Biden in the Driver’s Seat
The Economist gives Joe Biden an 83% chance to win the Electoral College.
The elections forecast team at The Economist finds Joe Biden almost certain to win the popular vote and very, very likely to win enough Electoral College votes to win the presidency.
Unlike the national polling averages by 538 and RealClearPolitics, their model “combines state and national polls with economic indicators to predict a range of outcomes.”
The current projected ranges:
That there’s still a 17% chance of Trump winning is frankly, bizarre, given how steady his disapproval ratings have been—and that was before the pandemic, economic collapse, and mass demonstrations in the streets. But that’s because so many states are up for grabs this year, at least according to their model:
- New Hampshire
- North Carolina
But the fact that Georgia and Texas are actually in play would seem very, very bad news for Trump.
While there’s many a slip ‘twixt cup and lip, right now, if Biden carries the three “blue wall” states Clinton lost in 2016, he’s got the election. I really don’t see him losing any of the states she carried last time around. While Texas is a long shot, FL, AZ, NC, perhaps even GA may be in play this fall. It could be an Electoral College blowout.
Great now we just need complacency to set in and everything will be set.
I still think part of what caused Hillary’s loss was the “inevitability” of her win. Definitely worried about that being a problem.
@Matt: Eh, what caused her fundamental loss was her deep and baked in unpopularity particularly in the dominant voting demographics in those infamous ‘swing states’ (contre perhaps the states like California, New York, etc).
Of course the disbelief in certain circles Trump could win doubtless helped under-focus on those Mid-Western/Atlantic states.
@SC_Birdflyte: Do not count on winning them but so long as Biden addresses them in a fluent way unlike Madame Clinton, then he is likely but not certain to win them.
Covid-19, BLM, and four years of DJT will mean that complacency is unlikely, IMO.
(And what @TheLounsbury said).
What I worry about are election day debacles like the GA primary this week.
Skullduggery is a greater concern than complacency. Selective polling place closures “due to COVID-19,” legal challenges to new mail-in voting, and some wholly made up October Surprise are all likely this election.
@Steven L. Taylor:
What I worry about is sleepy Joe aka his age. In some news clip of Biden speaking about a week ago he looked in bad need of a nap.
@TheLounsbury: More like Hillary’s inevitability depressed turnout in three states slightly which was enough to cause he to lose despite winning the popular vote. Anecdotal evidence from friends and family in those areas followed that pattern. Why bother standing in line when you know she’s going to win your state anyway? Down here as I stood in line I thought “why am I standing in line when I know she won’t take this state”…In my defense it was pushing 100f here and the line wasn’t moving very fast. I ended up staying for the down ticket votes.
Personally I think a whole lot of factors played into this including her unpopularity due to decades of attacks on her and her husband’s everything.
Fair enough about Covid blm and all that providing motivation. Just have to make sure polling places aren’t being closed in specifically targeted Democratic areas and all the usual GOP election ratfckery. By the time the election date rolls around I fully expect the GOP to be arguing that mail in ballots are really a form of voter suppression.
I reiterate: count no one happy until they are dead.
I know they put Nevada on that list because of the 2016 results (Clinton narrowly). How they can keep it there looking at the state after the 2018 elections puzzles me: Democrats hold 3 of 4 US House seats, both US Senate seats, the governor’s office, the AG’s office, and majorities in both chambers of the state legislature. By initiative — which I assert you need to look at in western states — 2018 voters added a 50% renewable electricity by 2030 requirement and automatic voter registration at the DMV. This is not a state that is “up for grabs” for Trump.
@Matt: it really does boggle my mind how quickly all the Trumpers adopted the new opinion that mail-in voting is all fraudulent.
@Michael Cain: Nevada also has a strong recent history of underestimating Dems in polls. One of the biggest upsets of modern times was Harry Reid’s victory over Sharron Angle in 2010 by a 5-point margin after nearly all the polls had shown her winning comfortably. Since that time, Dems have outperformed the polls there pretty consistently. When Dean Heller was reelected in 2012, it was by a narrower margin than the polls had indicated; when he finally lost in 2018, the Dem outperformed her RCP average by 5 points. Nevada was the one state Hillary won despite RCP showing Trump in the lead. In other words, it was the mirror image of WI, MI, and PA. The apparent reason for all this is a systemic underrepresentation of Hispanics in polls.
Do not underestimate LeBron James’ new group that will focus on voter outreach and turnout. If African Americans come to the polls in Obama like numbers, it could be what flips the Senate. You have people like Snoop Dog saying he’s going to vote for the first time in his life. Pure anecdote, but he can’t be the only one.
And I think Biden’sl campaign has been masterful so far. I expect him to name Harris as VP within a few weeks, and then we’re off to the races.
The moment you referred to Joe Biden as “sleepy Joe” no one took what you had to say seriously.
It is as juvenile as folks who would refer to Obama as Obummer or some other silly name and then expect folks to engage in a productive conversation with them.
Please do not do this, and in fairness I would also ask folks not to refer to President Trump as Drumpf, or a similar silly way to refer to President Trump.
I will cut a comedian some slack in trying to make fun of President Trump or Joe Biden but Bill, unless you are a comedian stick to saying Biden or Joe Biden when talking about the ex VP running for President.
