My avg of live phone polls over the past month has Biden performing about ~10pts better (on margin) among non-college whites than Clinton did. Online data (YouGov & UCLA Nationscape) are similar.

This shift impacts EC outcomes much more than marginal differences w/ BIPOC voters.
(NB: This is still true, though the miscalibration in coverage is less egregious, in Florida where we are seeing some real change among Latinos.)
Given these huge shifts among non-college whites (who make up ~40% of the 2020 VEP!), one thing that keeps bugging me is how some Beltway pundit types are tracking Biden's gains/losses relative to June instead of Nov 2016. Their swing to Biden alone nearly decides the election.
Instead of covering this huge, election-making shift — esp important for the Midwest — many pundits are laser-focused on mildly shifting ground in FL. I think they're missing the bigger story, both in terms of overall demo balance & what will impact the electoral college more.
5/5 Since 2016, the story of Trump's victory has been about non-col whites revolting against Clinton. Now, a significant number are back in the D column. That's a huge puzzle and interesting story all by itself! But people are focused on other groups because... horse race?
Bonus 1/2: Maybe it's hubris, but it doesn't seem like this election is all that hard to figure out. Non-col whites who didn't like Clinton are more likely to vote Biden. Modest racial depolarization elsewhere doesn't hurt him much in light of this. Thus, he's up big.
Bonus 2/2: Another way to say this is that sexism was highly correlated with voting against Clinton in 2016. Biden is not a woman, so naturally does better than she does.

That + covid + economy + 4 years of low approval ratings puts Trump in a big hole for re-election.
OK, bonus 3/2: Another thing that's so frustrating is that 2020 looks very similar to 2018! Back then, a lot of Beltway types ignored the Dem shift among non-col whites & rural voters. So we've seen this coming from a mile away and other analysts are just.. looking the other way.
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More from @gelliottmorris

24 Sep
It would be nice if the most famous person in political data journalism would actually ask people for the data they're referring to before amplifying totally misleading takes Image
as far as i can tell, the "polling" ryan is referring to is far from conclusive (i can't even tell if it exists), and nate's take is pretty transparently too clever by half. pretty standard punditry here
in fact, i think we have enough yougov data to actually model this. turnout ~ faith in the process + demo and party controls. will report back.
Read 9 tweets
23 Sep
In all seriousness, this tweet from @SeanTrende exemplifies a very important difference in how various poll aggregators view actual polling microdata — one that has the potential to reshape how news consumers view political polls writ large (for the better, IMO). Short thread:
Some polling aggregators (eg RCP) take the raw polling toplines data and assume that enough pollsters will follow best practices in weighting, sampling, etc to give you the best average prediction possible. This serves us well sometimes but is pretty naive when you drill down.
Others (eg 538) think that there are consistent differences between pollster modes, populations and polling firms that allow you to makes good predictions of which methods are best. They weight polls by accuracy and do other math to debias data to squeeze out all the extra juice.
Read 7 tweets
23 Sep
10% chance of a trifecta? color me skeptical, very skeptical
The one huge thing I learned from modeling this year is that it is a mistake to model uncertainty as uniform over time. Polarization makes elections much easier to predict (on balance) today versus, say, 1970. I think that's making Nate's models too uncertain across the board.
If people in the media are to take one thing away from the theory behind our models, it's that how we think about certainty in a time when voter behavior is constrained by very predictable forces can lead to better predictions, especially earlier in the year, in modern elections.
Read 5 tweets
22 Sep
I think there is still a fairly sizable chance of a systematic error in the polls, and how big it is depends on which forecasts/averages you look at. (This is an important thread, please read it carefully.) 1/8
2/8 While more battleground-state pollsters are weighting by education than at this point in 2016, about half still aren't. And there are other issues with pollsters who have clearly politically biased samples because of other errors (like weighting to the 2016 exit polls).
3/8 We adjust for some of this bias by including a term in our model that balances systematic difference between correctly and poorly-weighted polls. In 2016, it shaved about 2pts off Clinton's margin in the Midwest, so it IS helpful. BUT the model was still surprised on Nov 8.
Read 11 tweets
22 Sep
Trump can afford to lose 36 electoral votes from his 2016 total and still hold on to the White House. But Biden currently leads in polls of all 6 of the closest Trump states from 2016:

MI (16 EVs)
PA (20)
WI (10)
FL (29)
AZ (11)
NC (15)

A short thread:…
On the one hand, Biden is clearly in a good position. If the polls look like they do today on election day, our model will give him close to a 92% chance of winning the election. We're still a long way away, but that's roughly where things are headed.
But on the other hand (and especially because of Trump's relative electoral college advantage), it actually wouldn't take much to nudge the race closer to 60/40 or even 50/50. A streak of good polls in FL or PA would get him much of the way to a tied race.
Read 7 tweets
21 Sep
Some more numbers on the Senate's rural bias:

If all Senate seats were up at the same time and we assume D pres states go D down-ballot, Dems would have to win a national landslide of ~19 points to control a supermajority. Reps would just need to win by just 2(!) for 67 seats.
If you order the states by their partisan leans, the 67th seat for Democrats falls somewhere between Mississippi (R+19) and Missouri (also R+19), whereas the 67th seat for Republicans is between Nevada (D+1) and VA (D+2).
The thing about the stupid "We're a republic, not a democracy!" comments is that republics are supposed to have indirect **representation** for voters — and under no reasonable national parameterization can you call what the Senate is doing today "representation."
Read 5 tweets

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