Here is my weekly update on the 2020 elections, based on State rather than national polling in the past 30 days, since that directly reflects what is likely to happen in the Electoral College. Remember that polls are really only nowcasts, not forecasts. They are snapshots of the present; there is no guarantee they will be identical or nearly identical in early November.
Let’s begin with Trump’s approval. After several weeks of improvement, last week Trump’s approval eroded very slightly, and this week was virtually unchanged – and remains right in its normal range for the past 3 1/2 years:
It is safe to say that Trump’s post-convention, “law and order” bounce has plateaued. There is no information yet as to how the passing of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg may impact the result.
Here is this week’s updated map through September 19. To refresh, here is how it works:
– States where the race is closer than 3% are shown as toss-ups.
– States where the range is between 3% to 5% are light colors.
– States where the range is between 5% and 10% are medium colors.
– States where the candidate is leading by 10% plus are dark colors.
KY and LA went from likely to solid Trump. Meanwhile, Maine’s 2nd Congressional district went from toss-up to lean Biden.
While Biden’s “solid” plus “likely” Electoral College votes have declined from their peak of 302 seven weeks ago, this week they are at 284 from their low two weeks ago of 279.
I believe the public’s perception of both the economy and Trump’s handling of the pandemic have congealed. I do expect some further incremental improvement in Trump’s position as voters who were leaning GOP “come home.”
The passing of Justice Ginsburg can only be likened to igniting thermonuclear war over the Supreme Court. Intensity on both sides is going to be white-hot, and turnout is likely to be even heavier if that were possible. I do not dare predict at this time which side might *relatively* benefit at the polls.
Turning to the Senate, there have also been 4 changes this week, all but 1 benefitting the democrats:
MT and SC both improved from “lean GOP” to toss-up. GA’s second Senate seat moved from “likely” to “lean GOP.” Meanwhile, KY moved from “likely” to “solid GOP.” Democrat donors who are contributing to Amy McGrath’s race against Mitch McConnell are lighting their money on fire; it would do much better good elsewhere.
At current polling, if Democrats win all those seats rated “solid” and “likely,” they will have 50 Senate seats; up to 56 with the “toss-ups,” and 57 if they were to capture the “lean GOP” seat. A shift in the control of the Senate is looking more and more likely.
I am a politics junkie.
But, I just want this to be over.
Normalcy would be soothing.
No Covid, no Fat Donnie from Queens.
In other news…
President Trump declines to commit to peaceful transfer of power if he loses
AP via @BostonGlobe – September 23
WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump on Wednesday declined to commit to a peaceful transfer of power if he loses the Nov. 3 presidential election.
“We’re going to have to see what happens,” Trump said at a news conference, responding to a question about whether he’d commit to a peaceful transfer of power. “You know that I’ve been complaining very strongly about the ballots, and the ballots are a disaster.”
Trump has been pressing a monthslong campaign against mail-in voting this November by tweeting and speaking out critically about the practice. More states are encouraging mail-in voting to keep voters safe amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The president, who uses mail-in voting himself, has tried to distinguish between states that automatically send mail ballots to all registered voters and those, like Florida, that send them only to voters who request a mail ballot.
Trump has baselessly claimed widespread mail voting will lead to massive fraud. The five states that routinely send mail ballots to all voters have seen no significant fraud.
Trump on Wednesday appeared to suggest that if states got “rid of” the unsolicited mailing of ballots there would be no concern about fraud or peaceful transfers of power.
“You’ll have a very peaceful — there won’t be a transfer frankly,” Trump said. “There’ll be a continuation. The ballots are out of control, you know it, and you know, who knows it better than anybody else? The Democrats know it better than anybody else.”
It’s unlikely that any chaos in states with universal mail-in voting will cause the election result to be inaccurately tabulated, as Trump has suggested.
The five states that already have such balloting have had time to ramp up their systems, while four states newly adopting it — California, New Jersey, Nevada and Vermont — have not. Washington, D.C., is also newly adopting it.
Of those nine states, only Nevada is a battleground, worth six electoral votes and likely to be pivotal only in a national presidential deadlock.
California, New Jersey, Vermont and D.C. are overwhelmingly Democratic and likely to be won by that party’s nominee, former Vice President Joe Biden.
Let’s freaking hope so. Senate rules, ya know?