Bill…you are the same Bill who writes ebooks, and all that right? Sorry if my post comes off a bit harsh but your post almost sounded like something a hit and run right wing troll might post in this site. President Trump has been trying to get his juvenile nick-name for Biden to stick but it has not really caught on and I do not feel that anyone should encourage the continued use of the nick-name. I was honest when I said that folks who posts things like Obummer, Drumpf, etc., drive me nuts because I feel it dilutes any point they are trying to make.
Anyway, it is all hugs between us.
@EddieInCA: Very hopeful on this one. It is accepted that Trump’s base will come out in droves. What does not seem to be accepted is that the converse might be true. More than 50% of the country does not like Trump, and many of those loathe him. I hope to see POC, especially blacks, come out in droves to vote against Trump.
Just as an aside, my brother is a doctor in a very wealthy part of New Jersey. He has colleagues who have never voted for a Democrat who are anxious to vote against Trump, and a few are specifically voting based on his response to Covid-19. My brother thinks they can put up with Trump’s racism, but the idea that he doesn’t listen to doctors is something they just can’t stomach. My brother always said you could always tell which male doctors in NJ were Jewish. They were the ones who voted for Democrats (full disclosure – we are Jewish).
You’re quite right, and ordinarily I never refer to people by infantile nicknames, but in the case of Trump…I’m sorry, but my loathing for the man is so intense, so undiluted, that I get satisfaction out of calling him President Lardass or Mangolini.
I think Drumpf is the original family name.
@Bill: Here is Biden on The Daily Show last night… doesn’t look sleepy in any way.
Wonkette called him President Klan Robes And I’m cool with that.
I wanted Harris for the top of the ticket for a long while last fall, so no argument there.
But, I’ve been warming to the arguments for Val Demings as of late. As a shore-up-the ticket or next-in-line-for-president running mate, she has shortcomings. But, imagine Biden giving her one of those hands-on VP roles as Czar for Police Reform. Former big city police chief who’s also a female African-American drives real change in US criminal justice system – that’s an epic story for the times we are in.
I wondered what others thought.
I’m not sure I’ve ever used a silly name for any living politician other than Trump. But I make an exception for him. I’m not saying it’s part of some conscious decision I’ve made; I don’t believe I’ve even thought about why I do it until this moment. I do it practically without thinking: I’ve called him the Orangefuhrer, Combover Christ, and more. There’s just something cathartic about doing to Trump what he’s done to so many others. He’s the ultimate example of the thin-skinned bully who can dish it out but not take it. He’s such a ridiculous cartoon of a human being, he’s just asking for it. That’s why, for example, I’ve seen political cartoons that depict him with tiny hands. Nobody would give a fck about his hands apart from the fact that he made a big deal about his hand size ever since one humor writer called him a short-fingered vulgarian back in the 1980s. There’s just such a temptation to troll the troll. And really, we’ve got the most horrible piece of human garbage ever to grace the Oval Office and you’re worried about people handing him childish taunts just as he does to others, only ours are more clever? I think we should be allowed our fun in these trying times.
@Scott F.: “I wondered what others thought.”
I don’t know if she’s the right pick, but man I’d love to watch the debate between her and Pence.
Keisha Lance Bottoms wouldn’t be a bad choice, either.
I’m not sure if you’re referring to Harris or Demings, but to me one of the biggest selling points for Harris is her debating skills. I don’t mean in the snotty college-debate sense, I mean she’s tough as steel, a result of her prosecutorial background. Look at the way she grabbed Bill Barr by the balls. Even her scuffle with Biden during the debates, which turned out to have not much substance behind it (and substance is my biggest issue with her), showed that she’s good at that sort of thing, fair or not. I’m still burnt by memories of Tim Kaine getting his ass handed to him by Pence in 2016. It was all lies, but it was convincing, because Pence was smooth and calm, and he made Kaine sound unhinged and hysterical. Kamala would never allow that to happen.
Instead of referring back to 2016, I’m casting back to early 1991.
Withe the Gulf War won decisively, in a short time, and with minimal US casualties, Bush the elder was riding so high, his reelection seemed both obvious and inevitable.(*)
We know what happened next, so i won’t rehash it. But the point is that one ought not to trust the present moment to carry over to the future. Often it does, even in politics, perhaps even most of the time, but sometimes it doesn’t.
The election is Biden’s to lose, yes, but that only means he can lose.
(*) perhaps of Bush the elder had won reelection, Trump would never have been elected. Consider Clinton, having lost, wouldn’t be likely to have tried again in 96 or to have won the nomination if he had tried. Likewise Bush the younger might not have been elected in 2000 or 2004. It might be a fun AH to explore; the period is very well documented.
@Kathy: 2016 will invariably be the elephant in the room in all these discussions, and it makes it nearly impossible for anyone to make definitive predictions about a Biden win without sounding naive or complacent. That said, one problem with your analogy is that it covers a much longer period than we’re dealing with. Yes, Bush had sky-high approval ratings in the aftermath of Desert Storm (which evidently kept a lot of big names like Mario Cuomo and Al Gore from entering the race–yet another angle for alternate-history buffs), but those ratings had crashed by the beginning of 1992 and remained underwater for the rest of the year, spurred by rising unemployment as a result of a recent recession.
