where things are at.
Colorado: With Biden likely winning state by double digits, this is pretty much almost certain to flip.
Arizona: Most polls show Mark Kelly polling slightly ahead of Biden and Martha McSally slightly behind Trump, so also likely to flip. This could be key in supreme court nomination since this is a special not regular election meaning winner gets sworn in, in November.
Maine: While Biden looks pretty safe in state as whole, senate is lean Democrat at this point. Susan Collins is a moderate and thus why got lots of crossover votes in past, but she has voted with Trump too many times thus her maverick moderate image is not as strong as in past. I think Democrats have edge here, but Collins will outperform Trump. Whether its enough to hold state or not, hard to say, but my guess is no.
North Carolina: Polls have consistently showed Democrats in senate race outperforming Biden, thus until yesterday looked very likely it would flip. But then news broke Democrat candidate Cunningham was flirting with another woman while married. Whether this changes the race or not, too soon to tell.
Iowa: This is truly a tossup and all polls consistently show Ernst running two points behind Trump. As such, if Biden wins state or Trump carries it by under 2%, then I believe Democrats flip it. But if Trump wins it by more than 2 points, then I believe it stays Republican.
Montana: Stephen Bullock is a very popular governor and if this were a midterm, I would say Democrats favoured. But since this is a presidential election and many vote a straight ticket, that should help Republicans. I am guessing Bullock will run 7 points ahead of Biden, so if Trump wins state by less than that, Bullock prevails. If more than that, Republicans do.
Georgia: Has two senate elections, one special and one regular. While Democrats could win either, I give Republicans the edge. Problem here is Georgia law states if no one gets over 50%, it goes to a run off. I wouldn’t be surprised if Democrats in regular come in first on election day, but unless Ossoff breaks 50% which is unlikely, it goes to a runoff. Runoffs have always had much lower turnout thus why Republicans usually win them. In fact Republicans put this rule in place precisely to improve their odds. Therefore my guess is Republicans hold both.
South Carolina: Polls suggest Lindsey Graham is in a bit of trouble. He is underperforming Trump thus if election has record African-American turnout, I believe there is a chance he loses. And with his hypocrisy of criticizing Trump before becoming nominee but now marching in lock step, he deserves to lose. But considering Republican strength in state, my guess is he gets a good scare, but still manages to narrowly hang on.
Texas: Cornyn in every poll is outperforming Trump and is a lot more popular than Ted Cruz, so I don’t even consider this to be in play.
Alaska: Not much polling here and Democrat candidate is fiercely independent which bodes well in this state that mistrusts Washington insiders. Still its strong Republican lean makes me believe it will stay Republican but with lack of polling tough to know.
Overall, I think there is a 60% chance Democrats gain senate, but 40% it stays Republican. Good news is with a favorable map in 2022, if Democrats win White House and win at least 52 senate seats; they will likely hold the senate until at least 2024.