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The 2020 Presidential election forecast from State polling: a Biden tsunami threatens to swamp the GOP Senate

The 2020 Presidential election forecast from State polling: a Biden tsunami threatens to swamp the GOP Senate

For the past two weeks, I have posted a projection of the Electoral College vote based solely on State rather than national polls (since after all that is how the College operates) that have been reported in the last 30 days.

Here’s 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.

Here is the updated map as of the 4th of July:

There is one change since last week and it is an important one: by the barest of margins North Carolina has moved from toss-up to lean Biden.

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Frederick Douglass’s oration on the 4th of July (abridged)

Frederick Douglass’s oration on the 4th of July (abridged)

The middle portion of Douglass’s famous speech, delivered in 1852 to white abolitionists in Rochester, NY, where Douglass lived at the time, and is buried — “What, to the American slave, is your 4th of July?” — is best known.

But in the first portion he allowed for the celebration of the principles enunciated by the Founders in the Declaration of Independence: “your fathers, the fathers of this republic, did, most deliberately, under the inspiration of a glorious patriotism, and with a sublime faith in the great principles of justice and freedom, lay deep the corner-stone of the national superstructure.”

And in the Concluding portion, he “dr[e]w[ ] encouragement from the Declaration of Independence, the great principles it contains, and the genius of American Institutions” for the future.

In our own moment of critical trial and literal iconoclasm, Douglass’s ability to see the Founding Fathers as 3 dimensional, lauding their accomplishments as well as damning their collusion in evil, and for girding one’s loins to the crisis of the present, with abiding hope for the universality of decency and justice in the future, is particularly inspiring.
____________________

The papers and placards say, that I am to deliver a 4th [of] July oration.
The fact is, ladies and gentlemen, the distance between this platform and the slave plantation, from which I escaped, is considerable—
This, for the purpose of this celebration, is the 4th of July. It is the birthday of your National Independence, and of your political freedom. This, to you, is what the Passover was to the emancipated people of God. It carries your minds back to the day, and to the act of your great deliverance; and to the signs, and to the wonders, associated with that act, and that day. This celebration also marks the beginning of another year of your national life; … The eye of the reformer is met with angry flashes, portending disastrous times; but his heart may well beat lighter at the thought that America is young, and that she is still in the impressible stage of her existence. May he not hope that high lessons of wisdom, of justice and of truth, will yet give direction to her destiny? Were the nation older, the patriot’s heart might be sadder, and the reformer’s brow heavier. Its future might be shrouded in gloom, and the hope of its prophets go out in sorrow. There is consolation in the thought that America is young. ….
there was a time when to pronounce against England, and in favor of the cause of the colonies, tried men’s souls. They who did so were accounted in their day, plotters of mischief, agitators and rebels, dangerous men. To side with the right, against the wrong, with the weak against the strong, and with the oppressed against the oppressor! here lies the merit, and the one which, of all others, seems unfashionable in our day. The cause of liberty may be stabbed by the men who glory in the deeds of your fathers. But, to proceed….

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June data starts out with a bright spot in manufacturing

June data starts out with a bright spot in manufacturing

Earlier this week the last of the regional Fed Districts, Dallas, reported their manufacturing indexes for June. The overall picture has been a strong rebound:

Regional Fed New Orders Indexes

(*indicates report this week) 

On a month over month basis, the average is up +36 from -30 to +6

=The regional Fed indexes almost always telegraph the direction, and sometimes the amplitude, of the ISM manufacturing index for the entire country. That was certainly the case for June.

This morning the ISM reported that manufacturing in the US rebounded strongly, up +9.5 from a contracting reading of 43.1 to an expanding reading of 52.6. The even more forward-looking new orders subindex rose from a horrible 31.8 to a strongly expansionary 56.4:

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June jobs report: the last hurrah of the wished-for “V-shaped” coronavirus recovery

June jobs report: the last hurrah of the wished-for “V-shaped” coronavirus recovery

HEADLINES:
  • 4,800,000 million jobs added. This makes up about 22% of the 22.1 million job losses in March and April.
  • U3 unemployment rate improved 2.2% from 13.3% to 11.1%, compared with the January low of 3.5%.
  • U6 underemployment rate improved 3.2% from 21.2% to 18.0%, compared with the January low of 6.9%.
  • Those on temporary layoff declined 4,778,000 to 10.565 million.
  • Permanent job losers increased by 588,000.
  • April was revised downward by -100,000. May was revised higher by 190,000 respectively, for a net of 90,000 more jobs gained compared with previous reports.

