Wednesday, July 1, 2020

BTRTN 2020 Presidential State-by-State Snapshot: The Utter Brilliance of the Biden Campaign

Tom with a BTRTN update of the 2020 presidential race...not a prediction, just a “snapshot” of where the race stands right now, and how it might turn out if Election Day were held today.

THE LEAD

·        Since our last report in late May, Joe Biden has materially extended his lead over Donald Trump in swing state polling.

·        The polls doubtless reflect voter sentiment on    how Trump has handled the COVID-19 crisis and the protests over racial injustice.

·        Those polls now indicate that Biden is leading in most swing states, and in a statistical tie in the others.

·        Biden’s campaign has been low-key, to say the least, but that has worked to his advantage given the string of embarrassments Trump has both instigated and endured, that go well beyond COVID-19 and Black Lives Matter.

·        According to our BTRTN model, if the elections were held today, Biden would have an 82% chance of winning the presidency, an increase over the 73% our model showed last month.

Please note these warning labels that appear throughout this piece.

WARNING:  No matter how good the numbers look at any given time, the Democrats will not win any election, and especially the presidential election, unless they work hard to earn it – registering voters, calling, texting, donating – throughout the summer and fall, up to and including Election Day.


THE LAST MONTH

Election Day cannot happen fast enough for Joe Biden.  The last month – since our last “Snapshot” in late May -- has been utterly horrendous for Donald Trump, with yet another sorry chapter in his mismanagement of COVID-19, and the complete misfire of his response to the post-George Floyd dialogue on racial injustice. 

The data clearly show that the vaunted “re-opening” of the economy has failed.  New COVID-19 cases have increased by 14% from May to June, after declining from April to May.  Having followed Trump’s urgent calls for reopening, States that voted for Trump in 2016, generally southern and western states who were aggressive in their re-openings, saw their new cases grow by 83%; the more cautious blue states, more in the Northeast and Midwest in contrast, drove new cases down by -35%.   The alarming trends in the last ten days of the month, with new national cases once again reaching a level of 30,000 per day not seen since April, and then to record-shattering levels of over 40,000 new cases per day.  While deaths have slowed (as younger people are now getting infected in greater proportion), nevertheless there were 23,000 of them in the month – the equivalent of a 9/11 roughly every four days -- bringing the total to 129,000.   It would not be surprising if deaths approached or even surpassed 200,000 by Election Day.  Texas and at least 15 other states have already hit the “pause” button on the re-opening, and this will, of course, blunt the economic recovery Trump desperately seeks.

America’s appetite for racial reconciliation and justice is far greater than Trump imagined, thus his hardline handling of the crisis has appealed only to a niche of the GOP.  About two-thirds of Americans support the Black Lives Matter movement and that includes 40% of Republicans.  Since Trump’s approval rating among Republicans typically is in the 90% range, it is obvious that he is out of step on this issue with about one-third of the party who normally support him.

There were plenty of other mishaps in the month – the botched firing of New York Southern District prosecutor Geoffrey Berman; the revelation that Russia has paid Taliban soldiers to kill Americans, a bit of intelligence ignored by Trump; the Supreme Court’s anti-Trump rulings on DACA, LBGTQ rights, abortion; John Bolton’s book of revelations of Trump’s incompetence; the rejection of Trump by many notable Republicans including Mitt Romney, Lisa Murkowski, Jim Mattis and John Kelly; Trump’s bizarre call for a slowdown of COVID-19 testing; tweeting support of white supremacists; and the dismal crowd in Tulsa at Trump’s expected-to-be-triumphant return to campaign rallies.  All of this has contributed to the image of an unglued Trump slipping into irrelevance, with no COVID-19 plan, a damaged economic recovery strategy, no effective attack points on the likable Biden, and no vision for a second term.

The Biden campaign has been criticized for its low profile.  The candidate has been confined to virtual events that rarely make news, and he has never been able to carve out a true leadership position on the issues of the day, often overshadowed by Andrew Cuomo on COVID-19 and the protesters on racial injustice.  The only news he is making is in his Vice Presidential selection process, which, while an active and intriguing one, by its very nature tends to focus on those on the short list, not Biden himself.

But it is hard to dispute the effectiveness of the campaign so far.  With the Trump horror show broadcasting into American households a steady stream of self-inflicted catastrophes, why change the channel?  The rationale for the Biden presidency cannot be clearer:  I am sane, I can clean up this mess, I feel your pain and will do something about it.  Simply projecting calmness and empathy is doing wonders for Biden, and the low profile has the not unimportant benefit of reducing the potential for damaging gaffes, a Biden given.  The Biden team would be smart to stay quiet for as long as possible, letting Trump self-immolate, waiting until August to make some news proactively with the VP choice and the Democratic convention.