Also, Biden’s poll numbers are better now than Hillary’s were at the same point in 2016, and they’re often above 50%, something Hillary rarely achieved.
@Kylopod: Yep. I think the national and East Coast pundits are missing out on Arizona making the same sort of dramatic transition this year. The most recent poll well-rated by FiveThirtyEight has Kelly up +13 for the US Senate seat and Biden up +4. Big shake-ups in the state legislature are also not out of the question. For years it’s been “The Southwest would be a different place if Hispanics voted at the same rate as other minorities.” Seems to finally be happening.
The Census Bureau divides the country into four principle regions. There aren’t a lot of people who can tell you that the West delivered more EC votes for Clinton than any of the other three. Even if you shift Virginia, Maryland and Delaware from the CB’s South into the northeast urban corridor as I do, the West was still a very close second.
I am no right wing troll. During my blogging days I have been called a moonbat by Michelle Malkin and a right wing nut by someone at Daily Kos, plus middle of the road by Florida political blogger Jim Johnson. I’ve twice contributed pieces to this website and used to write at OTB Sports.
For six months at least I’ve voiced my concerns with Biden. His judgment on many important matters has been poor. Biden has also shown a serious lack of energy during his campaign and I’m not the only commenter here who has said that. Put it more simply- He looks like a 77 year old going on 82 at least.
Being President is a demanding job for a healthy young person. Add this up, if I can see these flaws other voters will see them too.
The economy is a wreck right now. I also been saying unless the economy tanks, Trump was likely to be re-elected. So the economy has tanked, but the Democrats have a flawed nominee that could end up losing what so many think is a sure thing right now. What about the polls? Polls had Trump losing in 2016. We know what happened.
My wife of 31 years has a saying and it applies. “Don’t tell me what to do, I’m not a kindergarten.”
Just because this really important to note: the polls in 2016 were pretty accurate, especially at the national level.
Some of the predictions that were made were off, but the numbers themselves were pretty solid.
I am going to ignore your reply about not being a kindergarten and just state that I appreciate that you articulated your concerns about Biden while everyone else seems to be getting slightly over their skis in assuming he will be our next President.
I share some similar concerns that we are not paying all that much attention to Joe Biden’s actual age and that ultimately voters might think to themselves that hey President Trump is also old but if he needs to step down someone much younger than Joe Biden is ready to take over (Pence) so they will keep Trump in place for another 4 years thinking he may not close out the second term.
The problem with this line of thought is that there is the very real possibility that President Trump never steps down because unless McConnell grows a spine and actually votes to remove him from office, or a major health issue flares up (a stroke, major heart attack) President Trump is not going anywhere.
At that point we will be a banana republic that just happens to have an unusually high amount of mega-rich folks living in this country (well slightly less rich at that point as the stock market craters, but the mega-rich can weather a sustained stock market crash).
Of course, voters could also end up being excited by Biden’s VP pick and feel comfortable in the knowledge that if he has to step down that a competent VP is ready to take up the reins.
At least we are now slightly less than 5 months before the election and hopefully time flies by this summer. Any longer a wait to attempt to vote in a new President would just be interminable.
It’s all about turnout now, less for POTUS, more for the Senate.
This election won’t be about Biden, it will be about Trump. In the last few weeks we’ve seen what amounts to a national, and indeed international, gag reflex. Faced with what Trump really is, most Americans, most people around the world outside of our enemies, have vomited him up like the rancid piece of ham that he is.
@Steven L. Taylor:
How about this poll taken two weeks before the election
According to that poll, Hillary had a double digit lead. That sounds awfully familiar concerning Biden right now.
In the aftermath of Trump’s victory, pieces like this were written
Where did the pollsters go wrong they ask.
@Bill: You are citing one poll, I am citing the totality of polling, especially as we got towards election day. It showed HRC winning the popular vote and quite close to the actual margins. The narrative that the polling was all wrong in 2016 is simply incorrect. That is a factual, empirically verifiable statement.
Just look at the RCP average.
Most of the “what did the polling get wrong?” media narrative was really a conflation of “polling” with “predictive models” (especially several that predicted a ~98% chance that HRC would win, which was dumb, TBH).
538 had Trump with a 28.6% chance to win. The fact that people have a hard time understanding probability doesn’t mean that that wasn’t a legitimate chance of winning.
Heck, a .286 batting average is considered quite good in the MLB.
BTW, that is one shoddy article. The answer to headline question is: not that much and the first line (“Pollsters flubbed the 2016 presidential election in seismic fashion”) is simply not true.
The problem wasn’t the polling (save, perhaps, the lack of decent state-level polling in some states), it was a combo of people a) not understanding the EC, b) people not understanding things like MOE and probability, and c) conflating, as already stated, polling and predictive models.
@Steven L. Taylor:
Really? Let me give you a couple of quotes-
Who am I quoting?
Doug Mataconis at OTB. The post can be found here.
