Why the Donald is still likely to win

Trump focus group

Lord Ashcroft polling

 

“Trump hasn’t yet begun his reelection campaign in earnest; he has an absurdly large campaign fund, an organization that’s already trained upwards of a million grassroots organizers, and a whipsmart online presence. (The Trump campaign had t-shirts saying #YouAin’tBlack for sale within a couple of hours of Biden’s latest gaffe, for example.) I expect him to steamroller Biden.”

 John Michael Greer

 

At the beginning of the year, I outlined the reasons why President Trump was likely to be re-elected in November 2020. Much has changed since then and this post will go on to explain why, on the balance of probabilities, I continue to think the Donald will win again on election night.

I would like to add that this FI blog tries, as far as humanly possible, to avoid taking party political sides. From a forecasting perspective, avoiding bias, remaining calm, objective and data-driven are key attributes to successfully forecasting future events.

A risk for me, having successfully forecasted Trump’s victory in 2016, is that I subconsciously double down again on the same bet when the political facts have changed. With that in mind, let’s review the data.

So, what does the polling data say? Well, currently Biden is clearly out-polling Trump in the majority of polls being conducted.

Trump vs Biden poll

Statista

 

It is probably not surprising that Trump has taken a hit in the polling. The Covid-19 pandemic has killed over a 100,000 Americans, unemployment has soared and the economy is only just starting to recover since the lockdown measures were imposed.

Compared to other countries, the Trump Administration has performed poorly in the Covid-19 benchmark stakes. Germany, New Zealand, Taiwan, South Korea, Japan and Singapore have been far more successful in avoiding the casualties and economic damage seen in the United States. Of course, other countries have also handled it badly, but that does not change the facts that America has had a poor pandemic crisis.

Swing voters and independents are frustrated and are currently telling pollsters they plan to vote for Joe Biden in November. Nevertheless, what do voters actually think of Joe Biden?

At the top of this post are the findings from a recent American focus group exercise, conducted by Lord Ashcroft, into what voters thought on the two leaders. Words associated with Biden were overwhelmingly “elderly”, followed by “likeable”. The clear risk is that voters may like Uncle Joe but may not trust him to being Commander-In-Chief if they think he is too old for the job.

For President Trump, arrogant, dangerous, fake and racist were the top names coming up, with ruthless and smug following close behind. Voters consider Trump a strong leader but also deeply divisive and unlikeable.

It is probably fair to say that neither candidates inspire those voters in the broad middle of the US political spectrum.

John Greer, who successfully forecast Trump’s apparently unlikely bid for power in 2016, recently wrote that he expected Trump to defeat Biden once the election campaign is in full swing.

Polls suggest that a slim margin of voters think Trump is a better choice than Biden is to get the economy back and this is likely to be a major issue on the campaign trail. Moreover, the recent protests and, at times, violent unrest across America is also likely to play to Trump’s hand given his hard-line law and order message.

The writer Patrick Basham has written an excellent summary of a recent Democracy Institute polling, a section of it, I have republished below.

“Trump’s tough, politically incorrect “law and order” stance on the riots, vilified by the mainstream media, is actually playing rather well with ordinary Americans. The overwhelming majority were sickened by the tragic death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. They respect the right to peaceful protest.

But, as protest begat rioting, looting, and the loss of life, Trump sensed the rapidly shifting public mood and called out big city mayors and governors for failing to protect their citizens. Most Americans agree, including a good many Democrats. We find Black men, a cornerstone of the Democratic coalition, taking a serious look at Trump’s candidacy. Should one-in-five vote for Trump, his reelection is guaranteed.”

The specific poll suggests that one in four Black voters plan to vote for President Trump.

That is just one poll. It is also true that other polling indicates that far more Black voters plan to stick with the Democrats.

Still, from the polling I have seen, the numbers of confirmed Trump voters among the African-American community is significantly higher than the 8% he received in 2016. Some are as high as 15% and I’ve seen one poll where Trump’s approval ratings among African-Americans are over 40%.

The key fact is worth repeating: should Trump get a fifth of the African-American vote, his re-election will be guaranteed.

