Tea leaves?

Discussion in 'Political Discussions' started by nosborne48, Aug 24, 2020.

  1. nosborne48

    nosborne48 Well-Known Member

    Well, friends, the Democratic National Convention, with all the cliff hanging excitement of a U.S. Government savings bond, just finished nominating Joe Biden to be President. Tonight, the Republicans will begin their multi-day exercise in predictability and will nominate the incumbent Donald Trump for another four years.

    I'm curious to know, not whom you support either way, but rather who you THINK will win the popular vote and the Electoral College vote in November. I will start it off by saying I think Trump will prevail in the EC but lose the popular vote. I think so because he retains the enthusiastic support of a substantial base and has a pretty clear platform whether the GOP reduces it writing or not. I don't think Biden has either of these things and in my experience of politics, hating someone doesn't motivate to vote like loving someone.

    2016 redux.

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  2. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly Staff Member

    Trump got 306 electoral college votes, Clinton got 232. That's a lot of states Biden needs to flip. I'd expect him to focus on AZ, PA, OH, MI, and WI. If he can flip any three of those, he's in. (Or, if can flip FL and any one of those, he's in, although I have the feeling Florida will be more of a challenge for him.)
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  3. Maniac Craniac

    Maniac Craniac Moderator Staff Member

    Biden certainly fits the Democratic party's idea of the perfect candidate- a warm body that isn't Donald Trump. The problem is, that's ALL Biden is at this point.

    My prediction: Trump will win. Then, those who didn't vote at all will claim that their voice hasn't been heard and will riot in the streets.
    nosborne48 likes this.
  4. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly Staff Member

    Maybe. The only reason I might disagree is that elections in the meantime have shown very high turnout from Democrats. For example, both houses of Virginia's legislature flipped, and I wasn't expecting that. And Trump won quite a few states by very thin margins.
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  5. eriehiker

    eriehiker Active Member

    I will add one underestimated point. Both Wisconsin and Michigan now have Democratic governors. That wasn't the case in 2016. Pennsylvania had a Democratic governor in 2016, but he had only been in office for two years. All three states now have Democratic secretaries of state. This wasn't true for Michigan in 2016. Michigan's result in 2016 was close enough for this to have mattered. Gov. Whitmer is a popular governor and an effective governor. I think that her organizational abilities will make the difference in Michigan this year.
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  6. eriehiker

    eriehiker Active Member

    Also, Michigan voters passed a state constitutional amendment that has completely changed voting rules in the state since 2016. Michigan now has same day voter registration, mail in voting, no-restriction absentee voting, etc. These changes would tend to favor Democrats. Also, the state has a Democratic attorney general and a centrist state supreme court. Neither was true in 2016. I live in a rural/small city area and Trump still has more yard signs around here. That is the only thing that makes me concerned. Clinton's ground game in my area was terrible in 2016 and it kind of looks like Biden might be just a little bit better. However, the voting system and the people running the system have all changed to the benefit of Democrats over Republicans since 2016. Again, Trump's margin was so small that I have a hard time seeing him win in Michigan.
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  7. heirophant

    heirophant Well-Known Member

    I have no way of knowing for certain, but my guess is that there's lots more Trump support out there than the polls show. There's "cancel culture", there's the fact that people can be and have been fired from their jobs for saying things as innocuous and unobjectionable as "all lives matter". There's the fact that wearing a MAGA hat makes one a target for physical assault and a Trump bumper sticker almost guarantees that one's car will be vandalized. So... I expect that when pollsters call, a significant percentage of people decline to participate. And my guess is that group skews very strongly towards Trump supporters.

    The biggest reason why Trump beat Hillary in 2016 was that the Democrats seemed to have abandoned their historical working class base. The Democrats had become the party of entertainment celebrities, street activists and Marxist professors. Nominating Biden seems to me to be a belated attempt by the party leadership to once again appeal to the kind of voters the Democrats lost and need to win back, but the fact remains that Biden's apparent doddering weakness and ongoing concessions to the party's left weaken that message to the point of inaudibility. Nobody's really sure what Biden actually stands for or whether he has the strength and energy to emerge from his basement and impose his vision on a party that very obviously wants to move in an entirely different direction.

    Americans find themselves and their history being called "racist" at every opportunity, the less educated among them and those in blue collar occupations find themselves the targets of scorn and contempt, law and order voters see nationwide looting and arson along with calls for "defunding"/eliminating the police. Patriotic voters watch as the flag and the national anthem are dishonored and monuments to the founding fathers torn down. We seem to be losing all signs and symbols of a common identity that everyone, black and white, young and old, male and female, rich and poor, could identify with and rally around. Instead the country seems to be fragmenting into a host of angry and competing special interest voting blocks, with nothing remaining that's strong enough to counteract the centrifugal tendencies.

