Election Update: August 31, 2020

Is The Race Tightening, Is It Not? Analysis The Pundit Paranoia Eight Weeks Out

If you’ve been politically active in the past week, you’ve probably heard a lot of “Trump’s reelection chances rising!” takes. With the RNC ending and chaos and violence breaking out in some cities – most notable Kenosha, in a swing county in a swing state, its been a few days of “Are Democrats blowing it?” narratives again.

But even if some polls show tightening – and there probably is some tightening- Biden is still ahead by a significant amount, about where Obama won in 2008, and is over 50 percent in most polls, meaning undecideds are few and far between. Also, we saw “is it slipping from Democrats” in 2017 and 2018 as well before Democrats won big.

So where are we eight weeks out?

Public Policy Polling has a new poll out of Georgia – a must win Trump state – that as been solidly Republican since 1996. Biden leads Trump by 1 – 47%-46% – and Trump’s numbers are underwater with 52% disapproving. More interestingly, the undecided seem to be anti-Trump. There are no undecideds among 2016 Trump voters, but eight percent of Hillary voters are undecided, as are 8 percent of Democrats and 14 percent of Independents. These voters are largely in Metro Atlanta and largely made up of young people and people of color, not demographics friendly to Trump.

Also, a recent poll showed third party voters from 2016 are breaking for Biden 2-1. If that holds, it would probably win him the election by winning him battleground states where Trump won in 2016 with a plurality – Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Florida, Arizona and perhaps North Carolina.

Further, a Military Times poll shows Biden ahead of Trump with active military, though with a huge undecided number. If that’s true, that would be an earthshaking result. Active military members have voted Republican for as long as anyone could guess. I’d be shocked if Biden won the majority of active military votes, but even a result in the low to mid 40s could turn states like North Carolina and Arizona.

For now my map hasn’t really changed, except that I still can’t quite get my head around Texas being a tossup, so I left it in Trump’s column, and I can quite get my head around Florida being lean Biden, so its still a tossup. CBS recently did a poll of every state that showed Trump with only a small lead in several solid red states like Alaska, Indiana, Missouri, Kansas and South Carolina, so if the race does break toward Biden – and it could if COVID gets worse again or the economy doesn’t improve – then we could see some red states turning blue that we didn’t expect. That does happen in landslides (For example: Reagan winning Massachusetts in 1980; Bush winning Maryland in 1988; Clinton winning Montana in 1992 and Florida in 1996; Obama winning Indiana in 2008).

The other tossups – Georgia, North Carolina, Ohio, Iowa and Maine’s 2nd District are all still in that category.

The election is in 64 days!

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