Election 2020: Is It Done and Dusted? Has the Fat Lady Sung?

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED 11/09/20; UPDATED 11/27/20, TO REFLECT THE MOUNTING EVIDENCE OF FRAUD.

Possibly, despite considerable evidence of fraud. In any event, Barring a smoking cannon or two, the Supreme Court probably won’t salvage the election for Trump. However, based on Gorsuch’s recent smackdown of Robert in the religious liberty case, I hold out some hope for a rescue by the Supremes, if a case that flips the outcome gets that far.

A post by Trump supporter Anatoly Karlin — though I don’t agree with all of it — makes some good points. The vote counts are incomplete in several States, but the results to date support Karlin’s central thesis, which is that Trump lost just enough ground in key States (or Biden gained just enough ground in those States) to cause them to flip from Red to Blue.

If fraud isn’t at the bottom of Biden’s tentative victory, what might be? A degree of revulsion for Trump that blinded many voters to the dire consequences of a Biden win, especially if accompanied by Democrat control of Congress. Nothing else, that I can see.

Here’s the table that shows Trump’s (almost) across-the-board slippage, where the light-blue fill indicates States that flipped from Red to Blue: This table shows, in light-blue shading, the States whose votes were manipulated to tilt the election toward Biden:

Despite my faint hope for a reversal of the apparent outcome, I will carry on:

I will continue to update the list of links to allegations of election fraud (here) … just in case.

When all of the votes have been tallied and certified, I will update the graph that describes the statistical relationship between GOP candidates’ shares of electoral votes and shares of popular votes. (See this post for a preliminary update.)

And I will write about the likely consequences of a Biden-Harris presidency (you read that right), with a GOP-controlled Senate, which are dire but not quite as dire as the outlook implied in this post.

Election 2020: Which Poll Came Closest?

Despite my long-standing reliance on Rasmussen Reports, I have decided to add two polls to my must-follow list: The Hill/HarrisX and IBD/TIPP. Rasmussen’s final poll before this year’s election had Biden leading Trump by 1 percentage point. In fact — assuming that the final vote count resembles the current tally — the nationwide count of popular votes puts Biden ahead of Trump by almost 4 percentage points. That was the spread predicted by The Hill/Harris and IBD/TIP in their final pre-election polls. If I had used that spread in my final projection, I would have nailed Trump’s share of the electoral vote, which now stands at 43 percent (before all results have been certified and all court challenges have been heard and ruled upon).

In fact, this year’s (apparent) result is exactly in line with the equation that I had derived from the results for the elections of 1972 – 2016:

With the addition of 2020, the relationship between popular-vote share and electoral-vote share looks like this:

The only change is a slight improvement in explanatory power (r-squared rose from 0.92 to 0.93).

The GOP continues to hold an edge in the electoral college, but it is a slight edge. According to the equations in the graphs, a GOP candidate must muster at least 49.5 percent of the two-party popular vote to be sure of winning an electoral-vote majority.

Trump got lucky in 2016. Because of razor-thin victories in a few key States, he got 56.9 percent of the electoral vote with only 48.9 percent of the two-party popular vote (i.e., a deficit of just over 2 percentage points).

This year, however, Trump seems to have eked out only 48.1 percent of the two-party popular vote (i.e., a deficit of almost 4 percentage points), and the close calls (apparently) went to Biden. Result: A reversal of the 2016 outcome.

For more about the accuracy of various polls, see this piece at NewsMax (behind a paywall). Here’s some of it:

The Investor’s Business Daily/TIPP poll defended its title as the most accurate pollster for predicting presidential outcomes. The pollsters take the No. 1 spot for the fifth presidential cycle in a row, a Newsmax review reveals. Among the worst polls were those from CNN and Quinnipiac.

One of only two polls to predict President Donald Trump’s 2016 win, the IBD/TIPP poll came closest to predicting the outcome of the 2020 presidential election. The Hill-HarrisX poll also predicted election results with the same accuracy, according to American Research Group, Inc….

Also making the top of the list were Emerson and Rasmussen Reports — one of Trump’s favorite pollsters. Fox News, USA Today/Suffolk University, and New York Times/Siena College came in at the middle of the pack. Among the worst polls were Economist/YouGov, CNBC/Change, NBC News/ Wall Street Journal, USC Dornsife, Quinnipiac, and CNN. All predicted Biden would lead Trump by double digits.

In any event, among the many sources that I will never consult is Nate Silver’s overrated statistical mishmash called FiveThirtyEight. Silver predicted not only Democrat gains in the House (wrong) and a likely flip of the Senate (probably wrong), but also a 9-point spread between Biden and Trump in the nationwide tally of popular votes (very wrong).

Election 2020 and Occam’s Razor

Occam’s razor

is the problem-solving principle that “entities should not be multiplied without necessity” or, more simply, the simplest explanation is usually the right one…. This philosophical razor advocates that when presented with competing hypotheses about the same [phenomenon], one should select the solution with the fewest assumptions, and that this is not meant to be a way of choosing between hypotheses that make different predictions.

Similarly, in science, Occam’s razor is used as an abductive heuristic in the development of theoretical models rather than as a rigorous arbiter between candidate models. In the scientific method, Occam’s razor is not considered an irrefutable principle of logic or a scientific result; the preference for simplicity in the scientific method is based on the falsifiability criterion. For each accepted explanation of a phenomenon, there may be an extremely large, perhaps even incomprehensible, number of possible and more complex alternatives. Since failing explanations can always be burdened with ad hoc hypotheses to prevent them from being falsified, simpler theories are preferable to more complex ones because they are more testable.

But simplicity isn’t a guarantee of correctness. More complexity may be necessary in order to explain a phenomenon or to make accurate predictions about it. Thus the weasel-words “without necessity”. If a thing is well explained by two independent variables, and a third independent variable adds nothing to the explanation, only two were necessary. But the number of “necessary” variables isn’t known ahead of time. It takes data-gathering, testing, and statistical analysis of the tests to determine how many are “necessary”.

Occam’s razor, in other words, is merely a tautology. The correct number of “necessary” explanatory variables is an empirical matter, not one that can be determined a priori by a vague and meaningless aphorism.

With that in mind, let us apply Occam’s razor to the presidential election of 2020. The tentative outcome of that election is a victory for Joe Biden. There are at least four explanations for the tentative outcome:

1. Every State that Biden won, he won fair and square. There were no fraudulent votes, no fraudulent counting of votes, and no errors in the counting of votes.

2. Biden’s victories in key States, though perhaps tainted by some degree of fraud or error, are legitimate; that is, the victories would have occurred absent fraud or error.

3. Biden’s victories in at least some States are illegitimate; that is, the victories wouldn’t have occurred absent fraud or error. But overturning the fraudulent or erroneous victories in some States wouldn’t change the outcome; Biden would still have enough electoral votes to be elected president.

