After the Conventions

Wisconsin 3

Financial Times


“The Democratic party seems to have miscalculated fatally in encouraging the riots — it’s been a truism of American politics for many decades that when voters are frightened for their physical safety, they back conservative candidates.” 

John Michael Greer, August 2020 Open Post


Future historians may judge the past week as the key point when the Democrats lost the 2020 presidential election.

The failure of the former-Vice-President Joe Biden at the Democratic Party Convention to condemn the riots, looting and unrest spawned by the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement contrasted strongly with the powerful law-and-order message promoted by the Republicans.

The scenes from Kenosha, Wisconsin (a key battlefield state), appalled most Americans and proved a powerful backdrop to the GOP Convention last week. As John Greer wrote on his blog recently, voters tend to go for conservative candidates when they feel insecure and frightened.

According to this pollster, Lee Carter, who ran focus group polling throughout the two conventions, independent/swing voters connected with the Republicans in a way they didn’t with the Democrats. See here and here.

In particular, the Republican attempt to soften Trump’s image worked well with independent voters, along with GOP messaging on the economy and crime. I expect the Republicans to continue to hammer the Democrats on the perception that they are weak on law and order, lack patriotism and are a risk to a post-Covid recovery in the economy.

In my last post, I predicted that the Covid situation would start improving in the States and that was over four weeks ago.

Covid cases

Whitney Tilson


This graph shows the continued decline in US and Canadian daily cases since July. The dotted line shows what the likely trend will be if it continues.

Here is a different graph, tracking the Covid cases in America and the betting market’s probability of a Democrat win.

Covid cases 2



There is a pattern.

If the number of new infections continues to fall going into Autumn, we should expect to see the Democratic lead in the betting markets (which reflects the wider polling) to continue to narrow.

The current polling continues to show a Biden advantage but in the key battlefield states, that lead has now shrunk to 2.7%, within the margin of error.

Battlefield state polling



Long-time readers of this blog know that I remain skeptical of some of the polls out there showing huge leads for Biden in battlefield states. If the overall Biden lead is 2.7%, my instinct would be to suggest that the election in these key states is now virtually  a tie.

Interestingly, Bloomberg recently published an article suggesting that the “shy Trump” voter may not be a myth (as some have suggested) and there well may be “hidden” Trump voters out there.

My opinion is that it does exist, it is real, although I cannot say with any confidence whether there are less or more shy voters this year compared to 2016. My American readers would be in a better position to judge on this than me.

My expectation is that the Covid pandemic will continue to abate, as more parts of America hit de facto herd immunity – when roughly 15 to 20% of the population have been infected – and the issue will fade as a public concern going into November.

The polling will likely, for a while at least, show a sustained Biden advantage but in the battlefield states, the race will become more competitive as swing voters focus on the economy and law and order issues which will politically benefit President Trump.

Many undecided/swing voters will tune into the debates to make their final mind up on who to vote for. Who performs best during these upcoming debates will have the momentum going into the final weeks of the presidential election.

I would be interested in what my readers think about who is likely to win the election and why. Please feel free to add your comments at the bottom of this blog.

The two conventions, and the positive response of those independent voters who watched the GOP convention, reinforces my view that President Trump remains the most likely to win this election.




After the Conventions