And Biden’s low profile has hardly hurt his fundraising.  Biden and the DNC raised $81 million in May, well past the $61 million in April, and also ahead of Trump and the RNC, who raised $74 million. 


THE SWING STATES

Just to review, for analytical purposes we have divided the states (and districts) into three buckets.

Blue Wall (16 states/2 districts/210 electoral votes).  We start with the 13 states, plus the District of Columbia, that have supported the Democratic candidate in each of the five 21st century elections, usually by wide margins (they are California, Connecticut, Delaware, DC, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington).  We then add in New Mexico, Virginia and Colorado, which we consider solid blue at this point, as well as Maine’s 1st district (Maine and Nebraska are the only states that do not award electoral votes on a winner-take-all basis).

Red Wall (20 states/2 districts/125 electoral votes).  As for Trump, he has a ton of southern and western states that are deep red, 20 states plus two Nebraska districts, and they add up to 125 electoral votes.

Swings States (14 states/2 districts/203 electoral votes):   That leaves 14 swings states and two swing districts, 203 Electoral College votes “in play”:  the six that Trump flipped in 2016 from Barack Obama’s 2012 winning reelection map (Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin), four states that Hillary Clinton won by three points or less (Maine, Minnesota, New Hampshire and Nevada), four red states that were relatively narrow wins for Trump in 2016 (Arizona, Georgia and North Carolina), and Texas, with its shifting demographic and current polling that indicates an opening for Biden.

Could these categories change as the election progresses?  Of course. There could be polling changes that dictate changes of strategy, but more likely those swing states will remain the focus for both campaigns.


SWING STATE UPDATE

In the month of June there have been 61 polls in our 14 swing states.  Biden led in 44 of them -- just about three-quarters of them -- Trump led in 11 and there were five ties.

Based on those 61 new June polls, and other subjective factors, we have changed out BTRTN rating for eight states, all moving in Biden’s favor.  This chart summarizes all 14 swing states at the moment, including the rating changes.  Note that current polling in every single swing state is more favorable to Biden than the 2016 margin.

TRUMP VERSUS BIDEN SWING STATE POLLING
State
Electoral Votes
2016 Margin
Current Polling as of 6/28
BTRTN Rating 5/23
BTRTN Rating 6/28
BTRTN Rating Change
Maine
2
Clinton + 3
Biden + 10
D Lean
D Lean
n/c
Nevada
6
Clinton + 2
Biden + 4
D Lean
D Lean
n/c
Minnesota
10
Clinton + 2
Biden + 10
D Lean
D Lean
n/c
New Hampshire
4
Clinton +0.3
Biden + 7
D Lean
D Lean
n/c
Michigan
16
Trump + 0.2
Biden + 10
D TU
D Lean
Change
Pennsylvania
20
Trump + 1
Biden + 6
D TU
D Lean
Change
Wisconsin
10
Trump + 1
Biden + 8
D TU
D Lean
Change
Florida
29
Trump + 1
Biden + 7
R TU
D TU
Change
Arizona
11
Trump + 4
Biden + 3
D TU
D TU
n/c
North Carolina
15
Trump + 4
Biden + 4
R TU
D TU
Change
Georgia
16
Trump + 5
Biden + 1
R Lean
R TU
Change
Iowa
6
Trump + 9
Trump + 1
R Lean
R TU
Change
Ohio
18
Trump + 9
Trump + 1
R Lean
R TU
Change
Texas
38
Trump + 11
Trump + 1
R Lean
R Lean
Change



WARNING:  No matter how good the numbers look at any given time, the Democrats will not win any election, and especially the presidential election, unless they work hard to earn it – registering voters, calling, texting, donating – throughout the summer and fall, up to and including Election Day.


This chart summarizes the breakdown of our BTRTN snapshot as of now.  If the election were held today, we see Biden securing the presidency with 333 electoral votes.

BTRTN SNAPSHOT: 6/30/2020
Categories
Voting Entities
Electoral Votes
Total
56
538
DEM TOTAL
28
333
Biden Solid
18
210
Biden Lean
7
68
Biden Toss Up
3
55
Trump Toss Up
5
79
Trump Lean
1
1
Trump Solid
22
125
GOP TOTAL
28
205


There is a chart below that summarizes all 56 races in detail.


WARNING:  No matter how good the numbers look at any given time, the Democrats will not win any election, and especially the presidential election, unless they work hard to earn it – registering voters, calling, texting, donating – throughout the summer and fall, up to and including Election Day.