Leading employment indicators of a slowdown or recession

 

I am still highlighting these because of their leading nature for the economy overall.  These were uniformly very positive:

  • the average manufacturing workweek rose 0.5 hours from a downwardly revised 38.7 hours to 39.2 hours. This is one of the 10 components of the LEI and will be positive.
  • Manufacturing jobs rose by 356,000. Manufacturing has still lost 757,000  jobs in the past 4 months, or 6% of the total.
  • construction jobs rose by 158,000. Even so, in the past 4 months 472,000 construction jobs have been lost, or about 6% of the total.
  • Residential construction jobs, which are even more leading, rose by 19,100. Even so, in the past 4 months there have still been 45,900 lost jobs or about 5% of the total.
  • temporary jobs rose by 148,900. Since February, there have still been 696,100 jobs lost, or 24% of all temporary help jobs.
  • the number of people unemployed for 5 weeks or less declined by 1.037 million to 2.838 million, compared with April’s total of 14.283 million. This is similar to the “less awful” readings of the weekly initial jobless claims.
  • Professional and business employment rose by 306,000, which is still 1.830 million, or about 8% below its February peak.

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Coronavirus dashboard for June 29: renewed exponential growth in infections, decline in deaths has stalled

Coronavirus dashboard for June 29: renewed exponential growth in infections, decline in deaths has stalled

Total US infections: 2,549,069,  42,161 in last day

Total US deaths: 125,803,  273 in last day

Here is the regional breakdown of the 7 day average of new cases per capita:

There is renewed exponential growth in the South and West. The Midwest also is beginning to look bad.

 

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The US Presidential election as forecast by State polling: tending towards a Biden blowout?

The US Presidential election as forecast by State polling: tending towards a Biden blowout?

Last week I posted a projection of the Electoral College vote based solely on State rather than national polls (since after all that is how the College operates) that have been reported in the last 30 days. There has been extensive polling in the past week, so I have updated the map.

Here’s 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.

Here is the updated map:

The most important change since last week is that we got extensive polling for Pennsylvania, which moves that State from toss-up into likely Biden. Florida and Minnesota both moved one category more firmly into Biden territory.

Even though I certainly expect some of the Confederate States, like Texas and Arkansas, to return to the Trump fold, as of now, if Biden were to simply win the States in which he leads by 5% or more in the polling, he would win the Electoral College, without even winning a single “toss-up” or “lean Biden” State as shown on the map.

Last week I noted that Trump always polls his worst when he appears both cruel and clueless. Let me illustrate that using Nate Silver’s graph of Trump approval and disapproval

Trump polled his best during the impeachment and immediately after when he briefly seemed to take the coronavirus seriously; the “rally round the flag” effect. Conversely, his worst approvals have come at four times:

     (1) late 2017, when he tried – and failed – to repeal Obamacare. That was cruel, and he failed at it.
     (2) summer 2018, during the “kids in cages” publicity. It was intentionally and especially cruel, and again, it didn’t even “solve the problem” from the RW point of view.
     (3) the government shutdown of January 2019. Again, it was cruel, and he failed.
     (4) the coronavirus pandemic now. Trump basically wants old people to go ahead and die now so that the economy can recover in time for the election. Again, cruel – and it isn’t working anyway. And on top of that, he is advocating for police brutality and Confederate statues – two other issues on which the majority is firmly on the other side.

Trump has totally backed himself into a corner where the pandemic is concerned. He can’t suddenly start taking it seriously again. After all, that would be admitting that he was wrong before. And the pandemic will not be controlled in the next several months, which means the economy is not going to meaningfully improve. Indeed, in the recklessly reopened States, where businesses will likely have to close again, it is probably going to get worse. And some of these are swing States.