4. Biden’s victories in at least some States are illegitimate; that is, the victories wouldn’t have occurred absent fraud or error. And overturning the fraudulent or erroneous victories in those States would change the outcome; Biden wouldn’t have enough electoral votes to be elected president. But this explanation, if true, may not be confirmed in time to change the tentative outcome of the election.

The simplest explanation, number 1, is almost certainly false. So much for Occam’s razor. What about explanations 2, 3, and 4?

I honestly do not know which of them to believe because I am withholding judgement until all of the legal votes have been counted correctly. That probably won’t happen before January 20, 2021, and so it will never happen. And so I will forever suspend judgement — but I will also suspend belief that Biden was elected honestly.

Why won’t the facts emerge before January 20, 2021? Dov Fischer explains:

[F]or those who have actual real-life professional high-stakes litigation experience, people like Rudy Giuliani and those of us who know what’s what, the reality is that no one can just walk into a courtroom a week or two after a massive fraud has taken place and just lay all the fraud on the table. It takes weeks, months, and years to unpack this stuff. No experienced attorney can just show up with all the evidence in a week or two. For example, who among us, even a week ago, had ever heard of “Dominion Voting Systems”? In only a matter of days, we now know not only of them but of their software and that they donated to the Clinton Foundation. And, oh by the way, their equipment was used in the election by North Carolina, Nevada, Georgia, Michigan, Arizona, and Pennsylvania — comprising 84 electoral college votes in six of the tightest battleground states. On the other hand, Texas rejected using them

Or take the dead voters. (Please.) Or the harvested and dumped ballots. Was it legal in the respective state to harvest the votes? If so, were the votes harvested by legally authorized harvesters — or by unauthorized out-of-state college kids who had nothing to do once it got too cold to march with Black Lives Matters thugs and threaten octogenarians at restaurants? It takes times — weeks, months — to unpeel that onion. And, again, what about the dead voters? It takes time to go through the voters’ rolls and to compare them with the rolls of the living.

And signatures. It is commonplace in litigations that, when disputes arise over signatures, handwriting experts are called in. One place to find handwriting experts is at a website called — take a seat for this one — www.handwritingexperts.com. But that is the point. When the stakes are high, you can’t just have volunteer housewives and househusbands comparing signatures. Not only valleys forge but people do, too. Could there be stakes greater than whether we have four more years of a Trump presidency or an alternative quadrennium of a Harris and Biden White House? Who is comparing the signatures on the mail-in envelopes with the actual signatures on registration rolls? How is it done? How carefully? How expertly?

It is wrong, unfair, and preposterous for media, including Fox News, regularly to parrot the Democrats and say that the Republicans so far do not have buckets and suitcases full of vote-fraud evidence. This kind of evidence — fraud — is the hardest to uncover and the hardest to gather. Mueller took two years. Durham, assuming there is such a person, already has been at it for a year and a half. States allow three years for claims of fraud. Usually, it takes document demands, demands for computer discs and drives, interrogatories, and depositions to root out the fraud and corruption. That is how long it takes. I know: I personally did this stuff for 10 years in matters entailing multi-million-dollar complex business disputes. Those of us who actually know the practice of law, not from Ally McBeal and from the 45 cable stations that simultaneously televise Law and Order reruns but from real life, know that the Trump team cannot possibly have all its evidence at hand yet.

Nevertheless,

they indeed are compiling anecdotal evidence, testimony of poll watchers who saw abuses and were kept away from monitoring ballot counting. The Trump team is gathering sworn affidavits, a recognized form of admissible evidence, and they are going as fast as they can. They report that they already have 234 sworn affidavits. Steve Cortes has published a wonderful piece raising four examples of circumstantial evidence arising from logical improbabilities:

1. Incomprehensibly high turnout in Wisconsin. For example, Milwaukee ended up with an 84 percent turnout, while a nearby Midwest city with a comparable demographic, Cleveland, had a 51 percent turnout. In all, Wisconsin reported voting by 90 percent of their registered voters. Numbers like that are off the charts. Biden inched ahead of Trump in Wisconsin by under 1 percent. By contrast, Trump’s lead in Ohio was too large to overcome with shenanigans.

2. The improbability of a lethargic Biden scoring significantly stronger voter turnouts than did an energetic Obama in certain battleground Obama districts.

3. The quirk of over 450,000 Biden-only ballots, on which the submitted ballots showed a vote for Biden but no one else at all, even in states where there were tight congressional and Senate contests down-ticket. That of course is technically possible, and certainly some such ballots could be expected. Curiously, Biden-only ballots were predominantly prevalent in battleground states like Georgia. By contrast, there were only 725 such ballots in Wyoming, which was a Trump–Republican blowout. For comparison, there was only a fraction of Trump-only ballots in Georgia.

4. The virtual absence of mail-in vetting. In New York, which tried large-scale mail-in balloting for the first time last June, the natural process of vetting saw 21 percent of ballots disqualified. Likewise, it is common that, among people mailing in ballots for the first time in their lives, usually some 3 percent get disqualified. That simply is the human nature of some who forget to sign, forget to date the ballot, fill it in wrong, and otherwise mess up. That’s people. Yet, in Pennsylvania only 0.03 percent of such ballots were rejected, 10 times fewer than all experience would have anticipated.

Circumstantial evidence matters and carries serious evidentiary weight. Murderers have been sentenced to death based solely on circumstantial evidence. Honest, reasonable minds cannot expect all evidence of fraud to be at hand only 10 days or even a month or two after the election has ended. Democrats had half a year and more to plan strategies for aspects of their fraud and ways to cover it up. If given enough time, enough production demands for computer drives and discs, enough time to read secret and deleted emails, the Trump team would have an opportunity to say “We have the evidence” or to present as Mueller did after his two-year investigation. Any shorter time frame is unrealistic.

Conclusion: The correct explanation of the tentative outcome of the presidential election of 2020 will never be known. Biden will be inaugurated on January 20, 2021 (if he lives that long), and the memory hole will swallow almost all doubts about how Biden won. Remaining doubts, and even hard evidence, will be dismissed as delusional and fabricated.

And so we will be frog-marched into a brave new world.

Election 2020: Modified Betting Propositions

In “Election 2020: Some Betting Propositions“, I laid out the terms of a bet that I had proposed to correspondent who is a “conservative” collabo. The underlying conditions — Democrat control of the White House and Congress — may not be met, at least not in 2021-2023. But the day will come, and Americans will rue it.

So, what will happen if Biden is elected but the GOP still controls the Senate and is able to prevent the left from enacting some of its agenda? Plenty. I have gleaned some examples from the blogosphere (links at the bottom of this post), and here they are:

Stopping construction of the border wall by not requesting funds for it, not reapportioning funds to it, and canceling all work in progress.

Encouraging illegal immigration (e.g., lax enforcement, reinstatement of DACA) to reopen the floodgates at the southern border.

Issuing executive orders that reverse the economic recovery in the name of combating COVID-19.

