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2020 Election Forecast - November

On the eve of Election Day 2020, the race for the presidency is, as expected, cloaked in uncertainty. One thing is for sure: Americans are voting in record numbers. According to the U.S. Election Project, more than 7 of every 10 votes cast nationwide in 2016 has been matched already in 2020. Some states have seen particularly eye-popping turnout, including 11 with 90% or more of their 2016 turnout:

110.6% - Hawaii

108.3% - Texas

99.1% - Montana

97.9% - Washington (state)

97.3% - New Mexico

96.7% - Nevada

95.8% - Oregon

95.4% - North Carolina

93.9% - Georgia

93.7% - Florida

92.9% - Arizona

Current polling averages remain solidly in Biden’s favor, although seven states remain within three points or fewer. These states, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, North Carolina, Ohio, and Texas, include several key battlegrounds. It is certainly alarming for the Trump campaign to be in close battles in Texas, Ohio, and Iowa, all solidly red states in 2016. However, what’s more striking are the states which aren’t so close. Neither Nevada nor any of the upper Midwestern states historically key to Democratic success are polling within 3 points (Pennsylvania is the closest at around 5 points). Although still within the margin of error, these polling deficits could spell doom for the Trump campaign. Trump has before him the monumental task of disrupting support for Biden in Pennsylvania or the Midwest, while still retaining virtually every state he won in 2016. Neither polling nor the more than 1 million-vote lead Biden carries into Election Day bode well for Trump in the Keystone State.

While both parties hoped to energize new voters, turnout data in North Carolina is almost too good to be true. Almost 1.3 million, or 28.5%, of the 4.55 million votes received as of November 2nd came from voters who did not participate in the 2016 election. This level of turnout has seemingly favored Democrats, who actually still hold a lead in in-person early voting. Coupled with the massive Democratic vote-by-mail advantage, this deficit could prove insurmountable for Trump on Election Day. Similarly, in Georgia, historically high turnout among an increasingly young and diverse electorate elevates Biden’s chances.

Late-race polling suggests Iowa and Ohio are trending somewhat redder, and both have moved to the Trump column since our October prediction. While Texas and Arizona have both seen incredible turnout as well, registration deficits mean that Biden will need a fairly substantial margin among Independent voters to capture either. In Florida, the opposite is true, as, despite gains by Republicans since 2016, Democrats retain a registration edge. Although this edge is slight, as is the roughly 100,000-vote lead Democrats carry into Election Day, it should be enough to carry Biden to victory, especially given his favorability among Independent voters.

Electoral Prediction

As in our previous predictions, those states polling within 3 points are outlined in gold.

Out of seven states polling within three points or fewer, we predict Trump to carry four, including the largest prize, Texas. However, these victories could be pyrrhic, as Biden wins in Florida, Georgia, and North Carolina, as well as a successful defense of the “Blue Wall” of the upper Midwest, would easily propel the Democrat to victory. Should we see blue in either Texas or Florida, both of which should report most results by Tuesday or Wednesday, the race will be over in a relative flash. Otherwise, the nation will lie in wait for days, or perhaps even weeks.

Until then, VOTE, and make sure everyone you know has a plan to do the same.

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