The popular consensus for the 2020 general election looks a lot like the supposedly popular consensus for the 2016 general election. Pundits and polls across the media spectrum all seem to agree that Donald Trump will lose massively in the upcoming election, with some polls putting his opponent Biden ahead by 16 points nationally.
Still, we all know how 2016 turned out, and it wasn’t in favor of Trump’s opponent. To the contrary, as we all know, Trump handily defeated his opponent and walked away the victor. But the question remains: can Trump pull off a similar victory in 2020?
It’s a difficult question to answer. Certainly if it weren’t for COVID, we wouldn’t even be having this discussion. Trump’s victory wouldn’t even be a question in our minds. However, with COVID playing a major role not only in the lives of Americans but in the lives of everyone around the world, the 2020 election becomes much more of an open debate. No matter what, we must acknowledge that regardless of how unprecedented 2016 was, 2020 is a different beast altogether.
That said, there are several indicators that Trump will once again be victorious. To start with, the polls in 2016 were deeply flawed. And while popular political statisticians like Nate Silver have insisted that pollsters have upped their game and worked out the kinks in their methodology over the past four years, there are some clear signs that the polls this year may be just as unreliable as those in 2016, if not more so.
For example, state polling was an issue in 2016 as pollsters grappled with trying to reach out to registered and likely voters in swing states, especially when polling independents and undecided voters. Let alone trying to get a straight answer out of independents and undecided voters when they were fortunate enough to get ahold of them.
So far, there has still been no evidence that pollsters have found an accurate way of sampling this demographic. Worse yet, there are suspicions that polls this year or more heavily weighted in favor of Democrats than they were four years ago. If true, that could account for the eerily similar headlines that indicate Biden is in for a landslide victory when in reality the opposite is true.
But those are just assumptions. It’s difficult to prove polls are unevenly weighted and also difficult to know if or how pollsters have improved their tactics over the past four years.
One metric that’s difficult to manipulate is the overall satisfaction of citizens compared to four years ago. And, while this may come as a surprise to some, a Gallup poll found the majority of registered voters, a whopping 56 percent, feel better off now under Trump than they did under Obama four years ago. And that’s with a pandemic no less.
Moreover, a credible poll from The Democracy Institute Sunday Express which is known for keeping stricter controls on how it conducts its polling, shows Trump ahead of Biden nationally after his bout of COVID.
Diving into the details, it shows President Trump leads in crucial battleground states like Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. If this plays out on election day, the Electoral College will ultimately give 320 points to Trump and 218 to Biden.
Analyst Kevin McCullough, who has successfully predicted the presidential winner every election since he started making predictions in 2008, has revealed a very similar Electoral map prediction which shows Trump winning after votes are tallied in November.
McCullough’s predictive modeling of the Electoral map gives Trump an even bigger win with 330 points versus Biden’s 208. He bases his model on a number of factors, including the enthusiasm gap between supporters of both candidates, as well as the party affiliation of newly registered voters.
In 2016, he predicted Donald Trump would win 30 states and Hillary Clinton would pick up 20. In the end, Trump got 30.5, Hillary 19.5.
Yet another indicator to consider is that since the advent of primaries in 1912, “no incumbent has ever lost the general election after receiving 75% or more of the votes from their party in the primaries. Trump received 94% of all cast in the 2020 Republican primaries.”, according to Town Hall columnist Wayne Allyn Root.
It’s also no secret that there are a lot of shy Trump supporters who won’t openly say they’re voting for Trump when prompted, but privately support the president. This is likely due to the perception that they may face backlash and lose opportunities for not following the acceptable trend.
Keeping all of that in mind, 2020 looks a lot more like 2016 than many news outlets would have you believe.