Rejoining the Paris climate scam, severely restricting U.S. oil production and the use of fossil fuels, and promoting “renewable” energy through  executive-regulatory actions, which will have almost zero effect on the climate and make Americans generally poorer and more miserable. (A full-bore legislative package — if Biden could get it passed — would be disastrous.)

Reinstating U.S. support of WHO, a corrupt pro-China, anti-life operation.

Reinstating Obama’s supine, America-last foreign policy. In particular, reinstating the Iran nuclear deal and resuming the shipment of bales of money to Iran to finance its “peaceful” nuclear research, continue to build its regional military prowess, and acquire the means to strike the U.S. with missiles; and ilting strongly in favor of radical Islam and Palestine, and strongly against Israel, which will foment conflict in the Middle East.

Progressing further toward thought control by encouraging more and stricter pro=left censorship by internet-based purveyors of “news” and anti-social media.

Advancing “critical race theory”, which blames whites for all of the miseries of blacks, many of which are self-inflicted by black culture, and others of which are due to innate racial differences in intelligence.

Actively pursuing extra-legal “punishment” of Trump’s allies and supporters.

Using the Justice Department to further erode law and order in the United States by hamstringing police departments.

Not mentioned at any of links below, but a key proposition from my earlier post: Diminution of America’s armed forces in the face of increasing adventurism by Russia and China — thus encouraging even more and bolder moves by those countries against American’s interests. This is a move that Harris-Biden can make unilaterally by slashing defense budgets submitted to Congress, and which the House can help to attain by holding the defense budget hostage until the Senate acquiesces in the cuts.

And one more crucial thing. Harris-Biden will openly flout rulings by the Supreme Court when such rulings conflict with the regime’s policies. (This is something that Trump/Hitler never did.)

I will package these items as a proposed bet for my correspondent. He will probably decline to take the bet (as he declined my earlier offer) because, in his ostrich-like way he doesn’t want to acknowledge the damage that Harris-Biden will do to the nation. He couldn’t see past his Trump hatred.

I will end this on a more pleasant note, with a link to Joy Pullman’s post at The Federalist, “12 Ways For Trump To Bomb The Battlefield While Biden Claims The Presidency” (November 10, 2020).


Links:

Carina Benton, “Totalitarian Left Promises Purges And Punishment For All Trump Voters“, The Federalist, November 10, 2020

Sam Dorman and Hillary Vaughn, “Biden Plans to Rejoin Paris Agreement, WHO, and Undo Other Trump Decisions on Day 1“, Fox News, November 9, 2020

Tilak Doshi, “The Coming Energy Shocks Under a Biden Administration“, Forbes, November 11, 2020

David Gerstman, “Former Biden Aide: Rejoining Nuclear Deal Is ‘High’ on Biden’s Agenda“, Legal Insurrection, November 10, 2020

Fred Lucas, “7 Big Items on Biden’s White House Agenda“, The Daily Signal, November 8, 2020

Heather Mac Donald, “The Biden Threat to Law Enforcement“, City Journal, November 10, 2020

Steve Postal, “How a Biden–Harris Administration Would Unravel Middle East Peace “, The American Spectator, November 10, 2020

Jarrett Stepman, “Biden Would Likely Issue Flurry of Executive Orders on Climate, Abortion, Immigration“, The Daily Signal, November 10, 2020

Jonathan Turley (eponymous blog), “Shredding The Fabric Of Our Democracy’: Biden Aide Signals Push For Greater Censorship On The Internet“, November 10, 2020

Francis Menton, “How Much Damage Can Biden Do to America with His Climate Plan?“, Manhattan Contrarian, November 14, 2020

Eugene Volokh, “Biden Transition Team Member’s Op-Ed on ‘Why America Needs a Hate-Speech Law’“, The Volokh Conspiracy, November 17, 2020

Frances Martel, “Six Disastrous Obama-Era Foreign Policies Set to Return Under Biden“, Breitbart, November 26, 2020

Art Keller, “Will Biden Resurrect the Iran Deal?“, Quillette, November 29, 2020

Election 2020: What Will the Supreme Court Do?

Here’s my guess. Roberts, who has shown animus toward the Trump administration in some of his opinions will join the “liberals” — Breyer, Sotomayor, and Kagan — in decisions that favor Biden. Many commentators will simply ascribe Roberts’s rulings to his desire to maintain an appearance that the Court is non-political. They will also ascribe to him a desire to fend off court-packing by making it seem less threatening to Democrats, despite its supposed conservative majority. The mainstream media will simply ignore or minimized Roberts’s animus.

But Roberts plus the three lefties do not a majority make. So how will Roberts achieve his real objective, which is to remove Trump from office? He will appeal to Gorsuch, who seems to march to a different drummer than the Court’s real conservatives (Thomas, Alito, Kavanaugh, and Barrett). “Neil”, he’ll say, “here’s our chance to reassure the Democrats, who would surround us with their lackeys, that we aren’t rubber stamps for Republican policies.” And so Gorsuch will join Roberts and the lefties, for an anti-Trump majority. And perhaps (though I doubt it) Roberts will be able to recruit Kavanaugh or Barrett to the cause of making the Court seem to be above partisan politics. (Ironically, that’s precisely what Roberts will be engaged in, and everyone will know it.)

And so, Trump will lose despite evidence of massive election fraud in key Democrat-controlled States. And when the Democrats next get their hands on the Senate, court-packing will proceed apace, and Roberts will be an impotent chief justice who is dominated by the Court’s new, permanent left wing.

Election 2020: State of Play and Accuracy of Polls

UPDATED AT 4:00 PM CST, 11/04/20

In yesterday’s post, I forecast a 285-253 electoral-vote victory for Biden. As of this morning afternoon, according to FoxNews, Biden has locked up 264 electoral votes and is leading in three States (Michigan, Nevada, and Wisconsin) whose electoral votes would give him a total of 270 — just enough for victory. It’s possible that Biden’s total could be higher, given the number of votes still to be counted in Georgia, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania, where Trump is currently ahead. And, of course, Biden could still lose any or all of the three undecided States where he is currently ahead. And both candidates can be expected to demand recounts, and recounts of recounts, and to seek judicial intervention all the way to the Supreme Court. But, whatever the outcome, I am pleased by the accuracy of my forecast. (Though I will be most displeased by the outcome if Biden proves to be the winner.)

I based my forecast on polling conducted by Rasmussen Reports, which has been my go-to source for presidential polling for the past 12 years. Rasmussen has acquired a bum rap for being pro-Republican because its generally accurate polls aren’t biased toward Democrats as are most other polls. This year’s presidential race provides further evidence of Rasmussen’s lack of bias.

As of now, Biden has a 2 percentage-point lead over Trump in the nationwide tally of popular votes. That lead might rise a bit when all of the Left Coast votes have been counted, but it’s statistically the same as the 1-percent edge forecast in Rasmussen’s final poll. And how did Rasmussen do relative to other major polls? See for yourself:

Election 2020: When Will the Winner Be Known?