@Kylopod: In my lifetime the low point of Democratic VP debaters had to be Lieberman. He so obviously had a man-crush on his opponent, Dick Cheney, that he never challenged him on a single thing. Cheney led him around the stage like a poodle. I didn’t know much about him before that but followed him afterward. What a pathetic cool-kid wannabee. I moved to CT in 2009 and the thing I was most excited about was voting against him. Unfortunately, he chose not to run for re-election.
What on earth gives you the impression that it’s up to McConnell? If Trump refuses to leave after losing, then (as Biden said) the military would escort him out.
I have voiced concerns about Trump managing to get a narrow election defeat overturned by getting the right-wing courts to accept bogus arguments about voter fraud–or, more likely, figuring out how to suppress the vote (I could definitely see SCOTUS restricting vote-by-mail before the election) so that Dems have a harder time winning in the first place. But there is simply no remotely plausible scenario in which Trump manages to stay in power after losing in a landslide.
We have enough real things to worry about without coming up with imaginary ones.
@MarkedMan: I think Cheney also made mincemeat of John Edwards, four years later. One difference, though, is that Cheney is profoundly unlikable. He was consistently unpopular throughout Bush’s presidency. So I’m not sure his steamrolling over Lieberman and Edwards really made much of a difference at all. Pence may not be the most charismatic guy in the world, but he isn’t anywhere near as off-putting as Cheney.
@Bill: A lot of people, including the USAT article, made a lot of claims that were wrong. I keep using the word “narrative” rather purposefully.
And you aren’t addressing the numbers.
Let me try one more time:
The final official tally for the election: HRC won 48.18% and Trump, 46.09%
The final RCP average was HRC 46.8% and Trump 43.6%
The variation for each is less than 3 percentage points.
Instead of Googling for things to support your position, could you address the direct evidence I am providing?
I’m not going to dive into the history of the 2016 polls but my recollection is that they were not very favorable to Clinton at all. I got it wrong, believing Clinton would win in the end, but for the whole summer and fall worried constantly about the poll results. I remember feeling very Cassandra-like, pointing out over and over that Clinton never got above a 50% favorability rating and that was very bad for someone who was such a known quantity. And I also remember fretting about the fact that she was up only by single digits up to the very end and in my experience racists always outperform polls by 3-4%.
@Kylopod: Cheney didn’t move into the truly unlikeable-on-a -mass scale until we were into the WoT/Iraq War stuff.
@Scott F.: To the extent the VP is useful, doubling down on Bi-Coastal seems rather the error, for a Party that is struggling with “flyover country” and must win those votes for the Electoral College.
Doug was empirically wrong, btw, about defying every poll.
That was an at-the-moment snap assessment that doesn’t hold up.
The polls in 2016 were actually quite good at predicting the popular vote. Remember that Hillary won the popular vote by three million. What the polls missed – cause it wasn’t what they were looking at – was the electoral college votes. Trump won because of 78,000 votes spread across three states. A fluke of our bizarre system.
Bizarre system, indeed.
Indeed–and I will readily allow the polling in MI, WI, and PA was inadequate (at least, IIRC, there weren’t many polls in those states, especially WI–or they stopped polling too early).
“Bi-coastal” suggests a regional model that hasn’t really been determinative since Clinton was able to win with Gore as his running mate. What’s the Dem VP candidate going to give “flyover country” that white, moderate, male, Regular-Joe Biden doesn’t already deliver – with his address in Pennsylvania neighboring Delaware?
Doubling down on white moderate seems rather the error to me – completely tone-deaf to the moment in history this country finds itself in right now. Trump is unrelentingly unpopular, while his party’s inability to stand against his corruption and authoritarianism has exposed the principles of Republicanism to be a sham. On the other hand, people are marching in the streets demanding big change.
Yes, the popular vote is not the game and it come down to the Electoral College in a few key states again, but have you noticed that Governor Whitmer is much more popular in Michigan than the Trumpkins who cos-played as armed militia at the statehouse? And as James notes, Georgia and Texas are in play. The timidity strikes me as unwarranted.
@MarkedMan: To toot my own horn once again, six days before the election at Jonathan Bernstein’s blog, I presented a scenario on how Trump could win that ended up surprising even me in how horribly prescient it turned out to be:
@Bill: You’re absolutely right! No one expected the 28% chance to come in. Also, no one ever expects lightning to strike twice–but it does, too.
Now, go back to letting people have whatever fantasies they prefer. In the time of
choleraCovid-19, it’s all most of them have. You can gloat/commiserate/cheer with them, as you prefer, in November.
And do stay healthy as much as you can.
I’ll take that bet. Gorsuch won’t side with something that screws up the extremely popular vote-by-mail system in Colorado, because he doesn’t want people spitting at him when he visits his family here. A similar thing happened in Arizona v. Arizona a few years back. No way was Kennedy, a California boy, going to join an opinion that screwed with initiative-based election laws.
The one thing in the universe that Justice Thomas and I agree on is the dangers of having a SCOTUS all of whose members lived all of their adult lives between Boston and Washington, DC.
@inhumans99: “I share some similar concerns that we are not paying all that much attention to Joe Biden’s actual age and that ultimately voters might think to themselves that hey President Trump is also old but if he needs to step down someone much younger than Joe Biden is ready to take over (Pence) so they will keep Trump in place for another 4 years thinking he may not close out the second term.”
