Thursday, September 24, 2020

Election Check-In: 538 and Economist Data

538 probability Biden victory: 77 percent

Economist probability Biden victory: 85 percent

538 probability Dem Senate: 62 percent

Economist probability Dem Senate: 67 percent
States Democrats favored to win (538): MI (currently +7 points in poll average), WI (+7), PA (+5), AZ (+4), FL (+2), NC (+1), OH (+1)
States Democrats favored to win (Economist): all as above except OH
States that are close but where Biden is not currently ahead (538): GA (-1), IA (-1), TX (-2)
Decent data for Team Blue I'd have to say.

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Demographic Shifts and the 2020 Election: Are They Enough to Sink Trump?

Cook Political Report (CPR) and NBC News have put together a nice interactive that's worth taking a look at. The basic idea of the interactive is that the set the baseline turnout and (two party) voter support figures at the levels they estimate for the 2016 election and then provide sliders where you can move these turnout and party support levels up or down for the 2020 election and see what effect these changes have (the changes are apparently applied uniformly across states). They also provide a baseline scenario where turnout and party support levels remain constant and only the eligible distribution by demographic group changes in 2020.

This is actually quite similar to analyses done by the States of Change project, most recently in our 2018 report on America's Electoral Future: Demographic Shifts and the Future of the Trump Coalition. And we actually have a new report coming out in October, America’s Electoral Future: The Coming Generational Transformation, that incorporates generational change into our analysis, which the the CPR/NBC interactive does not touch.

There are significant similarities between the methodology we use and the estimation methods apparently used in this CPR/NBC analysis. But I think our approach and the underlying data we use is a bit more detailed--and our results, where comparable, seem a bit different. For instance, CPR/NBC note the significance of the decline of the white noncollege eligible voter population and rise of more liberal populations--fair enough--and claim this is enough, holding turnout/support from 2016 constant, to hand Trump a loss in 2020, flipping FL, MI, PA and WI. In our new report, as you will see when it comes out, our results are not as optimistic for the Democrats in this kind of baseline scenario (though once generation is incorporated, the picture changes quite a bit).

I'm not sure what drives this difference in the CPR/NBC results, but I do note that they use the exit poll data as an important data source for their estimation procedures, which I am dubious of. Perhaps this is why the Democrats' white noncollege deficit seems too high in their data, which could have an effect on their results. However, that's national data and they don't show their state level estimates so it's pretty hard to tell what's really going on here.

At any rate, an interesting entry in 2020 election data sweepstakes. Play around with it and see what you think, but keep in mind that their baseline is perhaps a bit too pro-Democratic. And look for our new report, coming out next month on the 19th!

https://www.nbcnews.com/…/demographic-shifts-2016-could-be-…

https://www.nbcnews.com/specials/swing-the-election/

NBCNEWS.COM
See how changes in voter turnout and support could shift the outcome of the 2020 election.

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Another Good Senate Forecast for the Democrats

Daily Kos, in association with Drew Linzer, has released their Senate forecast, which they will be updating through the election. Currently, the 538 forecast gives the Democrats a 60 percent chance of taking the Senate. The Daily Kos forecast is in the same ballpark. The most interesting chart in their forecast is shown below, but their whole forecast writeup is worth reading.

Image may contain: text that says 'STATE DEMOCRAT D AVG. NEW HAMPSHIRE REPUBLICAN Shaheen (1) MAINE R AVG. 53 DIFF. Messner FLIP? Gideon 35 ARIZONA 51 +18 Collins (I) Kelly 49 40 COLORADO +11 D FLIP McSally (1) 41 Hickenlooper 49 MICHIGAN +8 Peters Gardner (1) DFLIP 43 47 +6 NORTH CAROLINA Cunningham James DFLIP 45 42 +5 ALASKA Tillis (1) 41 Gross +4 42 SOUTH CAROLINA D FLIP Sullivan (1) Harrison 42 GEORGIA 46 0 Ossoff Graham (I) KANSAS 46 44 0 Perdue Bollier IOWA 43 46 -2 Marshall Greenfield 45 44 MONTANA -2 Ernst (1) Bullock 48 45 -4 Daines 49'

Monday, September 21, 2020

About Those Shy Trump Voters...

This keeps on coming up. But so far analysts have found precious little evidence that such shy Trump voters--those unlikely to tell an interviewer they support Trump and thus skewing the polls--exist in appreciable numbers. Now here's nice little study by Morning Consult that should put this one to rest--but probably won't because Democrats and paranoid and Republicans want to believe it.