Interestingly, I have not seen any mainstream media coverage of these interesting polling findings on the rising Black support for President Trump since the 2016 election. It is probably because the media, overwhelmingly anti-Trump, cannot get their collective heads around why any minority voter would support a president widely considered a racist.

On specific policy issues, the average African American (and indeed Latino) is far more conservative than many commentators assume.

A recent poll showed that overall, 58% of voters supported Trump’s call for the military to help police control protests. Ah, some of you might say, that would be overwhelmingly white voters. True, but not the full picture.

The same poll also shows that 37% of African-Americans supported the policy. A similar to number, interestingly, to those polls suggesting that around 40% of African-Americans approve or may even consider voting for Trump in November. Coincidence or an underlying electoral pattern? I let you decide.

Police poll

Vox

 

A separate poll shows that among African-Americans, 58% have a favourable opinion of their local police force.Defunding the police movement will find little traction with the majority of African-American voters, let alone Latinos and whites.

Whilst Joe Biden has come out against defunding the police, he risks being tarnished by association if he does not take a stronger line on what many voters would consider crazy ideas from the radical Left of American politics.

Therefore, to summarise, my forecast is that once the virus (slowly) burns out and recovering the economy takes centre stage in the presidential campaign, President Trump will rediscover his mojo once politics moves to the issues of jobs and law and order.

Voters will take a closer look at Joe Biden and the more they see him in their living rooms the less they will like him. Gaffe prone, mumbling and at times apparently senile, enough independent and swing voters will decide, reluctantly for some, that it will have to be the Donald again.

Many of those voters will not share their decision with family or friends. We know that because a recent poll confirmed that only 37% of Trump supporters want their family or friends to know about their decision. Shy Trump voters almost certainly had an impact in the 2016 election and I think closet Trump supporters will have a potentially bigger impact this election, particularly in those communities where social pressure is to be against Trump (e.g. African American and liberal white America).

It is possible that Trump may even win the popular vote, crazy as that idea might sound right now. It is certainly something that John Greer thinks is a very plausible outcome.

Should the GOP surprise on the upside with the African-American vote and claw back the white elderly voters that deserted him during the Covid-19 pandemic, a landslide victory could be the outcome.

Of course, there remains a scenario in which Joe Biden avoids any disastrous gaffes and takes advantage of the poor economy and Covid-19 handling to defeat President Trump in November. It is not impossible but, in my opinion, despite what the current polls are suggesting, it is the less likely outcome of this election.

Whether or not Trump narrowly wins in the Electoral College or pulls of a bigger win in the popular vote, I continue to stick with my forecast that the most likely outcome of the 2020 presidential election will be the re-election of President Donald Trump.

 

Why the Donald is still likely to win

5 thoughts on “Why the Donald is still likely to win

  1. NoticedYourBlog says:

    I mean, you don’t see the large amount of cherry picking involved in this. As an example-

    You cite a poll from early this month that 58% support using troops etc, but on that very link is also this-

    ‘However, that didn’t translate to overall support for Trump in the poll, which showed 45% saying they are more likely to vote for Biden and 31% for Trump based on George Floyd’s death and the subsequent protests.’

    So why put stock in one part of the poll, and not the other?

    As far as Trump and the black vote, just from the past couple of days-

    https://thehill.com/hilltv/rising/464680-poll-overwhelming-majority-of-black-voters-choose-any-given-2020-democrat-over

    https://www.newsweek.com/92-percent-black-americans-support-biden-over-trump-poll-says-1513367

    Maybe these are wrong, but you’ve given no rationale as to why the outliers would be accurate, and these wouldn’t. In fact, just think about it- Hillary was not beloved by blacks (for one thing, she ran a nasty campaign against Obama, remember?), whereas Biden was Obama’s VP and defeated Sanders with great help from blacks.

    Seems like you’re grasping at straws a bit there. Who knows, Trump might still win, but something radical would have to happen. The current trajectory is he is going to lose, and lose bigly.

    1. Hi NoticedYourBlog,

      All valid points you make there and to be fair I have wondered the same myself. Am I grasping at straws?

      In regard to the overall polling, that Biden leads Trump, I have registered that in my blog and have caveated that should everything go well for Biden and things carry on badly for Trump, it is certainly possible that Biden will win.