Couple things: First, just about no one who thinks Trump has to go thinks it’s because he’s too old for the job and that only if he were a younger narcissistic crook with fascist tendencies we’d be better off.
And people who want vote Trump out aren’t worried about Biden’s age because there is no third alternative at this point. The nomination is Biden’s.
And finally, as MR keeps saying, this election is not about Biden, it’s about Trump. My guess is that Biden would do just as well or maybe better if he died a week before the election.
@Steven L. Taylor:
By my memory, Nate Silver published approximately 3,858 pieces patiently explaining “Our model shows that Trump has around a 30% chance of winning, which means he would win about one out of every three election scenarios, which means HE HAS A REALLY GOOD CHANCE OF WINNING.”
He did it more eloquently than my summation.
The problem, as you already pointed out, is that people confuse punditry, polling analyses, popular vote polling, state polling, and the Electoral College. To be fair to those people, our system is a confusing sh!tshow.
@Scott F.: I agree with you and would take it a step farther: Biden is a very Mid-Western candidate. Sure, PA and certainly DE aren’t the Midwest but that doesn’t matter. His calmness. His honest demeanor. His willingness to stand for things without being an a*hole about it. When he does anger it is about injustices to others or, very occasionally, aspersions on his family, never about himself.
One of the things that he gets a lot of grief for is his constant references to Obama. But even that is a Mid-Western in a way. Contrast it to a Bloomberg or a DiBlasio or a Christie, who are the ultimate North-Easterners. Every fifth word out of their mouths is “I”. When they occasionally throw in a “We” it is always some vague, undefined We, and usually carries an implication that it was their staff and that they are crediting them only as a formality.
The uber-Mid-Western story would go something like “Well, there was a town meeting and we all agreed something had to be done, but everyone was busy so I stood up and said, “Well, I guess it’s my turn.” “Then Mike, the one who runs a plumbing franchise on the east side, said we should build it this way, and at first I just couldn’t see the sense so I said no, but darned if he didn’t bring me around and, Man! He was right! We built that thing and it’s lasted all these years and I don’t mind saying I think we did a pretty decent job of it.”
Can you imagine those words coming out of , say, Ed Koch’s mouth? Or even AOC? But you know who talks like that? Joe Biden. Or at least he used to until he learned that every time he mentions working with someone he disagreed with his own base has a case of the vapors.
@Kylopod: Actually, the fact there was a
gives the lie to the Retcon that no-one thought Hillary was going to lose. HuffPost isn’t exactly known for their deep thinking.
(BTW, do they still exist?)
A few days before the election 538 ran an article (written by Harry Enten) titled “Trump is just a normal polling error behind Clinton.”
The differences are manifold, most notably that Bush the Elder had he misfortune to have a recession hit as he was up for re-election. A much bigger one has befallen Trump, at least partly of his own making.
@Steven L. Taylor:
Yes. I’m not sure what, if anything, I posted at the time but I’m sure I shared the initial consensus that the outcome was a shock. But it because pretty clear that the polls got the basics right, they just didn’t predict the outcomes in three marginal states with little data very well.
[EDIT: My two post-mortem posts have held up reasonably well, actually:
Random Observations on Trump’s Election
The ‘Popular Vote’ is Irrelevant]
Yes. But, mostly we just don’t poll states very well because it’s incredibly more expensive than getting 1500-odd national responses.
@TheLounsbury: “To the extent the VP is useful, doubling down on Bi-Coastal seems rather the error, for a Party that is struggling with “flyover country” and must win those votes for the Electoral College.”
This feels like a keen analysis of American politics circa 1992. Things have changed a lot in the last three decades. You should check them out!
Yes, that’s precisely the point: no matter how high you’re riding or what you’ve accomplished, you can always fall down.
There was much more time from early 1991 to November 1992, true. But there’s lots of time between now and the election as well. If you believe some analysts, pro and amateur alike, Hillary Clinton lost due to Comey’s letter in the last days of the campaign. Biden has ample and numerous opportunities to blow it yet.
Back in 1991, there was a humor piece in TIME advising the Democratic Party to nominate George H. W. Bush for president, but someone else for vice-president, as that would be their best chance to win the election (Dan Quayle was not popular). Absurd, of course. but the kind of absurdity many at the time wished they could have engaged in.
My only advice to Biden is that if he’s going to blow it, he should do it soon, as then he’d still have time to fix it.
I’m not sure I get your point, but consider the following. Split the country into three parts: a 13-state West (matches the Census Bureau definition), a 12-state northeast urban corridor running from Virginia on the south to Maine on the north, and a 25-state Rest. Count the EC votes from 2016 (ignoring the odd bits). 104 from the urban corridor, 98 from the West, 30 from the Rest. If the Dems don’t peel off some Midwest or Southern states, they’re in trouble.
Note the similar logic for the Senate this year. AZ, CO, ME, and possibly MT. After that, it’s holding AL and flipping Midwest or Southern seats.
I think part of the issue was folks like Sam Wang who were just completely irresponsible in the way they talked about polling and the election.