"Despite trailing in most national public opinion polls, President Donald Trump regularly refers to a “silent majority” of Americans who he expects to vote for him on Election Day. But how many voters are reluctant to publicly share their opinion about the president?

Building on our 2015 and 2016 research, Morning Consult recently conducted a study of more than 2,400 likely voters to determine if the “shy Trump” voter phenomenon is affecting polling in the 2020 election. The study also examined whether social desirability bias is at play on a range of topics that have been particularly prevalent this year.

To conduct the study, all survey respondents answered a set of demographic questions online and then were randomly assigned to answer a brief, identical set of questions about politics and society either online or via a live telephone interview. By comparing these live telephone interviews with online responses, we were able to identify where social desirability bias was in effect.

There was clear evidence that voters are hesitant to express their opinions on discrimination, protests and personal finances during a live telephone interview."

https://morningconsult.com/form/shy-trump-2020/…

Image may contain: text that says 'If the 2020 presidential election were held today, for whom would you vote? Online Joe Biden Donald Trump Phone 55% 45% M MORNING CONSULT 56% Source: Morning Consult 44% Study conducted Sept 10-14 2020, among 1,698 respondents online and 1244 espondents by live telephone,'

Sunday, September 20, 2020

Is the Latino Vote Firming Up for Biden?

There's been a spate of articles recently talking about Biden's "Latino voter problem". .And I certainly don't mean to downplay that it's a legitimate concern. Still there are signs in the most recent polling that Biden's Latino support may be firming up.

For example, looking at the just-released NBC/Wall Street Journal poll (+8 Biden overall), which included a Hispanic voter oversample. This high quality poll has:

Biden +36 among Hispanics.

That compares to the States of Change estimate for the 2016 election:

Clinton +37 among Hispanics

It's also worth noting that this poll had Biden at +85 among black voters, which compares favorably to Clinton's +79 among this demographic in 2016.

CBS also released a couple of polls in FL and TX, two Latino-heavy states. In Florida, they found:

Biden +20 among Hispanics

That compares to the States of Change estimate for FL in the 2016 election:

Clinton +15 among Hispanics

Similarly, in TX, Biden leads by 31 points among Hispanics compared to Clinton's 29 point lead among that demographic in the state in 2016.

Again, if you averaged Hispanic samples nationally and in states like FL in the last several months the picture would not be as positive for Biden. But I would not be surprised if going forward he continues to show support among Latinos that is more like this poll and like 2016.

https://www.cbsnews.com/…/trump-biden-opinion-poll-florida…/

https://www.nbcnews.com/…/biden-holds-sizable-lead-over-tru…

https://www.cnn.com/…/poli…/biden-hispanic-voters/index.html

https://www.theatlantic.com/…/does-joe-biden-have-l…/616394/

THEATLANTIC.COM
The Democratic nominee has a Latino-voter problem.

Saturday, September 19, 2020

Biden's White Noncollege Gains, State by State

As noted, the key to Biden's dominance of the race so far, and Trump's inability to dislodge him, has been Biden's ability to cut into Trump's 2016 margins among white noncollege voters, the demographic Trump was depending on to get himself re-elected.

Morning Consult recently released data from a variety of swing states that, among other things, break down the race in each state by white college/noncollege. Here is Biden's current performance among white noncollege voters in the consensus top six swing states (MI, PA, WI, AZ, FL, NC) with Biden's margin improvement relative to Clinton 2016 in parentheses, as estimated by the States of Change project .

Michigan -6 (+15)
Pennsylvania -13 (+19)
Wisconsin 0 (19)
Arizona -7 (+18)
Florida -21 (+13)
North Carolina -33 (+17)

Pretty impressive eh? It's very interesting that improvements are large not just in the key Rustbelt states but also in the key Sunbelt states. It continues to amaze me that this isn't a bigger part of the narrative around the election when the data are so damn clear.

MORNINGCONSULT.COM
Four years after President Trump won white voters by 15 points, he now holds a 5-point lead over Democratic nominee Joe Biden with the group.

Will the Impending Struggle Over the Next Supreme Court Justice Help Biden or Trump?

To be honest, it's hard to game out exactly how this is going to go down but, as always, the data we currently have are a helpful guide. As Harry Enten points out, while the he polling data could change over time, right now it looks the situation could well help Biden more than Trump.

