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

7 thoughts on “After the Conventions

  1. JustPassingThrough says:

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

    You pasted this

    ‘“Enrique argues that, contrary to the current headlines, we’re in the 7th or 8th inning of defeating the coronavirus. He expects cases, hospitalizations, and deaths in the U.S. to plunge in the next six weeks, which, when combined with unprecedented fiscal and monetary stimulus, could lead to a 1999-style “melt up” in the markets going into the end of the year.”

    Now you’re saying you predicted they would ‘improve’. There’s a big difference between improving and plunging. They have not plunged. We still had over 1000 deaths on Monday, for instance! That’s a lot, esp considering treatments have improved.

    Your ideas on herd immunity suddenly coming on within 2 months and making people here forget about the virus are not even comprehensible.

    I tried explaining before that grouping all the battleground states together makes no sense, since Biden can lose some of them and still win. Why not just look at each individual state?

    ‘In particular, the Republican attempt to soften Trump’s image worked well with independent voters, ‘

    Notice FOX (whose focus group pollster you automatically accept) has Biden now up by 8 in WI. So much for the riots hurting him there.


    1. Hi

      According to the data I have reviewed, new cases have dropped from over 60k to 40k since 1st August – a drop of a third. Current hospitalizations have dropped from 60k to below 40k in a month (August). Yes, deaths aren’t plunging yet but on the other metrics we are seeing a significant improvement in the data. If those trends continue than I think you can reasonably say that was a plunge (at least in cases and hospitalizations). Deaths may be a lagging indiicator but we will see.

      Either way, the trend is clear – things are improving (something that you were skeptical about when I wrote the blog in July) across the board and that is benefiting Trump.

      In regard to herd immunity there is a growing body of science that suggests that once 15 to 20% of the population get the virus new cases fade away. If you disagree with that, that’s fine but its hardly incomprehensible.

      Nor did I say that people would forget about the virus. It will remain an issue but won’t be quite as important to the voter as it was back in the Summer when cases were surging across the West and South. Other issues, particularly the economy and jobs will come back as key concerns for the voter when thinking about who is best to run the country over the next 4 years.

      I’m not going to analyse every battlefield state, the trend is clear that Trump has narrowed the Biden advantage in polls across the swing states that will decide who will be the next president. Some polls show a bigger Biden lead, others suggest its much narrower.

      My main point, which seemed to have missed you, is that if the overall polls show Biden with only a overall 3% lead, this is still a competitive race.

      As for the focus group pollster, she isn’t a FOX but an independent one who happened to be interviewed by Fox during the RNC and DNC conventions. Her focus group findings were interesting and I have found in the past that focusing on how swing voters shift is key to seeing how elections can unfold.

      During the Brexit referendum campaign the undecided/swing voters appear to be shifting to Leave and this was missed by many who focused obsessively on the narrow polling lead for the Remain campaign going into the final days of the race. In the end the polls were wrong and those, including me who forecast a Leave win, were right.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. JustPassingThrough says:

        Did you hear all the rhetoric of Trump that we were testing too much? Well, that wasn’t just talk, it’s affecting policy.

        People (suburban moms who vote) are aware of outbreaks at colleges, which is causing disruptions and schools going back online. People know others who are hospitalized or suffering from the long-term affects. And deaths are still high- multiple days last week with over 1000 people dying. So just looking at case drop needs some context.

        Hospitalization figures are trickier. But even the CDC is saying some models predict an increase in them in the next few weeks ‘This week, three national forecasts predict a likely increase in the number of new hospitalizations per day over the next four weeks, three forecasts predict a likely decline, and two forecasts are either uncertain about the direction of the trend or predict stable numbers.’

        ‘In regard to herd immunity there is a growing body of science that suggests that once 15 to 20% of the population get the virus new cases fade away. If you disagree with that, that’s fine but its hardly incomprehensible’

        Most researchers don’t think it’s that low for the herd immunity threshold. Regardless, what I meant by incomprehensible is the short timespan you’re giving for this to happen. We won’t reach 20% infected for the country in another 9 weeks, let alone reach enough that key suburban voters put it on the backburner of concerns.

        ‘It’s still uncertain what percentage of a population would need to be immune to the virus in order to attain herd immunity. According to Johns Hopkins University, in general, the answer is 70 to 90 percent of a population, depending on how contagious the infection is. But a model published last month in the magazine Science found that the threshold needed for coronavirus herd immunity could be as low as 43 percent. ‘

        ‘My main point, which seemed to have missed you, is that if the overall polls show Biden with only a overall 3% lead, this is still a competitive race.’

        Again, if states Biden neither needs nor that have voted for Dem for President in a long time (ie AZ, GA) are included as battleground states, you’re going to get a skewed result on the average. That’s why it’s key to look at individual states.

        Anyway, there’s been two more polls showing Biden comfortably ahead in Wisconsin. So, saying the troubles there sunk his campaign isn’t really viable.


      2. Hi

        Thanks for the robust responses by the way! Always good to be challenged as I don’t have a monopoly on truth!

        In terms of Covid, if your thesis is right and the drop in the number of confirmed cases in the past month has been driven by reduced testing (and not a drop in the virus circulating) one would have thought you would have seen a continued rise in hospitalisations.

        The fact that the numbers for both testing and those going to hospital have dropped suggests to me that overall the actual virus is fading away. Whilst the CDC have forecast rising hospitalisation, until I see the numbers reverse in the coming weeks I will cautiously stick with the optimistic view that this virus is abating.

        In terms of herd immunity, I know my view is a minority one – at the moment – but there is a interesting debate on why the virus appears to fade away after roughly 20% of the population is infected.

        I’m no scientist but it makes sense to me. I follow the following newsletter that agrees with this analysis:

        “coronavirus email list, simply send a blank email to:

        In terms of the polls, we can ding dong as much as we like on polling but it comes down to confidence. After 2016 I’m not that confident that the bulk of the polling out there is accurately capturing the real state of this race.

        I have greater confidence in the few pollsters who got 2016 right – primarily Trafalgar Group ( And they are, again, outliers this time round with polling that suggests that the race is very competitive.

        I saw a similar thing in the UK. The pollsters who successfully forecast the 2017 general election – a hung parliament – had, again, a very different set of polling numbers during the campaign to the rest of the pollsters during the 2019 general election. Those 3 polling agencies who got 2017 right were forecasting a large Tory majority in 2019.

        Again, they were right and the rest of the polling industry was wrong.

        My hunch, and it is only a instinct, is that the same is happening in America. A few outlier pollsters are right and the rest of the polling industry is under-estimating Trump’s support through flaws in their methodology.

        You are perfectly reasonable to disagree with that. And we will only find out after the election who is right!


  2. ananymouc says:

    “Nor did I say that people would *forget* about the virus.”
    Of course you didn’t.
    Today’s Lefties are so addicted to straw-manning those with the gall to oppose them, that they just can’t help themselves.
    Maybe you already knew that, but it doesn’t hurt to remind others of this addiction of theirs.


    1. PassingThrough says:

      Eh, I made an honest mistake. It’s a lot to remember everything typed and then construct a rebuttal going up and down on the page, it seemed as if it was the general gist of his remarks about it. It wasn’t purposely malicious. You’re making a lot of assumptions, but I’m not going to generalize that to an ideological position as you did.


      1. ananymouc says:

        I’d hesitate to generalize that to an ideological position, except that such conduct has become so boilerplate for the left, in the last 5 years or so.


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