Who knows? But the results from a few States in the Eastern time zone may tell the tale. Look at the results reported by late Tuesday and compare them with Trump’s performance in 2016.

The following information is borrowed from The New York Times and Dave Leip’s Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections.

Maine (polls close at 8 p.m. EST):

Officials are not expecting delays processing mail ballots. As of Sunday, the vast majority of absentee ballots had been returned.

Trump won 48 percent of the two-party vote in 2016.

New Hampshire (most polls close at 7 p.m. EST):

No information provided about counting mail ballots, but New Hampshire is a small State.

Trump won just under 50 percent of the two-party vote in 2016.

North Carolina (polls close at 7:30 p.m. EST)

Early votes and processed mail ballots, which are likely to be relatively stronger for Biden, will be reported around 7:30 p.m. Election Day results, which are likely to be relatively stronger for Trump, will be reported between 8:30 p.m. and 1 a.m. As of Monday, officials estimate that 97 percent of ballots cast will be reported on election night. Although postmarked ballots can arrive as late as November 12, a clear winner may emerge on election night.

Trump won 52 percent of the two-party vote in 2016.

In general, look to States where most of the ballots have been counted by, say, midnight on election night and compare Trump’s percentage of the two-party vote in those States with the results for 2016. You can guesstimate the outcome by adding and subtracting electoral votes from Trump’s tally in 2016:

If it’s a blowout for Trump or Biden, mostly complete returns by late Tuesday or early Wednesday should tell the tale. If it’s too close to call, look for an election that’s decided in the Supreme Court.

Election 2020: A Penultimate Prognostication

Tomorrow I will issue a firm prediction about the outcome of the presidential election of 2020. I will base the prediction on the indicators discussed below.

The mood of the electorate was rising sharply in 2012 when Obama was re-elected. Recently, the mood has risen sharply from its COVID-induced depths, which is a good sign for Trump:

Trump’s standing with likely voters has, as measured by Rasmussen Reports, has rebounded to levels well above those attained by Obama at the same point in 2012:

According to White House Watch at Rasmussen Reports, which nailed Clinton’s popular-vote edge four years ago, Biden is not out-performing Clinton:

Biden’s narrow lead and Trump’s standing with likely voters translates into a slight edge in the electoral vote:

If I were calling the election today, I would call it for Trump — subject to the caveat that the outcomes in some key States may well hinge on decisions rendered by Democrat-appointed judges.

Election 2020: Gallup’s Timely Departure

Gallup isn’t polling Election 2020. It’s polling a lot of related things, but not voters’ preferences as between Trump and Biden. Why is that? It seems that Gallup abandoned the business of presidential prognostication after its poor (but not uniquely poor) sounding of the 2016 presidential election.

Gallup’s final poll had Clinton leading Trump by 4 percentage points, 46 to 42. A 4-point spread surely meant that Clinton would win. But Trump won, despite Clinton’s final 2-point “victory” in the mythical nationwide popular vote. (Why? See this.) Trump exceeded Gallup’s final estimate by 4 percentage points while Clinton bettered it by only 2 percentage points. Game, set, and match to Trump.

It was only the second time since Gallup’s first presidential poll in 1936 that Gallup recorded a clear failure. The first time was when Gallup had Dewey ahead of Truman 50-45 in the 1948 race.

There were several races in which Gallup’s final spread was 2 percentage points or less, so failure in those cases could be attributed to sampling error. Even in those cases, the candidate who was ahead, in Gallup’s estimation, lost only once: Gerald Ford in 1976.

Gallup’s departure signaled a realization that polling had become too fraught with uncertainty because (a) voters have become increasingly reluctant to respond to pollsters. And among those that do, there are more and more voters who are unwilling to divulge their true preferences (e.g., “shy” Trump supporters).

Election 2020 confirms the wisdom of Gallup’s departure from the field. Almost all of the pollsters, including the highly overrated FiveThirtyEight, are predicting victory for Biden. This comes in the face of huge pro-Trump crowds, a late swing toward Trump in Iowa, unusual endorsements of Trump (e.g. police unions, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette), and Trump’s standing in an unbiased poll, that of Rasmussen Reports.

I’m not quite ready to say that Trump will win. But the outcome will be a lot closer than FiveThirtyEight et al. would like it to be. (Yes,”like” is the proper word.) I will issue my final prediction on the morning of Tuesday, November 3.

Election 2020: Daily Forecast of Electoral Votes

UPDATED 10/31/20 — IT’S TIED AGAIN.

As of yesterday:

The estimates represented in this graph reflect Trump’s daily strong approval/strong disapproval ratio (derived from the Daily Presidential Tracking Poll at Rasmussen Reports), the relationship between that ratio and Trump’s share of the popular vote (based on White House Watch at Rasmussen Reports), and the relationship between share of popular vote and number of electoral votes (see this).


Previous posts in this series:

Liberty Is at Stake

The Dark Side Is on the March

Keep Your Eye on Rasmussen Reports

The GOP’s Edge in the Electoral College

Some Betting Propositions

Don’t Believe What You Read about Biden’s “Lead” in the Polls

Deja Vu?

Election 2020: Don’t Believe What You Read about Biden’s “Lead” in the Polls

I have read commentary to the effect that Biden is in better shape now than Clinton was at this point in 2016 because he has a bigger lead in the polls than Clinton did. I believe that observation is flawed because it seems to rely on conglomerations of polls (like those tracked by RealClearPolitics and FiveThirtyEight), the quality and composition of which varies from day to day, and which has probably changed a lot since 2016.

I follow White House Watch at Rasmussen Reports. It’s superior to most polls because it’s a tracking poll that samples the same group of likely voters throughout a campaign. I suspect (but don’t know for sure) that there’s a lot of overlap between the 2016 sample and the 2020 sample.

The graph below compares Clinton’s and Biden’s lead or deficits against Trump, given the number of days left before election day. As that day draws nigh, Biden is actually doing worse than Clinton.

Notably, the final Rasmussen poll in 2016 hit the popular vote gap right on the head: Clinton “won” the mythical nationwide popular vote by 2 percentage points. And it did her no good because her popular-vote “victory” was the result of lopsided outcomes in deep-Blue States (e.g., California), where extra popular votes didn’t translate into extra electoral votes. I expect the same kind of result this year, though some of the States that went narrowly for Trump in 2016 may flip in 2020.

Election 2020: The GOP’s Edge in the Electoral College

Today’s lesson is about the importance of keeping the Electoral College — if, like me, you are an ardent anti-Democrat fascist. Consider the 12 presidential elections from 1972 through 2016, in which a third-party candidate failed to earn an electoral vote (though a few were cast for third-party candidates out of spite). The record of the past 12 elections shows why it’s so important to retain the Electoral College, and to ensure that some States don’t join an unconstitutional pact to cast their electoral votes for the “winner” of the mythical national popular vote.