"A new Marquette University Law School poll paints the landscape well. Nationally, it finds that 59% of Biden voters say that appointing the next Supreme Court justice is very important to their vote. Compare that with only 51% of Trump voters.

This finding matches what we saw in a CNN/SSRS poll last month. In that poll, 78% of Biden backers told pollsters that nominating the next justice was extremely or very important to their vote. That compared with 64% of Trump supporters. (It was 47% Biden supporters and 32% Trump supporters who said it was extremely important.)

Compare these numbers to what we saw heading into the 2016 election. The final CNN/ORC poll in that cycle showed that 58% of Trump supporters said that nominating the next Supreme Court justice was extremely important to their vote, while only 46% of Hillary Clinton voters said the same. In the 2016 exit poll, Trump beat Clinton by a 15 point margin among those who put Supreme Court appointments as the most important factor to their vote.

In other words, it seems, at least initially, that unlike in 2016, a Supreme Court nominating fight could be more of a motivating factor for Democrats than Republicans....

New York Times and Siena College polled voters this week in Arizona, Maine and North Carolina about their views of the presidential candidates and the Supreme Court.

Biden was more trusted to pick a nominee in the average of all three states by a 53% to 41% margin. That was actually larger than his average lead against Trump in the horserace of 50% to 41% in the three states.

This phenomenon of Biden getting slightly more favorable numbers on who should pick the next Supreme Court nominee than in the horserace matches what a recent Fox News national poll found.

But perhaps more interesting is what the New York Times found among persuadable voters (i.e. those who said they could change their mind or were not backing either Biden or Trump). They preferred Biden to pick the next nominee by a 49% to 31% margin.

And among those voters who might not vote (i.e. those who said were less than very likely to cast a ballot), Biden led Trump by a 52% to 23% margin on who would be better at picking the next Supreme Court justice."

CNN.COM
The death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has the ability to upend the 2020 presidential election. But while most analysis suggests President Donald Trump was helped by the opportunity to appoint a new justice in the 2016 election, polling this time around suggests something different m...

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Three Musts for the Biden Economic Plan

1. Talk about it more.

2. Go big

3. Go fast

It does seem like in the process of presenting himself as a sane alternative to Trump and reacting to his various daily outrages, Biden's economic plan is getting a bit lost. That's not so good because it really does need to be front and center with the groundwork laid for fast, effective action once he gets into office. Three articles attack these three points.

1. Talk about it more.

John Cassidy on The New Yorker site:

"As the Democratic Party increasingly becomes the party of highly educated voters who are horrified by Trump’s daily outrages, it also needs to attract working-class voters who perhaps don’t follow politics as closely. I’m talking about working-class Black voters in places like Philadelphia and Milwaukee, working-class Hispanic voters in places like Florida and Nevada, and working-class white voters in places like western Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin.

Members of the working class have borne the brunt of wage stagnation, globalization, technological change, the private health-care system, and, most recently, the coronavirus pandemic. “They are looking for a leader who will make big changes in health care, fight for working people over big business, and unite the country to defeat the current economic and public-health crisis,” Stan Greenberg, the veteran Democratic pollster, wrote in an article for The American Prospect, last week. In this passage, Greenberg was referring specifically to white working-class voters, whom he has been studying in focus groups and through surveys. But he pointed out that economic concerns and anger at the political establishment also runs “deep into the Democratic base of Blacks, Hispanics, unmarried women, and millennials, too.”...

Biden gave a series of speeches back in July in which he laid out his economic agenda. And last week, in Dunmore, Pennsylvania, he unveiled a series of proposals to boost American manufacturing. But in this addled news climate, policy proposals rarely get the coverage they deserve in the venues that most voters rely on—television and online-news feeds. To break through the cacophony of Trump noise, Biden, Harris, and other Democrats need to be out there every day ballyhooing their spending plans, as well as other proposals that wouldn’t affect the federal budget but that would boost the budgets of working families.

The Biden-Harris ticket wants to guarantee all Americans twelve weeks of paid medical and family leave. It would increase the national minimum wage to fifteen dollars an hour, which would have a big impact on low-paid workers in places like Pennsylvania and Texas, where the hourly minimum is currently just $7.25; in Florida, where its $8.56; and in Ohio, where its $8.70. Biden’s agenda includes an expansion of home and community-based care for the elderly, and provisions to insure that, as the number of caregivers increases, they are well-paid and have the right to join a labor union. He has also vowed to strengthen labor laws and unions more broadly. Among other things, he supports the Protecting the Right to Organize Act, which the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives passed in 2019. Legislative changes of this type would take a while to have a macroeconomic impact. Over time, though, restoring some of the bargaining power that workers have lost in recent decades could help raise wages and reduce inequality."

