Thursday, December 12, 2019

Trump Can Win. Presidential Race Focused on Handful of States, Few Thousand Votes.

Democrats should forget the national polls showing 8-, 9- or 10-point wins for leading candidates against President Trump.

Remembering Trump’s win in 2016 and examining the available polls in likely battleground states, what’s clear is that Trump could win again, even losing Pennsylvania this time, if he holds his other 2016 states.
  • Recall that he lost the popular vote by nearly 3 million votes (2,869,000).
  • On Election Day, he had 61 percent disapproval. Hillary Clinton had 52 percent disapproval. She was 9 points better, but still the two worst in presidential polling history (Gallup, March 2016).
  • Also, two of the most dependable variables associated with a successful presidential election are incumbency and a positive economy – Trump has both.
A comparison of two leading prognosticators assessing the race based on assessment from polls, historical performance and political conversations with local experts shows the limited number of states likely to be contested.

Larry Sabato published the map below on November 7, 2019. He has Republicans and Democrats even in electoral votes with 248 each and three toss-up states with 42 electoral votes – Arizona (11), Wisconsin (10) and Pennsylvania (20).

2020 Electoral College Ratings
Nov. 7, 2019

While Sabato has three states with 42 electoral votes in play as of November, Louis Jacobson identifies six toss-up states and 101 electoral votes. He adds demographics to his analyses (% rural, % college education, % White). He places 205 electoral votes in the Republican column and 232 on the Democratic side of the ledger. The following is a list of his toss-up states and his lean Democrat and lean Republican states that will be highly targeted by the respective parties.

Jacobson also offers an assessment if the Democrats nominate a “poorly positioned nominee.” Then, Republicans would have 231 safe likely or leaning electoral votes and Democrats 218 with 89 toss-up states: Florida (20), Michigan (16), New Hampshire (4), Pennsylvania (10) and Wisconsin (10). Democrats would then need to win 5 of the 6 states if they don’t carry Florida.

If there is a message for Democrats from both assessments, it is that their nominee and their campaign strategy will be critical to win the very focused race.

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