Consider this graph (which I’ll explain in detail):

The horizontal axis represents the share of the two-party popular vote won by each GOP candidate; the vertical axis represents the share of the electoral vote won by each GOP candidate (ignoring votes cast for other candidates by faithless electors). The various points on the graph represent the outcome of each election from 1972 through 2016. (For ease of viewing, the labels for the years in which a GOP candidate won are placed to the left of the regression line; the labels for the years in which a Democrat candidate won are placed to the right of the regression line.)

If the relationship between popular votes and electoral votes were proportionate, the points on the graph would be clustered around the dashed red line. But because of the winner-take-all rule that prevails in most States, there is a knife-edge relationship between popular votes and electoral votes; departures from 50 percent of the “national” popular vote usually reflects gains (or losses) of whole States and their blocs of votes. (The point labeled “1984”, for example, represents the 1984 presidential election in which Ronald Reagan won 59.2 percent of the total number of votes cast for him and his Democrat opponent, Walter Mondale. Reagan’s 59.2 percent of the two-party popular vote yielded him 97.6 percent of the electoral vote because Reagan lost only D.C. and Mondale’s home State of Minnesota.) So a relatively small change in a candidate’s share of the “national” popular vote yields a disproportionate change in the candidate’s share of the electoral vote (which is truly a national tally). The regression line (dashed black line) and its accompany equation reflect the knife-edge relationship.

But, because the number of electoral votes cast by a State is equal to the number of U.S. senators and representatives from the State, the Electoral College is weighted in favor of less-populous States. And those, in recent decades, have generally voted Republican. In 2000, to take a crucial example, George W. Bush won 50.5 percent of the electoral vote while drawing 49.7 percent of the two-party popular vote. He was able to do that because he won the electoral votes of 29 States to Albert Gore’s 22 jurisdictions (21 States plus D.C.). In other words, Bush had an edge of 14 electoral votes that offset Gore’s edge in populous States with Democrat majorities.

A starker example, of course, is the outcome of the 2016 election, in which Donald Trump won 48.9 percent of the two-party popular vote but earned 56.9 percent of the electoral vote. His Democrat opponent, Hillary Clinton, won the electoral votes of only 21 jurisdictions (20 States plus D.C.). More important, though, was Trump’s ability to eke out narrow victories in States that Gore had won in 2000 (e.g., Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin), while losing States with fewer electoral votes that had gone to Bush in 2000. Trump’s edge in number of States won earned him a bonus of 18 electoral votes. It’s a bonus that Trump could use in the coming election.

In general, the regression equation in the graph suggests that, on average, a GOP candidate would win 50.2 percent of electoral votes (a bare majority of 270-268) with 49.5 percent of the popular vote.

This all leads to the obvious question (posed in classic left-speak): Is it fair? The correct answer is that “fairness” has nothing to do with it. The Electoral College is justifiable as a matter of State sovereignty:

As long as the States retain their power under the Constitution, they remain co-sovereign with the government of the United States. The election of a president by the Electoral College recognizes the co-sovereignty of the States, and the separate voice that each of them has in the election of a president.

It is not for the voters of California to dictate the winner of a presidential election, as they would have done in 2016 had a nationwide tally of popular votes by State been decisive. Rather, it is for the voters of each State, in the aggregate, to cast what amounts to a State-wide vote through the Electoral College. One can quibble with the constitutional compromise that gave less-populous States a slightly disproportionate say in the outcome. (The number of electoral votes cast by each State is equal to the number of its Representatives in Congress — thus roughly proportional to its population — plus the number of its Senators in Congress, which is two for every State regardless of its population.) But the principle remains, regardless of the quibble: Each State is independent of every other State and its aggregate preference should not be submerged in the mythical nationwide popular-vote tally.

(The quoted passage is from an aptly titled post of mine: “Vive le collège électoral!”.)


Previous posts in this series:

Liberty Is at Stake

The Dark Side Is on the March

Keep Your Eye on Rasmussen Reports

Election 2020: Keep Your Eye on Rasmussen Reports

In my previous post I contrasted the results of polling by Rasmussen Reports with two indicators published by RealClearPolitics: its the “poll of polls” and its summary of election betting markets. Although Rasmussen’s numbers (as of September 30) look bad for Trump, they’re not as bad as the numbers produced by most polls and betting markets.

Why is that?  Rasmussen’s polls yield better — more accurate — results than most other polls because Rasmussen’s polls are unbiased. It’s not surprising, therefore, that Rasmussen has an excellent track record. Many pollsters and pundits try to dismiss Rasmussen as pro-Republican, or to denigrate Rasmussen’s methods. This is a classic example of psychological projection because most polls are systematically biased toward Democrats.

There are two reasons for that. Pro-Democrat pollsters (and their media allies) don’t like to publish bad news about Democrats. By the same token, underestimating the electoral prospects of Republicans is a devious form of election-rigging: It helps to demoralize Republican voters and therefore reduce pro-Republican turnout at election time.

How biased are the other polls? On average, extremely biased. The following graph shows the relationship between Rasmussen’s polling on the 2020 presidential election and the average of the dozen-or-so polls tracked by RealClearPolitics:

If I had removed Rasmussen’s poll from RCP’s average, the result would have been more stark, but it’s stark enough as it is. Rasmussen’s (presumably) accurate poll (White House Watch) would have to show Trump leading Biden with 70 percent of likely voters before the RCP average would show Trump tied with Biden.

The moral of the story: I won’t cite the RCP “poll of polls” again.

I will however cite RCP’s summary of betting markets. They don’t estimate the split of the popular vote, but they do measure the degree of confidence that one or another candidate will win. Unfortunately, there is growing confidence on the part of bettors that Biden will win.

I will close with a reminder of what’s at stake in this election: liberty.

Election 2020: The Dark Side Is on the March

I discuss the Dark Side — the consequences of Democrat control of the White House and Congress — in this post.

Regarding the outcome of the presidential contest, I am following three two indicators this year: White House Watch at Rasmussen Reports, the summary of two-way polls (i.e,, Trump vs. Biden) at RealClearPolitics, and the betting market at RealClearPolitics. [See this post for an explanation of the changes.]

In the graph below, only the RealClearPolitics (RCP) betting market reflects the perceived outcome of yesterday’s “debate” between Trump and Biden. And Biden seems to have come out ahead in that encounter. But the odds against Trump were slipping before the debate, which is consistent with the trend in the Rasmussen poll (which doesn’t reflect the debate). The two-way RCP poll is (on average) several days out of date, but Biden has an edge there, too. [Ignore the blue line, which represents the RCP two-way poll.]

In sum, the tide is running against Trump, and I wouldn’t bet on him at this stage. It will take a big October surprise (e.g., indictment of high-level ex-FBI officials in Russiagate) to turn things around. As for the Senate, a tie looks possible at this point. But with Harris as vice president, the Democrats would effectively control the Senate even if it’s split 50-50.

