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Analysis | The Data Shows Joe Biden Will Win And It Won't Be Particularly Close

I'm not one bit worried.

I'm Dr. Nick and I'll be your election week Valium.

I've spent countless hours looking at all of the psephologists and heavily invested in the prediction markets and they tell me better than a flawed Des Moines Register poll and a big (stranded) crowd in Butler, Pennsylvania this weekend that those fervently desiring to turn Trump out shouldn't be spooked that we're about to see 2016 all over again.

Here's why.

1. District-level polling all over upstate New York (including along the length of the state that sits atop Pennsylvania), in Pennsylvania itself, and in Michigan, Wisconsin and the rest of the Midwest where Obama won in 2012 shows areas that were trending red and then went red in 2016 that are turning back to Biden. Seemingly everyone but Dave "The Oracle" Wasserman from the The Cook Political Report has ignored this, but this is why Cook projects the Dems to gain five to 15 House seats. In 2016, gains in both the House and Senate were going the Republicans way. Says Wasserman:

2. Trump was clearly up on the largest voting bloc of them all in poll after poll in 2016: Independents. Not so now.

3. The broken polls and models of 2016 were mostly fixed by 2018 and are more dependable this year because of it. Back then, most pollsters just didn't bother weighting for education because they felt it wasn't that important. Turns out, it is. (Apparently Ann Selzer didn't get the memo.)

Consequently, there were no major surprises in 2018. We all saw a blue wave coming, those who were objectively looking at the lay of the land were battening down the hatches for one. Election Day came and went and the Dems swept into the House majority.

4. Hillary Clinton never left the margin of error in most of the swing state polls. Biden's lead is considerably stronger.

5. Clinton ignored her firewall states and barely lost those. She opted to visit Georgia and North Carolina in an overconfident attempt to expand her mandate but was four years too early (and not the right candidate to do so). Now Biden is in a position to do just that.

6. Real Clear Politics averages (actual result):

2004: Bush +2.6 (Bush +2.4)

2008: Obama +6.5 (Obama +7.3)

2012: Obama +0.1 (Obama +3.9)

2016: Clinton +1.6 (Clinton +2.1)

2020: Biden +7.4 (TBD)

7. Record turnout nearly everywhere, especially among young voters - voters who skew heavily Democrat.

8. RE: voter suppression. Where?

Of course we're seeing suppression efforts - but not enough to move the needle.


Harris County (Houston) had 1.3 million votes in 2016. It has gotten bluer and bluer. It's already surpassed that with early votes. It's on track to get 1.7 million votes; those extra 400k breaking for Biden at 2016 rates would make it close compared to the 2018 Cruz-Beto race. And then there's Austin, San Antonio, Dallas, Ft. Worth and the entire Rio Grande Valley (Beto territory). Texas is in play, and no matter of suppression attempts is going to overcome the trend.

9. Trump may win Florida, but he also may not.

You may have read that Biden doesn't have the Miami-Dade Hispanic vote the way that Clinton did, and that's true. But Trump is hemorrhaging the senior citizen vote at an even worse clip statewide (and nationwide). I can guarantee you that any campaign manager would rather be in Biden's position than Trump's here.

10. Follow the money.

This is not just an intellectual exercise for me - I am very heavily invested into the prediction market.

Arnold Rothstein allegedly said that he never bet on anything that he didn't already know the outcome to. I haven't fixed anything, but I've spent countless hours examining the election science, crowd-sourcing scenarios, data, demographics, polling, paid researchers (Wasserman, Cook, 538, etc).

I'm not gambling, I'm investing. I'm finding mispriced markets and market inefficiencies. There's a lot of MAGA money out there gambling with their emotions. I hate Biden as the Democratic nominee; he sucks. I have no emotions about this or a personal affinity for anyone. No respect for the money on this nor the candidates involved.

I wouldn't be putting my money into this if I didn't think it was worth the time or the stress. There are quite simply many mispriced markets thanks to the MAGA crowd trying to make 2 + 2 = 5 despite all of the factors above. Confirmation bias is running high.

The Bottom Line

Trump has a very narrow path. I'd say he's got no more than a 4% chance he draws an inside straight. But I wouldn't bet on it. Too many countless things will have to fall into place for that to happen.

In 2016, many of us, myself included, largely ignored the signs. They were all there, staring right at us. I chose to ignore that Bernie campaign staffers were raising the alarm bells in Wisconsin and Michigan after the convention, and so did the Clinton campaign.

District-level polling was rapidly moving away from the Democrats and Trump's momentum was a snowball to avalanche effect in real time.

The Maps

This is the map I think Biden has locked in right now: 271 EV.



A more bullish map for Biden:


But It Shouldn't Be This Close! IT ISN'T

The election was over right around the time Trump got COVID!

This is all just outside of massive polling errors that have been resolved since 2016. Perhaps something unseen is manifesting, like mold in your brand new house you just bought and your inspector missed it. There's always a possibility.

It will need more than bad polling and some local chapters of the KKK or Proud Boys to intimidate people. Tens of millions of votes have been cast and are locked in stone. The "hidden Trump voter" is a non-issue. Who is too scared to tell a pollster over the phone they are voting for Trump? Trending and polling to this day continues to move towards Biden and the Democrats.

Guarded optimism is fine. Don't just take my word for it. Go to Wasserman's Twitter feed and read his entire timeline for the past week, and more. Just keep scrolling.and reading. His track record speaks for itself over the years on his analysis and calling races as they happen.

Then go to bed and call me in the morning.


Comments welcome.


Posted on November 2, 2020

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