The American election is next week, and everyone is on the edge of their seats to see what the hell is going to go down. Will Donald Trump remain in power, possibly signalling the end of democracy, or will Joe Biden get in the White House and let us all breathe a bit? We looked at what the polls and election analysts have to say.
Currently, nearly every indicator available points to a Biden victory, but the polls have been catastrophically wrong before.
We spoke to Senior Lecturer in American Politics and Foreign Policy at the University of Sydney, Dr David Smith, about the likeliness of Biden actually winning this thing, as well as looking at the major polls in the U.S. and what they have to say.
Folks, I’m definitely not going to put too many eggs in one basket, but it isn’t looking good for Trump.
“Every indicator so far points to Biden winning,” Smith said.
“At the state level is where it really matters, and in the swing states, Biden seems to have enough of a lead in the polls that he should win.”
So let’s look at some of these polls, shall we?
Polling site FiveThirtyEight, which is named after the number of votes in the electoral college, has made some pretty impressive graphics to help break this thing down.
According to their polling, there is a 3 in 100 chance that Trump will win the popular vote, and a 97 in 100 chance that Biden will. However, as we have seen in past elections, the popular vote doesn’t really matter in the end.
So what are the predictions for the electoral vote, y’know, the one that really matters?
Well, as always, the Democrats can (according to poll predictions) safely secure Washington D.C. with a 90.1% Biden win, and the Republicans can safely claim Nebraska as theirs with a 72.1% predicted Trump win. These are the two polar opposites that every other state sits between, with quite a few battleground states sitting in the middle of the fight for 270 electoral votes (which spells victory).
One of these middle states is Ohio, which sits at a 49.5% chance for either party to win at the moment, for example.
According to Real Clear Politics, Biden is currently ahead in 11 battleground swing states so far, while Trump is only ahead in one (Texas of course). Ohio and Arizona are tied for an unpredictable win, while a total of SEVEN states that went to Trump in 2016 currently sit in Biden’s favour.
These states are Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.
FiveThirtyEight made a great graphic to help understand this idea.
“If Biden can win back Wisconsin and Michigan then he only needs one more large swing state to win, such as Arizona, Georgia or Pennsylvania, and currently he has a poll average lead in most of those swing states,” Smith told P.TV.
Currently, Pennsylvania is the one state that everyone is watching, and a Biden win there could spell almost certain victory for the Democratic party.
“If it’s close in the end, and comes down to one state, which will probably be Pennsylvania, there are numerous legal challenges being prepared by Trump around voter fraud.”
Given the nature of the pandemic, more people are voting via the post than ever before. This spells trouble for vote counts given how abysmally fucked the American postal system is. With Trump threatening to claim voter fraud on postal votes, this could alter and delay the results of the election by some time.
“We could end up seeing hundreds, thousands or even millions of ballot votes thrown out according to how those court cases go, which have a lot to do with ballots that arrive late or miss some step in the procedure.”
That’s… a lot of votes just gone, but are we surprised that Trump will cling to anything he can in a desperate situation?
To get a picture of how other polls have scoped out the election, The Economist predicts a 95% chance of Biden taking this thing home, with a forecast 350 electoral votes to Trump’s 188.
Meanwhile, The University of Virginia and the Center for Politics say that based on late October net approval rates, Trump is very unlikely to enjoy even the popular vote win.
So, is there ANY chance that Trump could surprise us all and just take this thing out despite all odds? Are there any flaws in this polling prediction system? Well, hate to say it, but the answer to both questions is ‘yes’.
“It’s too soon to rule out a Trump win though, especially when the coronavirus wreaks havoc on polling turnout,” Smith said.
“A lot of current polling estimates voter turnout, which is very hard to accurately do in a pandemic.”
At the time of writing, more than 80 million people in the USA have voted early, which is already more than half of the total voter turnout in 2016. Things are looking incredibly good for Biden, but we’ll have to see how things turn out come election day.
Come on America, don’t fuck this up.