The bottom line: Lovers of liberty had better prepare themselves for the real-world equivalent of Nineteen-Eighty Four.

Election 2020: Liberty Is at Stake

I have written many times over the years about what will happen to liberty in America the next time a Democrat is in the White House and Congress is controlled by Democrats. Many others have written or spoken about the same, dire scenario. Recently, for example, Victor Davis Hanson and Danielle Pletka addressed the threat to liberty that lies ahead if Donald Trump is succeeded by Joe Biden, in tandem with a Democrat takeover of the Senate. This post reprises my many posts about the clear and present danger to liberty if Trump is defeated and the Senate flips, and adds some points suggested by Hanson and Pletka. There’s much more to be said, I’m sure, but what I have to say here should be enough to make every liberty-loving American vote for Trump — even those who abhor the man’s persona.

Court Packing

One of the first things on the agenda will be to enlarge the Supreme Court and fill the additional seats with justices who can be counted on to support the following policies discussed below, should those policies get to the Supreme Court. (If they don’t, they will be upheld in lower courts or go unchallenged because challenges will be perceived as futile.)

Abolition of the Electoral College

The Electoral College helps to protect the sovereignty of less-populous States from oppression by more-populous States. This has become especially important with the electoral shift that has seen California, New York, and other formerly competitive States slide into leftism. The Electoral College therefore causes deep resentment on the left when it yields a Republican president who fails to capture a majority of the meaningless nationwide popular vote, as Donald Trump failed (by a large margin) in 2016), despite lopsided victories by H. Clinton in California, New York, etc.

The Electoral College could be abolished formally by an amendment to the Constitution. But amending the Constitution by that route would take years, and probably wouldn’t succeed because it would be opposed by too many State legislatures.

The alternative, which would succeed with Democrat control of Congress and a complaisant Supreme Court, is a multi-State compact to this effect: The electoral votes of each member State will be cast for the candidate with the most popular votes, nationwide, regardless of the popular vote in the member State. This would work to the advantage of a Democrat who loses narrowly in a State where the legislature and governor’s mansion is controlled by Democrats – which is the whole idea.

Some pundits deny that the scheme would favor Democrats, but the history of presidential elections contradicts them.

Electorate Packing

If you’re going to abolish the Electoral College, you want to ensure a rock-solid hold on the presidency and Congress. What better way to do that than to admit Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia? Residents of D.C. already vote in presidential elections, but the don’t have senators and or a voting representative in the House. Statehood would give them those things. And you know which party’s banner the additional senators and representative would fly.

Admitting Puerto Rico would be like winning the trifecta (for Democrats): a larger popular-vote majority for Democrat presidential candidates, two more Democrat senators, and five more Democrat representatives in the House.

“Climate Change”

The “science” of “climate change” amounts to little more than computer models that can’t even “predict” recorded temperatures accurately because the models are based mainly on the assumption that CO2 (a minor greenhouse gas) drives the atmosphere’s temperature. This crucial assumption rests on a coincidence – rising temperatures from the late 1970s and rising levels of atmospheric CO2. But atmospheric CO2 has been far higher in earlier geological eras, while Earth’s temperature hasn’t been any higher than it is now. Yes, CO2 has been rising since the latter part of the 19th century, when industrialization began in earnest. Despite that, temperatures have fluctuated up and down for most of the past 150 years. (Some so-called scientists have resolved that paradox by adjusting historical temperatures to make them look lower than the really are.)

The deeper and probably more relevant causes of atmospheric temperature are to be found in the Earth’s core, magma flow, plate dynamics, ocean currents and composition, magnetic field, exposure to cosmic radiation, and dozens of other things that — to my knowledge — are ignored by climate models. Moreover, the complexity of the interactions of such factors, and others that are usually included in climate models cannot possibly be modeled.

The urge to “do something” about “climate change” is driven by a combination of scientific illiteracy, power-lust, and media-driven anxiety.

As a result, trillions of dollars have been and will be wasted on various “green” projects. These include but are far from limited to the replacement of fossil fuels by “renewables”, and the crippling of industries that depend on fossil fuels. Given that CO2 does influence atmospheric temperature slightly, it’s possible that such measures will have a slight effect on Earth’s temperature, even though the temperature rise has been beneficial (e.g., longer growing seasons; fewer deaths from cold weather, which kills more people than hot weather).

The main result of futile effort to combat “climate change” will be greater unemployment and lower real incomes for most Americans — except for the comfortable elites who press such policies.

Freedom of Speech

Legislation forbidding “hate speech” will be upheld by the packed Court. “Hate speech” will be whatever the bureaucrats who are empowered to detect and punish it say it is. And the bureaucrats will be swamped with complaints from vindictive leftists.

When the system is in full swing (which will take only a few years) it will be illegal to criticize, even by implication, such things as illegal immigration, same-sex marriage, transgenderism, anthropogenic global warming, or the confiscation of firearms. Violations will be enforced by huge fines and draconian prison sentences (sometimes in the guise of “re-education”).

Any hint of Christianity and Judaism will be barred from public discourse, and similarly punished. Islam will be held up as a model of unity and tolerance – at least until elites begin to acknowledge that Muslims are just as guilty of “incorrect thought” as persons of other religions and person who uphold the true spirit of the Constitution.

Reverse Discrimination

This has been in effect for several decades, as jobs, promotions, and college admissions have been denied the most capable persons in favor or certain “protected group” – manly blacks and women.

Reverse-discrimination “protections” will be extended to just about everyone who isn’t a straight, white male of European descent. And they will be enforced more vigorously than ever, so that employers will bend over backward to favor “protected groups” regardless of the effects on quality and quantity of output. That is, regardless of how such policies affect the general well-being of all Americans. And, of course, the heaviest burden – unemployment or menial employment – will fall on straight, white males of European descent. Except, of course, for the straight while males of European descent who are among the political, bureaucratic, and management elites who favor reverse discrimination.

Rule of Law

There will be no need for protests riots because police departments will become practitioners and enforcers of reverse discrimination (as well as “hate speech” violations and attempts to hold onto weapons for self-defense). This will happen regardless of the consequences, such as a rising crime rate, greater violence against whites and Asians, and flight from the cities (which will do little good because suburban police departments will also be co-opted).

Sexual misconduct (as defined by the alleged victim), will become a crime, and any straight, male person will be found guilty of it on the uncorroborated testimony of any female who claims to have been the victim of an unwanted glance, touch (even if accidental), innuendo (as perceived by the victim), etc.

There will be parallel treatment of the “crimes” of racism, anti-Islamism, nativism, and genderism.

Health Care

All health care and health-care related products and services (e.g., drug research) will be controlled and rationed by an agency of the federal government. Private care will be forbidden, though ready access to doctors, treatments, and medications will be provided for high officials and other favored persons.

Drug research – and medical research, generally – will dwindle in quality and quantity. There will be fewer doctors and nurses who are willing to work in a regimented system.