2. Go big.

One critical danger Biden will face if he gets into office is going too small on his plans. They'll be plenty of pressure on him to scale back his plans, be responsible, don't blow up the deficit, etc. That would be a big, big mistake, as the Obama administration found out. From an article by Ben White on Politico:

"President Barack Obama entered the White House in 2009 during a brutal recession, quickly pushed through a sizable stimulus package and then spent the next several years realizing it wasn’t nearly big enough.

Joe Biden is determined not to have the same regrets if he wins.

The Democratic nominee and former vice president is surrounding himself with a more aggressive cadre of economic advisers who lean toward the liberal wing of the party, one that has itself moved significantly to the left since 2009 and shed most of its concern with appeasing budget hawks and Wall Street bankers who tend to worry about soaring deficits....

“The idea that the U.S. faces any major risk from our debt burden is simply wrong,” said Dean Baker, senior economist at the Center for Economic Policy and Research and a frequent critic of the size of Obama’s 2009 stimulus bill. “If for some reason private investors became more reluctant to hold U.S. debt, the Fed could simply step in and buy it. If the U.S. is struggling to recover from this recession, there is no reason to be concerned about running large deficits.”

Baker added that he was pleased for the most part with the makeup of Biden’s economic advisory team and suggested that any stimulus bill should be around 4 to 5 percent of annual GDP or around $1 trillion per year.

“As a group these people are pretty progressive and at the very least they will have his ear. Whether they carry the day in arguments or not who knows,” Baker said. “But Biden was there under Obama and I think he recognizes what is universally recognized among Democrats that they made a really big mistake in not getting more.”...

“People recognize that we are going to need a significant magnitude of investment,” said [Jake] Sullivan, Biden’s policy adviser. “That’s not to say the GOP wouldn’t try and resist, and all of a sudden put on their green eyeshades again on spending. But the realities today, in terms of what can be invested to get back to full employment, are just different than they were back in 2009.”

3. Go fast.

This is much more important thank people think and could well determine whether the Democrats (and the country) sink or swim after the election. My old friend Harold Meyerson does a great job explaining why in an article on The American Prospect site.

"At first glance, both the Roosevelt and Obama precedents appear to offer the same lesson: Increased federal spending that creates jobs is the way to climb out of a catastrophic economic hole. At second glance, however, the two presidents’ policies differ significantly. Each initially sought to revive the economy by investing in long-overdue projects: Roosevelt in dams and other power-generating projects to create long-term improvements in the economies of the South and the West; Obama in clean energy and other new infrastructure investments that would downsize America’s immense carbon footprint.

Both these initiatives, however, took time to put in place; neither generated a large number of jobs very quickly. Six months into his presidency, Roosevelt realized this, and transferred some of his stimulus funding to basic construction and maintenance projects that generated nearly four million jobs in the subsequent four months (this in a nation of just 125 million people). The Obama administration, by contrast, never found a way to generate employment swiftly, save through providing funds to state and local governments to keep public employees on the job. This divergence in economic policy led to a divergence in political power. In the midterm election that followed FDR’s success in job creation, the Democrats actually increased their numbers in Congress—one of just two times the party of a newly elected president has won midterm gains. In the midterm election of 2010, however, the Democrats lost both houses of Congress (including a modern record loss of 63 seats in the House), and to this day have yet to regain both in the same session.

Like Roosevelt and Obama, Joe Biden has put forth ambitious, progressive plans to increase investment and employment in ways that would produce permanent changes in the nation’s economy. His plans for infrastructure investment, greening the economy, and boosting the caregiving sector for children and seniors are versions of ideas that had been incubating for years in liberal think tanks and activist groups. Each plan, if funded at the levels that Biden has called for, would boost aggregate employment over time. Whether they boost employment quickly enough to significantly reduce the nation’s massive level of unemployment, however, depends on Biden and the Democrats’ ability to proceed with Rooseveltian speed. That, in turn, will likely determine whether the Democrats’ hold on power and policymaking is a long-term endeavor or a two-year blip that paves the way for the next Trump....