I’m singling out Sam Wang in particular because he was someone that I was following at the time and I (mea culpa) was willingly drinking his Koolaid. #LessonsLearned
Well hell, it worked for Mel Carnahan…
@mattbernius: I’m proud to say that I warned people about Wang for years before 2016. His analyses had always been weird. I already mentioned the Nevada Senate race in 2010. He gave Sharron Angle a 99.997% chance (I kid you not). Now as mentioned the polls were really off in that race (538 had given her about 83%), but that happens from time to time, and it happens often enough that anyone who works in forecasting from polls has a responsibility to take such scenarios into account. The notion that there was just a 3 in 1000 chance of an upset in that race was ridiculous.
I subsequently found out that in 2004 Wang gave Kerry a 98% chance of winning. I find that truly baffling, because Kerry, quite unlike Hillary, was trailing in most of the pre-election polls.
@Kylopod: @Neil Hudelson:
I seem to remember 538 running an article specifically raising the possibility of Trump losing the popular vote but narrowly winning the EC. I think that is why they figured Trump’s chance of winning to be so much higher than most other analysts. I wish I could find this article now.
@Pete S: They’d been arguing that Trump had an electoral college advantage as early as the summer. They initially gave the chances of Trump winning the EC while losing the popular vote as relatively low–only a few percentage points–but it gradually grew as the year went on, and it was substantially higher than the chances they gave of Hillary winning the EC while losing the popular vote. Here are two articles I found on the subject:
Sep. 15: How Trump Could Win The White House While Losing The Popular Vote
Oct. 31: The Odds Of An Electoral College-Popular Vote Split Are Increasing
Key quote from the latter article:
Also, on October 25, they posted an article outlining 5 possible scenarios for the election. The first four involved Clinton winning by various levels of magnitude. The final had Trump winning the EC while losing the popular vote, and their map was very close to the final one, except it had Trump winning NH and losing MI.
It’s a bit pointless to rehash the 2016 election…so many of the circumstances are different this time…Biden isn’t loathed in the way that Hillary was, Trump is no longer just some “successful” businessman/reality star…plenty of people have seem him and rightfully despise him as he is quite despicable…and also now that the 2016 election has been exhaustively studied, I’m sure the Biden campaign won’t make the same mistakes that the Clinton campaign did…there’s also this little pandemic and this little recession that’s going on…these are hardly helpful for the incumbent…
@An Interested Party:
And several never-trumpers are attacking Trump.
Back in 2016 (not rehashing), a common refrain among pundits in Mexico, and among people who read the newspaper (yes, they still make them), was that the candidate with the worst negative rating always loses.
We know better now.
But they have a point. Clinton had a very bad negative rating, people who dislike her. Biden doesn’t, and attempts to make innuendo stick haven’t worked with most people outside the Branch Trumpidians.
Apparently I missed (intentionally or unintentionally) all of those flashing warning signs. That’s to my great embarrassment (and to the chagrin of my liver on election night).
Indeed. He stressed it constantly, especially on the 538 podcast.
Wang’s model is one of the ones that was in the 98%+ range (IIRC). And that is what a lot of people remember.
@Steven L. Taylor:
It was over 99%. HuffPost’s was 98%. One HuffPost writer before the election accused Nate Silver of deliberately cooking the numbers to make the election seem more competitive. Wang also more or less implied it in a post published shortly before the election. He also said he’d eat a bug on camera if Trump got more than 220 EVs. (He honored the promise after the election.) NYT’s estimate was 85%–not as bad, but still not as bullish for Trump as 538.
In a sense it was a Democratic version of the Dean Chambers “unskewed polls” episode from 2012. On the surface you might not think so, as in both cases Dems were trusting the polls and Republicans were questioning them. But Dems in 2016 were being over-reliant on polls and not recognizing their limitations. In both cases Silver reached a conclusion based on data that certain people didn’t want to hear, leading them to make a pointless ad hominem attack on him.
(P.S. Until Chambers launched into his bizarre homophobic diatribe against Silver in 2012, I had no idea Silver was gay. I’m not saying I thought he was straight–I don’t recall thinking about the matter one way or the other up to that point. Silver is not the sort of pundit who makes you wonder about his personal life. But Chambers called him effeminate, even though he isn’t. I found that fascinating, because it was a prime example of a bigot seeing what he wants to see; it was kind of like an anti-Semite claiming a particular Jew has a big nose who doesn’t.)
100% on board on the use of derogatory nicknames for pols you dislike.
Make your point. Back it up. Don’t rely on a clever moniker as an actual argument.
If you use derogatory crap like T Rump or Nobama, etc. I immediately dismiss that commenter and what they say as useless to engage with.
Is recycles The Daily Beast content basically. Which is also mostly recycled content. (TDB does some original reporting.)
I have a rule to not trust “news” aggregation sites at all. Unless they employ actual journalists, they exist to inflame the believers.
Carve-out for Memeorandum. Those folks provide a legitimate and needed service. I love it.
Memeorandum is my first bookmark every day. Then Google News Headlines, US, World News, etc.
Take any content that is recycled as trash clickbait intended to rile the rubes.
(Granted, I have seen Rawstory rise to the level of base competency lately.)
Silver’s orientation is his business.