The resulting health-care catastrophe that befalls most of the populace (like that of the UK) will be shrugged off as a residual effect of “capitalist” health care.

Regulation

The regulatory regime, which already imposes a deadweight loss of 10 percent of GDP, will rebound with a vengeance, touching every corner of American life and regimenting all businesses except those daring to operate in an underground economy. The quality and variety of products and services will decline – another blow to Americans’ general well-being.

Taxation

Incentives to produce more and better products and services will be further blunted by increases on corporate profits, a more “progressive” structure of marginal tax rates (i.e., soaking the “rich”), and — perhaps worst of all — taxing wealth. Such measures will garner votes by appealing to economic illiterates, the envious, social-justice warriors, and guilt-ridden elites who can afford the extra taxes but don’t understand how their earnings and wealth foster economic growth and job creation. (A Venn diagram would depict almost the complete congruence of economic illiterates, the envious, social-justice warriors, and guilt-ridden elites.)

Government Spending and National Defense

The dire economic effects of the foregoing policies will be compounded by massive increases in government spending on domestic welfare programs, which reward the unproductive at the expense of the productive. All of this will suppress investment in business formation and expansion, and in professional education and training. As a result, the real rate of economic growth will approach zero, and probably become negative.

Because of the emphasis on domestic welfare programs, the United States will maintain token armed forces (mainly for the purpose of suppressing domestic uprisings). The U.S. will pose no threat to the new superpowers — Russia and China. They won’t threaten the U.S. militarily as long as the U.S. government acquiesces in their increasing dominance.

Immigration

Illegal immigration will become legal, and all illegal immigrants now in the country – and the resulting flood of new immigrants — will be granted citizenship and all associated rights. The right to vote, of course, is the right that Democrats most dearly want to bestow because most of the newly-minted citizens can be counted on to vote for Democrats. The permanent Democrat majority will ensure permanent Democrat control of the White House and both houses of Congress.

Future Elections and the Death of Democracy

Despite the prospect of a permanent Democrat majority, Democrats won’t stop there. In addition to the restrictions on freedom of speech discussed above, there will be election laws requiring candidates to pass ideological purity tests by swearing fealty to the “law of the land” (i.e., unfettered immigration, same-sex marriage, freedom of gender choice for children, etc., etc., etc.). Those who fail such a test will be barred from holding any kind of public office, no matter how insignificant.

Election 2020: Installment 2

It will be a while before there is some reliable polling about the presidential race. In the meantime, I’ll post about relevant issues, such as Trump’s popularity, the state of the economy, and the status of the COVID-19 outbreak.

POLLING

At this stage, it’s best to compare Trump’s standing against Obama’s when Obama was seeking reelection eight years ago. Trump’s relative standing has declined sharply in the past year, though it may (or may not) be on the rebound:


Derived from Rasmussen Reports Daily Presidential Tracking polls for Obama and Trump.

Voters’ perceptions of the state of the union is important, too. That perception has gone south with the rise of COVID-19 and domestic unrest. It may be irrational to blame an incumbent for matters beyond his control, but that’s what a lot of voters do. And Obama, by contrast, went into the election of 2012 with a rising tide to good feeling to buoy him.


Derived from Rasmussen Reports Right Direction/Wrong Track poll.

Trump’s numbers, by election day, will depend in large part on the perceived state of the economy. A robust turnaround will help him. A weak turnaround or new dip will hurt him.

STATE OF THE ECONOMY

The employment numbers are still bad, despite a sharp turnaround. The following graph shows the real vs. nominal unemployment rate (method explained here):

Uncertainty about COVID-19 and the state of the union has put a damper on investor’s resurgent optimism about the future of the economy:

COVID-19

Much attention is being give to the resurgence of confirmed COVID-19 cases; less is being given to the continued decline in the rate at which COVID-19 is producing deaths nationwide. Inasmuch as the response to COVID-19 has become politicized, the effect of the contagion on the outcome of election 2020 will depend, in part, on which piece of news takes center stage. Generally overlooked factors are the relative rarity of COVID-19 and the greater rarity of deaths caused by it. The following graphs sum it up:



Based on statistics recorded here. The projection of deaths is based on the rate at which deaths have declined since the peak rate on April 21, 2020.

Election 2020: Installment 1

I was right about Election 2016. Now I’ll start posting regularly about Election 2020. It will be a while before there is some reliable polling about the presidential race. In the meantime, I’ll post about relevant issues, such as Trump’s popularity, the state of the economy, and the retreat of the COVID-19 outbreak.

There’s good news and bad news in this post. Whether the good news is good and the bad news is bad depends on whether you prefer Trump to Biden (or his replacement).

One piece of good news for Trump is the decided drop in the rate at which COVID-19 cases and deaths are occurring (if you believe the official numbers). Here are my tallies, averaged over 7 days to smooth over delays in reporting:

It’s too soon to know whether the curves will ascend again (or ascend significantly, if they do) as a result of “reopening”, which began in earnest over the Memorial Day weekend. Stay tuned.

Two pieces of very bad news for Trump are the sharp declines in (a) his popularity (as measured by an unbiased pollster, Rasmussen Reports) and (b) Americans’ view of the state of the nation (also as measured by Rasmussen).

This is worrying (or not) because it reflects sharply declining poll numbers for Trump, as against rising poll numbers for Obama at this stage 8 years ago:

And this is worrying (or not) because voters’ assessment of the state of the nation is well below where it was when Obama was reelected:

A piece of provisional good news is the possibility (to which I subscribe) of a quick turnaround in the economy. But don’t take my word for it. Consider this:

In early April, Jason Furman, a top economist in the Obama administration and now a professor at Harvard, was speaking via Zoom to a large bipartisan group of top officials from both parties. The economy had just been shut down, unemployment was spiking and some policymakers were predicting an era worse than the Great Depression. The economic carnage seemed likely to doom President Donald Trump’s chances at reelection.

Furman, tapped to give the opening presentation, looked into his screen of poorly lit boxes of frightened wonks and made a startling claim.

“We are about to see the best economic data we’ve seen in the history of this country,” he said….

“Everyone looked puzzled and thought I had misspoken,” Furman said in an interview. Instead of forecasting a prolonged Depression-level economic catastrophe, Furman laid out a detailed case for why the months preceding the November election could offer Trump the chance to brag — truthfully — about the most explosive monthly employment numbers and gross domestic product growth ever.

Since the Zoom call, Furman has been making the same case to anyone who will listen, especially the close-knit network of Democratic wonks who have traversed the Clinton and Obama administrations together, including top members of the Biden campaign.

Furman’s counterintuitive pitch has caused some Democrats, especially Obama alumni, around Washington to panic. “This is my big worry,” said a former Obama White House official who is still close to the former president. Asked about the level of concern among top party officials, he said, “It’s high — high, high, high, high.”…

Furman’s case begins with the premise that the 2020 pandemic-triggered economic collapse is categorically different than the Great Depression or the Great Recession, which both had slow, grinding recoveries.