    President Trump speaks directly to the increasingly beleaguered middle class, many of them ancestral Democrats, he speaks their language, he addresses their issues. So I don't really see any big rush by the kind of traditionally Democratic voters who abandoned Hillary in 2016 to return to the Democratic fold. If anything, I expect even more of them to abandon the Democrats this time. In 2016 Trump was an unknown quantity, a New York billionaire celebrity running as a populist and there was widespread suspicion that he was just scamming the voters and would turn out to be just another New York celebrity leftist once in office. Many of the establishment Republicans were aggressively pushing that line. Now after four years the voters have seen President Trump's policies and they have a good idea what his agenda is and his priorities are. They have seen who it is that hates him so passionately.
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  8. nosborne48

    nosborne48 Well-Known Member

    That's what I meant when I said the GOP "has a pretty clear platform whether the GOP reduces it to writing or not."
  9. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly Staff Member

    For sure, although this isn't recent. It's apparently a common phenomenon across the English-speaking world for some time that some of those who vote for conservative parties and candidates are reluctant to admit it to pollsters: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shy_Tory_factor
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  10. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    Popular vote: Biden
    Electoral College: Biden
    House Majority: Democrats
    Senate Majority: Democrats (possibly 50/50)
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  11. Bill Huffman

    Bill Huffman Well-Known Member

    Polling indicates that Trump has a smaller chance to win at this point than he did in 2016. The wild card in this election is what Trump will pull between now and the election. I'm guessing that he is trying to force Barr to arrest Biden or perhaps Hunter Biden. If Trump can't force that then something else like announcing an investigation or something.
  12. nosborne48

    nosborne48 Well-Known Member

    Charlie Cook cookpolitical.com says the race isn't even close but fivethirtyeight.com shows Biden as only "slightly" favored to win, down from "favored". I don't know what went into that adjustment.
  13. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly Staff Member

    Eye of newt and wing of bat, one presumes.
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  14. nosborne48

    nosborne48 Well-Known Member

    Well, the conventions have ground along to their inevitable finishes. I was never a fan of kabuki theater. The race seems to be tightening just a bit but I see no reason to change my predictions. How about it, folks?
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  15. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly Staff Member

    I can't imagine why anyone watches those things. That incessant preacher/politician voice is so grating.

    My prediction boiled down to "maybe", and I'm standing by it.
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  16. heirophant

    heirophant Well-Known Member

    I think that we saw a little of it in 2016.

    My sense is that it's gotten a lot worse in the last few years. Today supporting the police, criticizing BLM, being a Republican or (horror of horrors!) supporting the President of the United States has become flat-out dangerous. People are physically assaulted and a few have even been killed. People have lost their jobs for saying something as innocuous as "All lives matter". "Cancel culture" seeks to ruin individuals and businesses that dare to express opinions unpopular with the mob.

    So when somebody calls and says they are from a polling organization, they obviously already have your number. They probably already know even more about you, since you presumably fit some demographic profile that they want to sample. So how many respondents are going to tell a complete stranger that they don't even begin to trust anything that could prove dangerous to their life, family or career?

    It's an unprecedented time in American history. Things are very ugly out there. I fear for the future of our democracy. So my feeling out here at the grassroots is that many Trump supporters are keeping their heads down.

    So my sense is that poll results from those who choose to participate aren't going to be very representative of the voting intentions of those who decline to participate. There's likely to be a big partisan divide there.

    Hence polling and predictions this time are likely to be even less reliable than they were in 2016, when pretty much everyone agreed that Hillary was a lock to win.
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2020
  17. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly Staff Member

    Of course, cancel culture works both ways -- ask Goodyear.

    But I think you're right about 2016. I suppose the saying is more true now than ever that there's only one poll that really matters.
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  18. nosborne48

    nosborne48 Well-Known Member

    Nothing, but NOTHING, seems to affect the polling averages. I have never seen anything like this. I keep expecting to see the race narrow and it has but only very slightly. Fivethirtyeight says that neither candidate seems to have gotten much of a "convention bounce". Too early to tell for sure, though. My own speculation is that there just aren't very many persuadable voters left out there. So it all depends on turnout in the so-called battleground states. I see no reason to think that turnout is likely to be very different from 2016 so the results in those state should be pretty much the same as in 2016.
  19. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly Staff Member

    Results in Virginia suggest that Democrats are a lot more motivated now than they were before. They flipped both houses of the state legislature (remember, we have off year elections here) and turned Prince William County from leaning red to solid blue in a single go.

    If Democrats show up like that in battleground states, that's very bad news for Trump and down ticket Republicans as well.
  20. nosborne48

    nosborne48 Well-Known Member

    Yes, it's awfully easy for wounded-in-2016 Democrats to discount the 2018 election as something other than the Blue Wave it actually was. Well, even in 2016, Donald Trump lost the popular vote to Hillary Clinton by some millions of votes. But there is nothing that I can see that would keep President Trump from a second Electoral College victory. Former Vice President Biden just doesn't seem to inspire much enthusiasm as witnessed by his narrow margin in the battleground state polls. Will Mr. Biden's candidacy compel Democratic voters to get off the couch and vote? More particularly, will Black Democratic voters in the Upper Midwest states turn out for Biden when they didn't turn out for Hillary? Biden not only takes these voters for granted, he actually SAYS SO in public! I would expect that resentment on that score will hurt turnout.

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