While Trump yammers on about HRC again, let's look at the race in 2016 v. today. It's 51 days to the election. Sept 18 was 51 days from the 2016 election. 2016 forecast final PV was 46.7-44.3 (HRC+2.4). Pretty close to final result (HRC+2.1). Today? Biden up 52.8-45.9 (+6.9).
How about 538's forecast of EC victory? 2016 it was HRC with a 61.1% chance, having dropped from 89% a month earlier. Today? Biden has a 76% of victory, stable all along, though a bit higher than two weeks ago (it was 67% on Aug 31).
I've said all along that this election is about the pandemic and not "law and order." But that's not really it either. This election is about Trump and his actual record and behavior as President. So let's look at his job approvals v. past Presidents up for re-election.
Obama and W were +2.7 and +4.7 net job approval at this point respectively. Trump's is -10.4. Trump's net approval is most like George H. W. Bush in 1992, which was -14.0. Trump is also closer to Jimmy Carter's -21.7 than he is to Obama's.
The only way to win if you have low job approvals is to destroy the opposing candidate. So let's look at RCP's average of favorability ratings for Trump and Biden. Biden is in net positive territory after both conventions and 15.8 points higher than Trump.
So here's the thing: Plenty of things can still alter the course of this campaign. But something big will have to change for Trump to have a chance to win. The PV lead is high enough that an EV/PV split is unlikely (esp. w/ Biden focusing on states that caught HRC off guard).
And if things DO change, we'll see it in the national popular vote polls first since those polls are conducted so regularly. If Biden's average PV lead drops below 4, this race will be wide open. The race DID drop in 2016. Check out the "Now Cast" on Sept 20, 2016.
Look at the national polls leading up to that near-tied "Now Cast" on Sept 20, 2016. Lots of 1 or 2 point margins either way. And very high undecideds. Compare it to recent national polls for 2020. Biden up by much more, and at or over 50.
The swing state polls are certainly useful, especially to see if the EC coheres with the popular vote. Right now it looks like a ~3-point bias toward Trump. And they tell us about potential weak points. But the national polls tell us the big picture.
To sum up: If Trump is going to win, something big has to change with this race. Every day the polls stay in place, Trump's chance to change the race drops. If all you hear is "Trump supporters are lying to pollsters!" or "but Joe is senile!", you know that Trump is still losing.
ADDENDUM: Thanks to @tedbrogan6901, here is Nate's chart of likelihood of EC victory given certain PV win thresholds. If Biden wins the PV by over 4 points, he has an 89% chance of winning the EC. Goes to 98% if he wins over 5%.
Follow-up on Fox News poll. It has Biden up 5 overall (v. up 7 in August). Both sides gained a bit after conventions. But Biden up 6 in battlegrounds (and they DID use an oversample to get a decent MOE of 4.0%), means chance of EV/PV split goes down. (Hispanic MOE 8.5% too high).

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More from @AstorAaron

20 Sep
One of my absolute favorite figures from the Civil War - and probably favorite German American of the 19th century - was Gen. August Willich. Quit the Prussian army in 1848, revolted, moved to the US, became a carpenter and ran the socialist Cincinnati Republikaner. Here he is...
What's amazing is that it looks like he lives in a boarding house in Over-the-Rhine along with other German immigrant craftsmen - Tailors, carpenters, cabinet makers, cigar makers, brewers. And he lists no property to his name. He's just "Editor."
Here was his newspaper right after Lincoln's election in November 1860. "Victory of the Free Workers over the Slave Power."
Read 7 tweets
20 Sep
I think it IS raw political power. But one thing has changed. Dems don’t need the courts to “legislate from the bench” as much as they once did. So sabotaging the 40-year conservative judicial project through court packing has less risk.
Think about it. Dems used to struggle to get a national popular majority (once you remove the Dixiecrats from the equation). Dems got beat badly in the popular vote for Pres from 1968 to 1988 (except 1976...barely). So Dems turned to Courts to enact or protect its agenda.
Republicans (and allied groups like Heritage and Federalist Society) responded by grooming and building up a Federal judiciary that would no longer “legislate from the bench” and encourage textualism. It wasn’t necessarily a full reactionary project to strike down the New Deal.
Read 18 tweets
15 Sep
Every election since 2004 I've obsessively watched poll numbers, often checking several times a day in the months before the election. And my mood usually follows the latest polls until I check again. It's...really not a healthy or useful thing to do. I suspect I'm not alone...
I have OCD so it's particularly bad. It's like repeatedly checking sports scores and thinking that if I sit in a different position, the result will be different. Of course, the stakes are higher with an election. But then again, polls are not actual points going on the board.
Either way, it's just unhealthy. And in 2020 it's even more absurd since the polls have been so stable for months. As if the latest poll of Swing State X from B+ pollster Y will CHANGE EVERYTHING...until another poll from pollster Z with a B rating counters it.
Read 16 tweets
13 Sep
In a country with ~150 million voters, there are going to be a lot of idiots out there. No Democrat is ever going to get the vote of this person and no Democrat should try. There is no reason to seek this kind of person's vote. There are lots of other voters in Ohio to get.
And no, it has nothing to do with this man's profession, race or education. It has everything to do with his worldview, which is completely antithetical to the Democratic Party. And...that's okay. There are lots of people Republicans know they will never get to vote Republican.
At best, you can load this guy up with enough contradictory nonsense to get him not to vote at all. He seems awfully gullible and susceptible to blatant falsehoods. But it's probably not worth the effort. Go out and encourage his wife, sister, mother, brother who might vote Dem.
Read 5 tweets
9 Sep
This really is outrageous. Trump said he "played it down" bc he didn't want to create a "panic." But he didn't do that either. He went the other extreme and encouraged his followers to expect it to go from 15 cases to zero. Panic was likelier when people figured out he was wrong.
All of which shows what a catastrophic leadership failure this was. Lots of people were flying blind and doing the best they can. Some things Trump may or may not have been able to fix. But messaging was certainly something he could control. And he completely botched it.
It's also almost certainly bullshit that he was most concerned about creating a panic. Because he continued to talk up short-cuts and offer false hope through April. The reason was political: He worried that the economic fallout would hurt his re-election prospects.
Read 9 tweets
9 Sep
This. Because let's face it: If Joe Biden wins the popular vote by more than 4 points (or about 6 million) votes and loses the Electoral College, this country will implode. Huge numbers of people will conclude that voting just doesn't help. And things will get extremely ugly.
I just don't think people have processed how catastrophic it will be if we have two consecutive EV/PV splits, esp. if the second one is even more distorted than the first. And if Biden gets an outright majority - not just plurality - in the PV, it will be even more dangerous.
Our Constitution is great, but it isn't perfect. It's been amended 27 times. But what makes it work is the legitimacy that the public grants to it. Winner-take-all is the culprit, BTW, not the Electoral College per se. But we've gotten lucky over the years with few EV/PV splits.
Read 11 tweets

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