The [New Deal Civil Works Administration] began operations on November 9 and, working with governors and mayors (and in 1933, not even Republican politicians turned down federally funded job projects), had put 4.3 million unemployed Americans to work by the following February on 180,000 small-scale projects. That 4.3 million amounted to 3.4 percent of the nation’s population of 125 million; an equivalent percentage of today’s population would come to 11.2 million. Most of the jobs created required only the use of shovels and pickaxes; the CWA’s workers paved airport runways and the roads connecting farms to market, built playgrounds, and constructed or made improvements to 40,000 schools.

The CWA was conceived as a one-winter-only emergency project, but in 1935, it was reconceived as the Works Progress Administration, which through the remainder of the decade employed millions more on kindred projects.

COULD A BIDEN administration create a 21st-century equivalent of the CWA? It would, of course, have to deal with the high levels of unemployment by enacting the $600 weekly federal supplement to unemployment insurance that the Trump administration and congressional Republicans have refused to renew. But it will be no less urgent—economically and politically—to lower the unemployment rate with federally funded jobs.

A number of Obama veterans have recognized the need to create jobs more quickly this time around. Writing in The Nation, Pollin, who worked with the Department of Transportation on the green investments in the Obama stimulus, noted that this time, “we need to identify the subgroup of green investment projects that can realistically roll into action at scale within a matter of months. One good example would be to undertake energy-efficient retrofits of all public and commercial buildings … The administrative issues around mounting such projects could begin today. The on-site work could then begin on the first day that it is safe to do so.”

In his study for the Sierra Club, Pollin estimates that the Biden plan’s suggested funding for retrofitting buildings would create 757,000 jobs per year—and of all the 11.6 million jobs that Pollin estimates the Biden plan could create, those retrofitting jobs are perhaps the first that an Obama administration could successfully create. That’s both a lot of jobs and nowhere near enough, given the staggering levels of joblessness a Democratic administration is sure to inherit.

The severity of that problem should require the administration to cut much of the red tape that would slow down its job creation. One way to do that would be to put some of those new jobs directly on the federal payroll, rather than send funds to the states to establish the very same job-creating projects, for which they’d have to constantly check with the feds to ensure that they were meeting the federal criteria. The CWA and WPA worked with state and local governments to identify needs and get sign-offs, but by reserving for themselves the role of direct employer, they sped the process along.

Another time-saver would be to shorten some of the good-government processes that delay projects’ implementation. There’d be no small irony, I acknowledge, in limiting the time prescribed for an environmental-impact report on a clean-energy project, but that may be what the administration needs to do to pull the economy back from the abyss—and to ensure that clean energy isn’t short-circuited by the right wing returning to power in two or four years.

What all this means is that the Biden campaign’s policy wing, and the liberal infrastructure that has helped inform it, needs to be working now not only on policies that will create a more thriving and egalitarian economy, but on those which can be made to thrive in the shortest amount of time. That’s no easy task, but one that both the economy and the nation’s political future demand."

https://www.newyorker.com/…/broadcasting-joe-bidens-economi…

https://prospect.org/…/heres-how-joe-biden-could-revive-th…/

https://www.politico.com/…/biden-economics-obama-stimulus-4…

POLITICO.COM
The former vice president surrounds himself with a cadre of left-leaning economic advisers, a reflection of a policy approach seen as more progressive than during the last recession.

About Those Senior Voters....

A new set of AARP polls conducted by a bipartisan team of pollsters in a series of battleground states, has very bad news for Trump in terms of older voter support. They concentrated on age 50+ voters; here are the Presidential results for 65+ voters, as summarized by Charlie Sykes at The Bulwark.

"According to the survey, Biden leads Trump among 65-plus voters in eight states: Colorado (51% to 44%), Iowa (55% to 38%), Maine (62% to 32%), Michigan (57% to 39%), Montana (50% to 45%), North Carolina (52% to 45%), Pennsylvania (53% to 42%), and Wisconsin (56% to 39%). Trump leads Biden in one state: Georgia (54% to 42%). Biden and Trump are statistically tied in two states: Arizona (49% to 47%) and Florida (49% to 48%)."

AARP.ORG
50+ voters are concerned about the coronavirus, safe voting, healthcare, and the economy., especially Social Security and Medicare. Partisan divides are also influencing voters opinions, but neither partisan politics nor the coronavirus seem to be discouraging them from voting.