That folks thought that a ruthlessly analytical person would be dissuaded by slander reveals how little they know focused professionalism.
Nate Silver does what he does because no one else does it better today and it annoys him when they try.
@wr: Self-delusion then. It’s an analysis arising from 2016 and precisely how you lot gifted the world with Trump.
@Kathy: without doubt if one looks at Mrs Clinton’s negatives not nationally but in the specific electoral geographies, the observation could still hold at the state level.
@Steven L. Taylor: Yes anyone reading 538 and really paying attention to their analysis was well-warned things were not solid. I shall recall again I went to bed early as your East Coast was still voting with a terrible sensation on this very basis on the last trends and the 538 analysis that was clearly more grounded than the others, had nightmare about Trump winning, the TV maps unfolding, woke up at around 4am and went to the laptop to see to my horror the nightmare actually was playing out…
Guess what? A couple of political scientists recently found that the geographical identity of a VP pick – outside of a few very specific scenarios – makes zero difference.
Now, these people may, of course, be wrong. But I am 100% certain that their findings deserve a whole lot more serious consideration than your unsupported gut feelings.
In other words, if there is any self-delusion here, it’s yours. You appear to systematically overestimate the quality of your “insights,” while being needlessly aggressive and antagonizing toward other commenters.
It’s not a good look.
Dont forget Michael Moore and his spot on prediction. Well except for the cultural/racial part.
Michael Moore is a supposed ally, but he is an idiot.
Winning one state vs. winning one bloc.
Basically, Klobuchar vs. Harris.
Which is the better pick?
Yeah, and Moore also predicted in 2012 that Romney would win. In other words, broken clock. And after Trump won, he repeatedly predicted Trump wouldn’t complete his term. Moore’s brand is attention-seeking left-wing contrarian, and just because it made him happen to land on the truth in 2016 doesn’t mean he had any special insight.
Now in fairness, there were elements of Moore’s analysis that rang true, particularly regarding Trump’s appeal to white working-class voters in the Rust Belt (and I think Moore has some understanding of that, as a native Michiganite whose dad worked in a factory). But other things he said were patently irrelevant, such as the supposed appeal of Trump’s family, and he never suggested Trump would lose the popular vote; on the contrary, he strongly implied Trump would win over the American people. I also think Moore is really off his rocker in his repeated insistence that Trump is some kind of political mastermind.
In fact, you could make a case that Moore was wrong in 2016. He claimed Trump was likely to win. I believe that’s incorrect. Trump wasn’t likely to win. It was a fluke. He drew an inside straight. Take away Comey Letter, Hillary wins. That’s why I think 538’s 30% chance for Trump’s victory was probably more accurate.
People have this habit of looking back on an election outcome as if it was always a foregone conclusion, and it allows for false prophets like Moore to pretend they know what they’re talking about when they basically just got lucky. It’s like that famous psychic who allegedly predicted Kennedy’s assassination based on some vague thing she said (and contradicted), and making sure you ignore that she also made a string of predictions that never came to pass.
On the geography of a VP pick…it depends. A lot of dominoes would have to fall into place for it to matter.
For the most part, it’s not going to make a difference. People vote for the top of the ticket.
However, there are a few things that could make this year different.
One, Biden’s age and the fact that back in December he seemed to indicate he’d only run for one term means that for those who care about what amounts to “succession planning” the number 2 spot will need someone who is able to hold their own at the top of the ticket in a short amount of time.
Two, if it’s someone who is wildly popular in a large (populous) swing state, that could matter.
Three, the fact that Biden has committed to naming a woman means that he needs to determine if it’s going to be someone who will shore up his progressive wing or if it’s someone who can give him a boost in a swing state.
Four, the selection cannot actively hurt the ticket. As much as I like Warren, I think that a) she’s too old; b) she is a known quantity and that’s not always a good thing–picking someone with a lower profile means they won’t come to the ticket with baggage.
Five, I think picking anyone other than a woman of color this year would be unwise.
I’m leaning more and more to Val Demmings, but it really depends on how Biden gets along with whomever is in the running. That, more than anything else, is going to be key. He needs someone who he can work closely with if he’s truly only looking at one term.
TL;DR: Geography may or may not matter. 🙂
@Kylopod: Yes, those predictive models were a huge problem. And if Bill had said that, he would be correct.
@Kylopod: Indeed. It isn’t hard to look like a genius when there are only two outcomes.
It is like the cable news finance guys–if one of them makes a prediction (the market will go up, up, up!) and it does, they can claim to be clairvoyant, but it was just a good guess.
It is like Joe Namath guaranteeing the Jets would win the Super Bowl.
I have not read that book, but will say that the general consensus, as I understand it, of the polisci lit on this issue is that veep choice does not make that much difference (it definitely does not matter they way pundits and kibbitzers think it does–not even close).
For one thing, as I have continually pointed out: the first most likely variable is party ID (if I am a D, then whomever the Ds pick, I am voting for). And second, the degree to which candidate matters, people are looking at the top of the ticket, not the second slot.
But there really isn’t much evidence for this. The typical retort is LBJ in 1960 helping JFK in Texas. But setting aside whether that was, in fact, true (and even stipulating for the sake of argument that it is) that is one solid example. There isn’t another good one to conjure.