Finally, Biden is a well-known politician. He isn’t a newcomer like Dukakis who can be defined by a few devastating ads. While Trump’s standing may revert towards his mean, I just don’t see a big improvement from here. If anything, I think it is more likely that more of his fans abandon him as they sense that he will lose, and the US election moves towards a Biden blowout.

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Coronavirus dashboard for June 27: infections -> hospitalizations -> deaths

Coronavirus dashboard for June 27: infections -> hospitalizations -> deaths

Total US infections: 2,480,786,  44,373 new cases
Total US deaths: 125,120,  619 new deathsA quandary over the past month has been why deaths declined so much more than new cases, while cases were declining; and more recently why deaths have continued to decline in the face of soaring new infections.Is it because of better treatments? Changing demographics – e.g., fewer nursing home cases, more younger people? Or is something more even more fundamental with the nature of the virus itself going on? In short, should we expect deaths to continue to decline, or to turn up following the increase in new infections?I am expecting deaths to begin to rise again, imminently.Here’s why: the progression is:
– first, infections increase/decrease
-second, hospitalizations increase/decrease
-finally, deaths increase/decrease.

The problem in the US data has been that hospitalizations have been missing from almost all compilations. That’s because not all States – and most especially, Florida – track hospitalizations.

Conor Kelly, however, *does* track reported hospitalizations from all States which have reported for at least 30 days, which totals roughly 40 States. So if deaths are going to start to increase again, it should first appear in this data. Further, if this is because of the reckless reopening of some States, it should most plainly appear in those regions. With that in mind, here is the data.

Total US hospitalizations bottomed on June 14 at 26,441. In the 12 days since, they have risen by almost 14% to 30,065:

One benefit of Conor Kelly’s compilation is that it allows users to generate customized regions of States. So, for example, here is the data for the East Coast megalopolis from Maine through Virginia:

 

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All 4 coincident indicators of recession improved in May vs. April

All 4 coincident indicators of recession improved in May vs. April

With this morning’s release of personal income and spending, we now have all 4 coincident indicators for May that the NBER uses to determine whether the economy is in a recession or recovery/expansion. And all 4 improved from their “most horrible” readings in April.

A recession is a generalized downturn in production, employment, sales, and income. The “income” metric that the NBER uses is “real personal income excluding current transfer receipts,” (basically, government program payments to individuals) and as shown in the graph below, it improved from April:

Still a horrible decline from February, but “less horrible” compared to April.

 

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Initial jobless claims improve slightly; continuing claims resume decline

Initial jobless claims improve slightly; continuing claims resume decline

Weekly initial and continuing jobless claims give us the most up-to-date snapshot of the continuing economic impacts of the coronavirus on employment. More than three full months after the initial shock, the overall damage remains huge, with large spreading new secondary impacts. The positive news is that the total number of claims, including continuing claims, has resumed being “less awful,” likely meaning more people have been recalled to their jobs than have newly lost them.

First, here are initial jobless claims both seasonally adjusted (blue) and non- seasonally adjusted (red). The non-seasonally adjusted number is of added importance since seasonal adjustments should not have more than a trivial effect on the huge real numbers:

Figure 1

There were 1.457 million new claims, only 6,000 less than one week ago. After seasonal adjustment, this became 1.480 million, “only” 60,000 less than last week’s number. While the trend of the past 45 days of slight declines in new claims continues, this is the smallest weekly decline since the worst reading in April. Further, this objectively continues to show huge second-order impacts continuing to spread.

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Coronavirus dashboard for June 23: focusing on deaths, and the Trumpist South and Southwest

Coronavirus dashboard for June 23: focusing on deaths, and the Trumpist South and Southwest

Confirmed total US infections: 2,312,302. (+31,433 in past 24 hours)
Confirmed total US deaths: 120,402 (+425 in past 24 hours)

We know that new cases are accelerating again. Is it translating into an increase in deaths? The answer appears to be: not yet, but getting close.

Here is the 7 day average of new deaths in the US:

Figure 1

In the past 3 days, the decline has ceased at roughly 610/day.

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