      However, in my opinion, these polls artificially inflates Biden’s poll ratings due to 1) potentially flawed polling methodology (https://www.politico.com/news/2020/06/17/trump-polls-biden-324210?fbclid=IwAR1tB24izabaFnGXihKG-xPCeq37KV3_90ULPd2Xnc3E_ds29-CTV8hNOH4), 2) polling currently reflects voters views on Trump rather than factoring in Biden as a fully fledged candidate who is very weak and 3) the polling doesn’t capture how many will voters will go out and vote.

      In regard to the latter point Michael Moore said as such recently, noting that few Democrats are enthused by Biden at all. He thinks Trump can still win. He was also one of the few people who forecast Trump’s victory in 2016. (https://www.instagram.com/p/CBp7PnNnkFZ/?utm_source=ig_embed)

      Also, I don’t think many Americans have tuned in yet on Biden. I have – and I have reached the conclusion the man has the early signs of dementia. Once Biden becomes more visible the doubts will grow about whether he is capable of doing the job.

      Sure, there is around 42% of the population who hate Trump so much they will still vote for Biden. But for those swing voters who dislike Trump and would rather vote for someone else but don’t loath his guts, they will need to be persuaded that Biden is a better candidate than Trump. I’m not convinced at all that Biden can do it.

      Finally, I’ve looked at the historical models that try and predict elections. One, the Primary Model indicates a likely Trump win (http://primarymodel.com/?fbclid=IwAR12bkwME_8-fw3F7EpL1AhxCWEuKknvwfrC2RVrWDm3mJjuE3oCpSjT65Y) and two others I looked into suggest it could go either way. Either a tight Trump win or Biden win.

      Also, on African Americans, how many will bother to turn our and vote for Biden? As per Moore’s point, check out this piece – https://www.politico.com/news/magazine/2020/06/24/letter-to-washington-grosse-pointe-woods-325641?fbclid=IwAR2EmUdc-4BAg7mhn5kOvMritZI_cCBg02Lm318MLEL0G25hFr3cctZzKqA

      Bottom line, its all to play for.

  2. NoticedYourBlog2 says:

    Trump very narrowly won states like Michigan (0.2%). Wisconsin and PA (both under 1 % wins). . We can see Biden’s strength in those states. And states that should be safe for Trump are now in contention. This isn’t just something one has to base on polling- Trump campaign is making more ad buys in places that should be a lock. Biden is polling beyond the margin-of-error in multiple battleground states that put him well above 270. But rather than just look at polling- one should look at actual turn-out in the mid-terms. Democrats and GOP were both up, but Dems up by a lot more.

    Trump’s handling of the Virus is simply perceived not to be adequate. He provided endless fodder for ads with his statements such as the virus will just disappear, the virus will disappear in warmer weather. As we can see in current numbers, red states are only now getting hit hard. Even the Texas Governor has now had to shut down bars again. The idea that the economy will be a lot better in a few months doesn’t seem to comport with reality. If Biden’s lessening mental acuity doesn’t inspire confidence, I don’t understand how Trump’s blatant incompetence this year does either (and polling indicates it doesnt).

    BTW, I’m not sure what Michael Moore thinks is relevant. Yes, he predicted Trump’s election, but so what? He also predicted the Democrats wouldn’t take the House in the midterms. I don’t really go in for the argument-by-authority in political predictions. I need to see what data people are looking at when they make their statements.

    So, barring a complete Biden mental breakdown (which is possible), Trump is not only going to lose, but he’s going to lose pretty substantially.

    1. No denying the battlefield state polling looks bad right now.

      At this point in the 2016 presidential election Hilary Clinton had a double digit lead against Trump.

      Things can change by November. I stick with my forecast that Trump has a 60% chance of winning the election but Biden definitely could win it too. I just think it is less likely than the current polling suggests.

      We will see.

      1. NoticedYourBlog3 says:

        The guy floating delaying the election (as Trump just did this morning) is the one who is losing badly.

        Deaths are up and Trump is retweeting maniacs. The economy is in the crapper, there is no V shape recovery. His campaign has already given up on MI. He’s burnt toast.

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