Monday, November 02, 2020

2020 Election Predictions

So you may have heard that there are national elections on Tuesday. It’s the biggest Presidential election in our lifetime. Well, at least until 2024. While there are numerous polls available for just about every local, state, and national race, I decided to ask an esteemed group of panelists for their thoughts and predictions on a variety of topics. The questions and answers are below, but before that, let me introduce you to the panelists.
Me - I’m the guy writing this blog. You’ll see why I’m referring to myself as me in the post momentarily.

JoshThe author of the terrific blog Josh’s World. I’ll even call him a frequent collaborator since he always participates in any of my blog ideas.

Deb - My friend and trivia teammate.

Jon - A fellow Pittsburgher who I find that I have regular disagreements with on Twitter. We do agree on plenty of things though.

Barry - My friend and former colleague.

Rich - Besides being a must follow on Twitter, Rich also hosts the podcast Why,Bloody Valentine? where he tries to share his love of horror with his “decidedly not a horror fan” wife.

Dr. Sean Foreman - Professor, Political Science and Chair, Department of History of Political Science in the College of Arts & Sciences at Barry University in Miami. He has also co-edited a book series titled “The Roads to Congress” every two years since 2010. The Roads to Congress 2018 is available here.

1. Who will win the Presidential election and by how much based on Electoral College numbers (or by number of votes if you prefer)?

Me: Biden wins 307 to 231. I think he wins Pennsylvania in a very close race as well as Michigan, Wisconsin, Arizona, and Georgia.

Josh: Joe Biden 285 to 252. I think he ends up with about five million more votes.

Deb: Biden will win with over 300 electoral college votes (please dear God if there's any justice in the universe).

Jon: I have Trump winning by a very small margin, 20 electoral votes, but once again losing the popular vote by quite a bit.

Barry: Joe Biden will be the next President of the United States of America, winning the Electoral College vote 357-181.  The final margin will include some very close outcomes at the state level.  The red side will eke out victories in Texas and Ohio, but will drop the 2016 Trump states of North Carolina, Florida, Iowa, Arizona, Georgia, Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin.  The real surprise is that the Democrats will win Georgia by greater margins than Florida and North Carolina.  Biden will also take the 2nd District of Nebraska’s one electoral vote.

Rich: This is insanely difficult to pick. The map is starting to turn more purple than just red and blue. I think Biden might pull off a win in Georgia, but I think the mythical Texas victory is still one or two cycles away. I am also concerned states will invalidate election results, specifically in Pennsylvania and attempt to send their own electors. In the end I have Biden winning 297 to 241. But I wouldn’t be shocked if it was more.

Sean: If the polls are to be believed:

If the polls are incorrect and there is a greater, silent Trump vote:

I love that the political science professor included maps! 

2. By day and time, when will the American public first learn who won the Presidential election? (For example, Tuesday, November 3rd at 11:30PM Eastern time.)

Me: Wednesday, November 4th at 7:58PM. Just in time to interrupt The Masked Singer.

Josh: November 4th at 6 p.m.

Deb: Wednesday, November 4th at 2:30AM EST.

Jon: Man, good question. Pennsylvania is going to have a lot of votes to count after Tuesday, and my prediction comes down to PA’s 20 votes - so I will say we won’t know for sure until Friday at 6pm. 

Barry: Because it is likely that the Trump campaign will contest several states in court, nothing will be official for a while.  However, I believe that the news outlets will call it for the Biden campaign on Friday, November 6th at 10:15 a.m.  The Trump campaign, however, will not concede for some time after that.

Rich: I’m not even sure how to answer this. I think Trump will claim victory on election night and Biden will neither claim victory or concede. Trump is already laying the groundwork to have legitimate votes thrown out and that likely means we are headed to courts. News outlets will declare victory for candidates within two or three days, but that hardly matters. My best guess is we know around 2 PM on December 14th, when electors vote in their states.

Sean: Best case, Wednesday, Nov. 4 at 3:00 am; more likely a day or two later and maybe Saturday, Nov 7 at 12:00 pm, if we have to wait to count all of Pennsylvania’s mail in ballots which can be received by Friday at 5 pm, as you know, and learn PA’s result before we have a definite winner.  Biden will likely win the popular vote, either way.

3. Who wins the South Carolina Senate race: Lindsey Graham or Jamie Harrison?

Me: Harrison in a very close race.

Josh: Jamie Harrison

Deb: Jamie Harrison because Graham must rot in obscurity hell.

Jon: Graham. 

Barry: Lindsay Graham will survive the well-fought battle by a 51.5% to 48.5% margin. 

Rich: Jamie Harrison

Sean: Graham.  Harrison made a great run of it but I think the confirmation of Justice Amy Coney Barrett saved Lindsey Graham.  Harrison will have raised the most money ever for a Senate campaign only to lose like Beto O’Rouke of Texas whose record he broke.  South Carolina is still South Carolina despite the MSNBC spin.

4. Who wins the Kentucky Senate race: Mitch McConnell or Amy McGrath?

Me: McConnell.

Josh: Mitch McConnell

Deb: Unfortunately for humanity, Mitch.  Who also deserves to rot in obscurity hell.

Jon: McConnell.

Barry: Mitch McConnell will be re-elected by a 54% to 46% margin.

