Today marks 100 days until the general election in America. I thought I would take a look at what some of the top election handicappers are projecting for the presidential race in November.
Cook Political Report is currently forecasting 308 Electoral College (EC) votes as solid, likely, or lean Democrat, compared to 187 solid, likely, or lean EC votes for the Republicans (270 EC votes are required to win). Three states plus Maine’s Second Congressional District are toss-ups (43 EC votes).
Sabato ranks 268 EC votes towards the Democrats (just two shy of a win), with 204 votes towards the Republicans. Sabato puts slightly more toss-up states on the map than Cook, with 66 EC votes falling in this category.
The Democrats have the least amount of EC votes in their column in this projection from 270 to Win, with 248 in their column compared to 204 for the GOP. This scenario also has the most amount of EC toss-up votes in play with 86.
As of this writing, it certainly looks like the president is playing defense. In each of the above projections, the states in the Rust Belt that he narrowly carried to win the presidency (Pennsylvania, Michigan, & Wisconsin) are rated toss-ups at best, and leaning in Biden’s direction at worst. Democrats in each of these states won statewide races in 2018, so the wind was already in their sails heading into 2020, & with Pennsylvania born Biden as the Democratic nominee their odds of winning these states increases.
There’s evidence that other states the president last carried are also in trouble. North Carolina, which flipped from blue to red in 16 after voting for President Obama in 2008 & 2012, is rated as a toss-up in all three of the projections. Arizona, which last voted for a Democrat for president in 1996, is also rated a toss-up in all three.
Finally, the biggest sign that the electoral landscape is leaning towards the Democrats is the fact that Texas only leans Republican & is not firmly in the GOP’s column. Texas, which has the second highest amount of EC votes than any other state besides California, last voted for a Democrat for president in 1976. Yet there are signs that the state is getting bluer. Trump won the state by just nine points in 2016, & Beto O’Rourke came just three points shy of besting Ted Cruz in the 2018 Senate race.
There are other signs besides these projections that show the president is now the underdog.
- Biden has outraised Trump for the past two straight months (never a good sign for an incumbent at any level of office, from president down to alderman).
- Biden is leading Trump in donors in five of the six states that flipped from blue to red in 2016 (Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio, & Iowa).
- Trump’s approval rating is now just 38 percent, around the same number as Presidents Carter & H.W. Bush at this point in their terms. Both were the only presidents to lose re-election for a second term after World War II, so far…
- Last month the president’s campaign started placing ads in Georgia, a state that hasn’t voted for a Democrat for president since 1992. It’s rated as a toss-up in the Cook Political Report’s projection.
Thankfully, the president does not have a lot of time to turn his campaign around. The coronavirus pandemic has put a much bigger emphasis on early & mail-in voting, & voters will be able to start voting in the swing states of Michigan, Pennsylvania, & North Carolina in September (just six weeks from now). This makes any possibility of a James Comey-style October surprise much less likely as people will already have been voting early & by mail at that point.
While I am cautiously optimistic that the race is trending in Biden’s favor, by no means is the outcome foredained. If Trump declares a national emergency & sends troops to “safeguard” the election, this will intimidate voters of color & low-income voters from going to the polls (the Republicans are already doing a test-run of this strategy by recruiting people in 15 states to act as “poll watchers” and challenge people’s voter registrations). Due to the aforementioned reliance on early & mail-in voting in this election, the wait for a certified winner will certainly stretch beyond Election Day, & the GOP will use this period of uncertainty to sow doubt & challenge the results by filing frivolous lawsuits. One of these lawsuits, unfortunately, could become the next Bush v. Gore in potentially shaping the outcome, as this Supreme Court (despite some wins for liberals) has not been a friend to voting rights.
Finally, despite the Biden’s campaign recent sucess at outraising Trump, the president still enjoys a decent cash-on-hand advantage, so he can currently afford to advertise in more states than Biden. Re-assuringly, he’s spending money in states that should be safe for him (see above RE: Georgia), but the cash-on-hand advantage will lead to a tightening in the polls in my opinion.
Nothing should be taken for granted in this election – with more than 145,000 Americans dead of COVID-19, we have to toss this administration out for this & all of its atrocities. Make sure you are registered to vote at https://iwillvote.com/.
This Week’s WTF Moment in Congress
This week’s edition was easy: it was Rep. Ted Yoho’s non-apology to Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC) after he called her a “fucking bitch.” AOC totally owned him in response.
The media is covering this election all wrong (Press Watch)
Can Trump sell fear to the suburbs? (Washington Post)