It’s worse than you think. 99.997% means three in 100,000 chance of the opposite happening.
@Steven L. Taylor: Yes, I know…thus all the stuff above that TL;DR 😉
Every race, every election year is different. There’s little evidence that picking a running mate matters because there are few elections that are truly won on the margins, let alone resting on a single state. That’s what we’re really talking about here, and it’s darn hard to prove.
Example: We’d have to be willing to accept California 1) being in play; and 2) that selecting Harris is THE deciding factor in people’s votes in order for the argument of selecting Harris to play out to validate this theory. Same with selecting Klobuchar, Minnesota would both have to be in play and THE deciding factor in the Electoral College. Those are awfully high bars to clear.
Florida does actually check those boxes (large number of EC votes, and a swing state), but does Demings have the statewide clout to be THE deciding factor? Etc.
Oh I am not really a fan. He can be obnoxious.
@Jen: I think part of the problem is the difficulty in knowing in advance which states will be the most crucial. Tim Kaine did appear to help Hillary in Virginia (it was one of the few states that voted more Democratic than 2012, and really the only swing state in that category), but she’d probably have carried the state anyway, even if by a narrower margin. And in any case, it obviously wasn’t sufficient for her to win the election. But how was she to know? VA had been considered a solidly Republican state before 2008, and given that it was one of Obama’s narrowest states in 2012, there were good reasons for thinking she shouldn’t take it for granted. In hindsight, she might have benefited from picking a running mate from, say, Wisconsin. But would that have helped her in Michigan or, even more questionably, Pennsylvania? Not clear.
The 1960 election is the ultimate example everyone always points to when a running-mate was supposedly crucial in pulling the ticket across the finish line. But if that was the case (and I’m skeptical of that conventional narrative), it reflected a particular historical moment, when Southern support for the Democratic Party had become tenuous and was right on the brink of crashing. There’s a good book I read a couple of years ago called Kennedy and King by Steven Levingston that goes into the tight game Kennedy had to play in reaching for the African American vote while avoiding turning off too many of the Dixiecrats. The selection of LBJ was an essential part of that equation. Of course, Dukakis tried the same thing in 1988 (an MA politician choosing a Texas Senator as running mate), without much success.
I think that we are firmly in post-geographic stage of vice-presidential picks.
Obama did not need Delaware. Bush did not need Wyoming. McCain did not need Alaska.
None of those picks would have been an EC pick up.
Romney with Ryan in 2012 lost Wisconsin.
It would have to be a big swing state for geographic choice to make any sense.
While I agree with the overall point, I still think there needs to be a distinction made between people who hold statewide office and people who don’t. Ryan was just a Congressman in one district in Wisconsin. (It was amusing during the Democratic debates this year to hear Buttigieg keep harping on the fact that he “won in the conservative state of Indiana,” even though he was just mayor of a small town. Klobuchar kept shooting him down on this point, and also noting that the one time he ran for statewide office, he lost big.) And mere residence in a state by someone who never held office there is almost meaningless. I doubt Trump’s recent move to Florida will make any difference to his electoral chances this year. Wikipedia, alas, takes the concept of “home state advantage” a bit literally, and it includes Nixon in 1968 as an example of a candidate who lost his home state, since Nixon lived in New York at the time. But really, did anyone truly associate him with NY? For all intents and purposes, his home state was still California (since that’s where he had been Senator), even if he hadn’t lived there in years.
For that matter, I think the importance of home state even at the top of the ticket is overstated, especially in the modern era of high polarization. Al Gore lost Tennessee; Romney lost MA. It’s true that Bush won Texas and Obama won Illinois, but it’s completely trivial as those were solidly red or blue states anyway. The last presidential candidate where there was clearly a home-state effect was Bill Clinton. Not only is he the only Democrat in the past 40 years to win Arkansas, but in 1992 it was the only state where he got above 50% of the vote. You can also see the effect with candidates who lost in landslides: Mondale and MN in ’84, Goldwater and AZ in ’64, Carter and GA in ’80. The problem is we don’t see elections like those anymore. Partisanship seems to matter a lot more than a candidate’s home state.
Personal memories – feel free to skip
I was at the Mondale concession speech. It was heartbreaking. The totality of the beat down. And to lose to that guy.
I later met and palled around with his kids. My friend had a roomie named Bill. Nice to meet you. Brad was recently out and into clubbing. Bill and I were het and were more bar or band oriented so we just hung out.
Sometimes we went with Brad. The Gay 90’s was fun. I think I knew him for a month or two before I even knew his last name.
Meeting an ex Vice President is weirdly intimidating. You want to end every sentence with “sir.” My strategy was to be polite but nonchalant and never bring up anything about politics.
Thanks so much for inviting us over. (Don’t say “sir”, moron)
You have beautiful house. (Don’t say “ma’am”, idiot)
Btw, it was a cool-ass house.
Much later another friend of mine met, courted, wooed, and eventually married his daughter. They were very sweet together.
Per AP, there are six on the list for VP.
Warren, Harris, Susan Rice (news to me), and three unnamed others. (guessing Abrams, Whitmer, and …)
Of those named I like all of them.
My preference is towards Harris.