Rich: Mitch McConnell and it won’t be particularly close.

Sean: McConnell

5. Will the Democrats flip the Senate?

Me: Yes. I’m not giving a prediction on the number of seats, but at a minimum, it will be 50-50 with the Democrats getting the tie-breaker with Kamala Harris as Vice President.

Josh: Yes

Deb: Yes.

Jon: Yes.

Barry: Yes, but it will take until January’s anticipated run-off(s) in Georgia to get a final margin.  It should end -up 54-46, but I have a bad feeling about Steve Bullock holding off the incumbent Republican Steve Daines.  The Greenfield/Ernst race in Iowa has been polling at even, give or take, but I think Ernst’s debate blunder will result in a 2 point loss

Rich: Yes. Slightly.

Sean: Yes. They will do this by flipping seats in Colorado, Iowa (I probably should put Iowa as blue in that case), Kansas (I think they will split and vote for Trump and the Dem for Senate), Arizona (same as Kansas, though Biden could win AZ), and Ossoff in Georgia.  They will lose Doug Jones in Alabama. I keep going back and forth, but think the incumbents will win in Maine and North Carolina.   All of this is me hedging my picks based on the 2016 sting.

6. Will California approve Prop 18 to allow 17-year-olds who will be 18 at the time of the next general election to vote in primaries and special elections?

Me: I’ll say yes since the California Democratic party seems to be in favor of this. However, this seems like even if voters approve this, it’s going to be in court for years and may end up before the Supreme Court.

Josh: Yes, but I think it will be a very close vote

Deb: Yes

Jon: No.

Barry: Yes.

Rich: No. Older voters seem to think 17 year olds are significantly less informed than they are, despite no evidence existing this is the case. When it comes to kids people tend to want them to sit down and shut up.

Sean: Yes. This could get interesting if it evolves to other states.

7. Will Colorado approve Proposition 114 to reintroduces gray wolves on public lands?

Me: No since the Colorado Wildlife Commission voted against this in 2016 (though there seems to be some controversy about who is on this commission). Now, if Colorado tries to introduce Direwolves from Game of Thrones, I think that would pass.

Josh: Yes, I do not think it will be that close. 

Deb: No.

Jon: Yes? I have never even heard of this.

Barry: If this were a non-Presidential year and voting levels were going to be lower, I would say no.  However, this issue has turned into a rural vs. urban battle for the most part.  So this is a yes, Proposition 114 will pass.

Rich: Yes. People love wolves! Especially people that don’t have to deal with them. In an election that will have a high liberal/urban turnout I think this one will pass.

Sean: This one was completely off of my radar.  I will have to look into it and read what others have to say.

(My note: I love that this question was a complete curveball.)

8. Will South Dakota approve Constitutional Amendment B to legalize sports betting in Deadwood and require that net local revenue from such activity be dedicated to the Historic Restoration and Preservation of Deadwood?

Me: Yes. Sports betting is about to become national. Plus, this question was just an excuse to include a picture from the TV show Deadwood.

Josh: Yes. This is an odd one that the support and opposition are both Republicans. Granted, probably not too many Democrats in South Dakota (or people for that matter). I think it passes because these types of votes seem to generally go in that direction.

Deb: Yes

Jon: No.

Barry: Sure.  Everybody’s doing it, so why not South Dakota?  Sports betting is going to be everywhere soon enough.

Rich: Yes. Legalized gambling is moving across the country and voters see it as a decent way to raise money.

Sean: Same as #7. I’m generally interested in initiatives and gaming policy, but have not been following these issues recently. So many state and local elections in Florida and especially the Miami-Dade and Broward Counties areas have keep me occupied. I’ve been commenting in media on, and moderating forums and panels, and informally advising on some of the local campaigns.

9. Will the Pittsburgh Steelers defeat the Dallas Cowboys by more than 10 points on Sunday, 11/8?

Me: Dallas is bad, but I feel like it will be a bit of a letdown game for the Steelers after defeating the Titans and Ravens. Steelers win by 7-9 points, and some Steelers fans will go insane and demand that Tomlin or a coordinator gets fired even though the team will be 8-0.

Josh: Absolutely, especially if Ben DiNucci is the QB


Jon: Absolutely.

Barry: Hell yeah.  I think it’s likely that the margin is even greater…Let’s go with a 31-13 final score.

Rich: Yes, the Cowboys are very, very bad and as of now they’re getting outscored by quite a bit.

Sean: Yes. 31-17 Steelers.

Barry added this bonus prediction: Trump News will be announced by the President via a tweet at the same time he concedes, offering that any cable or streaming platform that doesn’t immediately add the new network is clearly supporting the fake news that illegally brought Trump into his new career.  The network will seek to further bring into the mainstream the far right racist, fascist, and anti-establishment agenda, and will push Ivanka Trump for president in 2024.

Now, I guess we'll see who is correct in their predictions. I think the main winner on Tuesday night and beyond will be television networks thanks to high ratings and any company that makes alcoholic products!

Thanks to everyone who participated in this post. Please feel free to share your own predictions in the comments section below. I also want to share this live webinar today (Monday, November 2nd) at noon Eastern time that features Dr. Sean Foreman. Please check it out!

McConnell photo by Yuri Gripas/Abaca Press/TNS

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