THE ODDS

If the election were held today, we peg the odds of Biden winning the presidency at 82%.  The swing state polling paints a clear picture, but is just one of many data points that are problematic for Trump, including:
·        Trump’s relatively low and declining approval rating.  Trump’s rating has stayed in the narrow 38% to 45% range throughout his presidency.  It is notable that it has declined three points, from 44% to 41%, from May to June.  Only George W. Bush won re-election with an approval rating of less than 50%, at 48%.  And Bush, of course, barely won.

·        The low assessment of Trump’s handling of the coronavirus, with only 42% approving, with 56% disapproving, according to fivethirtyeight.com.  Both figures steadily moved in the wrong direction for Trump since March 25th, when Trump was a net positive on this measure at 50/46.  Thus the “net approval” has moved from +4 to -14.

·        The low assessment of Trump’s handling of Black Lives Matter protests in the aftermath of the George Floyd killing; a new poll the Washington Post/Ipsos shows the approval/disapproval ratings of 36/62, while a New York Times poll has them at 29/62.  Clearly a material number of Trump supporters are in the disapproval camp.

·        The shattering of Trump’s “trump card,” the healthy state of the economy, by the pandemic – and the potential for the “recovery” being halted by pullbacks on the re-openings.

·        The generic ballot, which consistently shows the Democrats ahead of the GOP by 6-10 points, on average about +8 of late.

·        The polling in solid red states, which has been luke warm for Trump and well below the margins by which he won these states in 2016.   In Arkansas, Missouri, Montana and Nebraska, polls show Biden trailing by single digits or even leading.  We need to see more polls of this ilk to shift these states into “battleground” status, but they should be very concerning for the Trump campaign. 

The factors all corroborate the swing state polling, and confirm that our odds assessment is not out of line with reality.

% Odds of Winning
Biden
82%


WARNING:  No matter how good the numbers look at any given time, the Democrats will not win any election, and especially the presidential election, unless they work hard to earn it – registering voters, calling, texting, donating – all through the summer and fall, up to and including Election Day.


SUMMARY CHART

Here is a chart that provides detail on each of the 56 voting entities, the 50 states, District of Columbia, three Nebraska districts and two Maine districts.  The “swing entities” are between the two thick blank lines.

States
2020 Electoral Votes
Past Election Results (Margin D - R)
Swing State Poll Avg
BTRTN Rating
2000
2004
2008
2012
2016
DC
3
76
80
86
84
89

D Solid
HAW
4
18
9
45
43
32

D Solid
CAL
55
12
10
24
21
30

D Solid
VT
3
10
20
37
36
29

D Solid
MASS
11
27
25
26
23
27

D Solid
MD
10
16
13
25
25
25

D Solid
NY
29
25
18
27
27
21

D Solid
WASH
12
6
7
17
14
18

D Solid
ILL
20
12
10
25
16
16

D Solid
RI
4
29
21
28
27
16

D Solid
ME 1
1
8
12
23
22
15

D Solid
CT
7
18
10
22
18
13

D Solid
NJ
14
16
7
16
17
13

D Solid
DEL
3
13
8
25
19
12

D Solid
ORE
7
0.4
4
16
12
11

D Solid
NM
5
0.1
-1
15
10
8

D Solid
VA
13
-8
-8
6
3
5

D Solid
COL
9
-8
-5
9
5
5

D Solid









MAINE
2
5
9
17
15
3
Biden +10
D Lean
NH
4
-1
1
10
6
0.3
Biden +7
D Lean
NEV
6
-4
-3
13
7
2
Biden +4
D Lean
MINN
10
2
3
10
8
2
Biden +10
D Lean
MICH
16
5
3
16
10
-0.2
Biden +10
D Lean
PA
20
4
3
10
5
-0.7
Biden +6
D Lean
WIS
10
0.2
0.4
14
7
-0.8
Biden +8
D Lean
ARIZ
11
-6
-10
-9
-11
-4
Biden +3
D TU
FLA
29
0.0
-5
3
1
-1.2
Biden +7
D TU
NC
15
-13
-12
0.3
-2
-4
Biden +4
D TU
GA
16
-12
-17
-5
-8
-5
Biden +1
R TU
NEB 2
1
-18
-22
1
-7
-2
n/a
R TU
IOWA
6
0.3
-1
10
6
-9
Trump +1
R TU
OHIO
18
-4
-2
5
2
-11
Trump +1
R TU
TX
38
-21
-23
-12
-16
-9
Trump +1
R TU
ME 2
1
1
6
12
9
-10
n/a
R Lean