Instead, he believes, the way to think about the current economic drop-off, at least in the first two phases, is more like what happens to a thriving economy during and after a natural disaster: a quick and steep decline in economic activity followed by a quick and steep rebound….

Furman’s argument is not that different from the one made by White House economic advisers and Trump, who have predicted an explosive third quarter, and senior adviser Jared Kushner, who said in late April that “the hope is that by July the country’s really rocking again.” White House officials were thrilled to hear that some of their views have been endorsed by prominent Democrats.

“I totally agree,” Larry Kudlow, head of the White House National Economic Council, replied in a text message when asked about Furman’s analysis. “Q3 may be the single best GDP quarter since regular data. 2nd half super big growth, transitioning to 4% or more in 2021.” He called Furman, whom he said he knows well, “usually a straight shooter. Hats off to him.”

“I have been saying that on TV as well,” said Kevin Hassett, a top Trump economic adviser, who pointed to a Congressional Budget Office analysis predicting a 21.5 percent annualized growth rate in the third quarter. “If CBO is correct we will see the strongest quarter in history after the weakest in Q2.”

Peter Navarro, a Trump trade and manufacturing adviser who’s a Harvard-educated economist, called the high unemployment America is currently facing “manufactured unemployment, which is to say that Americans are out of work not because of any underlying economic weaknesses but to save American lives. It is this observation that gives us the best chance and hope for a relatively rapid recovery as the economy reopens.”…

[A] former Obama White House official said, “Even today when we are at over 20 million unemployed Trump gets high marks on the economy, so I can’t imagine what it looks like when things go in the other direction. I don’t think this is a challenge for the Biden campaign. This is the challenge for the Biden campaign. If they can’t figure this out they should all just go home.”…

Between now and Election Day, there will be five monthly jobs reports, which are released on the first Friday of every month. The June report, covering May, is likely to show another increase in unemployment. But after that, Furman predicts, if reopening continues apace, the next four reports could be blockbusters. “You could easily have 1 to 2 million jobs created a month in those four reports before November,” he said.

He added, “And then toward the end of October, we will get GDP growth for the third quarter, at an annualized rate, and it could be double-digit positive economic growth. So these will be the best jobs and growth numbers ever.”…

Furman is an economist, but he had some strategic advice for the Biden campaign. “Don’t make predictions that could be falsified. There are enough terrible things to say you don’t need to make exaggerated predictions,” he said. “The argument that we are in another Great Depression will look like it was overstated. Trump can say, ‘Two million deaths didn’t happen, Great Depression didn’t happen, we are making a lot of progress.’”

The stock market reflects Furman’s (and my) assessment:

Give them jobs and their hearts, minds, and votes will follow.


Related posts:

Is a Perfect Electoral Storm Brewing?
“Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death”

Is a Perfect Electoral Storm Brewing?

The storm that I have in mind is one that sweeps the board for the GOP in November. What might its ingredients be? Here’s my non-exhaustive list:

THE ECONOMY

An economic recovery that is largely limited to States governed by Republicans, while States controlled by Democrats continue to flounder.

OR

A quick, nationwide economic recovery, including a stock-market rally and the rehiring of millions of workers.

DEMOCRAT POLITICS

Solid evidence supporting Tara Reade’s claims about Joe Biden.

AND/OR

A rancorous Democrat convention which, at least, leaves Biden badly damaged and results in the abstention of Bernie supporters in November, and which saddles Biden with a VP candidate who will drive away independent voters (e.g., Stacey Abrams).

OR

A pre-convention deal that allows Biden to withdraw gracefully (though not without shame) and substitutes a more dynamic and less tainted candidate who has his own baggage (e.g., Cuomo and his failure to protect nursing homes from COVID-19).

SPYGATE (A.K.A. RUSSIAGATE)

The indictment of senior officials (e.g., John Brennan, Susan Rice, James Comey) of the Obama administration on charges related to Spygate (e.g., obstruction of justice, conspiracy to obstruct justice, filing false claims with the FISA court, perjury).

AND A CLINCHER

The inclusion of a thinly disguised Barack Obama as an “unnamed” conspirator in the indictment.

INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS

The collapse of Iran’s regime.

AND/OR

An attempt by Iran’s regime to disrupt the flow of oil from the Middle East that is met with prompt, devastating, and decisive action by the U.S.

AND/OR

The death or overthrow of Kim.

AND/OR

Conclusive evidence of China’s malfeasance in the COVID-19 pandemic.

There must be a lot more, but that will do for a start.

 

Trump’s Polling and Re-election Watch

The bottom line of this post is an an assessment of the prospects for Trump’s re-election, which have declined markedly since coronavirus began to do real damage to the economy.

To reach that assessment, I review Trump’s poll numbers and the economic outlook as reflected in the stock market. I derive the poll numbers from a reliable source: Rasmussen Reports:

Polling

Trump’s approval ratings have dropped steadily in the past 8 weeks:

FIGURE 1

Derived from Rasmussen Reports approval ratings for Trump.

Trump’s standing, relative to Obama’s, has slipped considerably:

FIGURE 2

Derived from Rasmussen Reports approval ratings for Obama and Trump.

Trump’s slippage is also obvious in a straightforward comparison of strong-approval ratings, averaged over 7 days. It is now almost as low as Obama’s was at this stage 8 years ago, when Obama’s was holding steady before a sharp pre-election rise:

FIGURE 3

Source: Same as figure 2.

I also compute an enthusiasm ratio, which is the 7-day average of the following ratio: the fraction of likely voters expressing strong approval divided by the fraction of likely voters responding. The same pattern is evident in that ratio:

FIGURE 4

Source: Same as figure 2.

Every week since the first inauguration of Obama, Rasmussen Reports has asked 2,500 likely voters whether they see the country as going in the right direction or being on the wrong track. Figure 5 shows the ratios of right direction/wrong track for Trump and Obama. Here, again, the mood of the voters has turned starkly gloomy, a bad sign for Trump:

FIGURE 5

Source: Rasmussen Reports, “Right Direction or Wrong Track“.

Economic Outlook

Meanwhile, despite the largest quarter-to-quarter decline in real GDP (-4.8 percent) since the crash of 2008, the stock market has begun a tentative recovery from a steep decline:

FIGURE 6

Re-election Watch

Minuses:

Trump’s popularity, relative to Obama’s 8 years ago, is in decline. (See figure 2.)

Trump’s hard-core support is also declining. (See figures 3 and 4.)

Voters currently have a much gloomier view of the state of the nation than they did when Obama was re-elected. (See figure 5.)

Potential pluses:

The tentative stock-market recovery (Figure 6) may signal an economic recovery, which could lead to a recovery in Trump’s popularity.

The possibility that U.S. Attorney John Durham’s criminal investigation of the origins of Spygate will yield revelations damaging to Democrats.

Stay tuned.