SC
9
-16
-17
-9
-11
-14

R Solid
ALASK
3
-31
-26
-22
-13
-15

R Solid
MISSP
6
-17
-20
-13
-12
-19

R Solid
UTAH
6
-41
-46
-28
-48
-19

R Solid
IND
11
-16
-21
1
-11
-19

R Solid
MO
10
-3
-7
-0.1
-10
-19

R Solid
LA
8
-8
-15
-19
-17
-20

R Solid
MON
3
-25
-21
-2
-14
-21

R Solid
KAN
6
-21
-25
-15
-22
-21

R Solid
TENN
11
-4
-14
-15
-21
-26

R Solid
NEB 1
1
-23
-27
-10
-16
-22

R Solid
NEB 3
1
-46
-51
-39
-42
-55

R Solid
NEB
2
-29
-33
-15
-23
-26

R Solid
ARK
6
-5
-10
-20
-24
-27

R Solid
ALAB
9
-15
-26
-22
-22
-28

R Solid
KY
8
-15
-20
-16
-23
-30

R Solid
SD
3
-23
-22
-8
-18
-30

R Solid
IDAHO
4
-41
-38
-25
-32
-32

R Solid
ND
3
-28
-27
-10
-20
-36

R Solid
OKL
7
-22
-31
-31
-34
-36

R Solid
WV
5
-6
-13
-13
-27
-42

R Solid
WYO
3
-41
-40
-32
-41
-48

R Solid


5 comments:

  1. It is certainly true that if the election was held at this moment in time Vice President Biden would easily win. It is also true that the election is 4 months away. Much can change. The biggest thing is that progressive propaganda will once again prove to be fallacious.

    1. At some point Joe Biden is going to actually have to answer questions from nonprogressive media people. He really has no answers. By every objective measure Vice President Biden has serious cognitive dysfunction. How it has been able to be hidden from the public view certainly is a master piece of deception. It will not last forever.

    2. Four months from now we will see where the virus effect actually is.. If the country is still locked down most likely Biden will win. If the country is on its way back to pre-virus economic conditions it will be very hard to deny President Trump a second term

    3. The New York Times article about the Russians paying for bounties on American soldiers is already falling apart. Just like the "Russian hoax" anonymous sources will again lead to a progressive disappointment.

    4. The progressives Glee about America being ransacked by the radical left just might end up bringing about waking up the sleeping middle class American giant. When they vote Biden loses.

    Many are old enough to remember when Michael Dukakis, at this time in the campaign, was leading by 17 percentage points. History shows that is not how it ended.

    ReplyDelete
  2. 1. On Biden: "by every measure"...like, what? What are you talking about? It's like a Trump phrase, "people are saying." The Biden I see seems fine. The Trump I see -- "by every measure" -- is completely insane.

    2. We'll see. I think you are being optimistic with regard to Trump's prospects. He was in poor shape before COVID even hit, with a 43% approval rating and versus Biden in the polls.

    3. On the Russia payments. Falling apart? They tracked the money. There is no "falling apart" to this story and it is just starting. Wait until Congress gets people on the Hill to testify.

    4. Older voters are even on Trump-Biden. Trump will lost big is that continues. They seem far more soured on Trump than on the radical left. They see Biden as a snae, reasonable, moderate alternative to Trump.

    Dukasis? 1988? A laughable analogy.

    ReplyDelete
  3. The problem with people that are loquacious is they tend to forget their previous comments. Even the writer of this blog has acknowledged Biden's difficulty speaking with coherent conversation.Turns out Biden was the person that recommended the FBI use the Logan act against Gen Flynn. Biden can't be called a liar. He legitimately couldn't remember. So Sad.

    Way to early to crow. If Biden survives the debates without abject embarrassment and things are as they are now he probably will win. If not don't count out the Donald.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There are a million news cycles until November. Biden does sometimes speak awkwardly. That is a far cry from being mentally incompetent. Trump speaks like a 12-year old, in simply declarative sentences, and often garbles his words as well. The difference is, Biden thinks like an adult, like the experienced world leader that he is. Trump thinks like that same 12-year old. Me me me.

      Delete
  4. Anonymously, you say "By every objective measure Vice President Biden has serious cognitive dysfunction."

    What are those measures? What credentialed professional has signed on to the measurement and its meaning?

    I've read a number of columnists who point to indications. I've seen a number of partisans say "it's a valid question." I've yet to see credentialed psychiatrists or psychologists outline a diagnosis and put their credibility on the line.

    ReplyDelete

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