Tuesday, October 20, 2020

HOW Justice Barrett can give the election to Trump

SUMMARY:   The debate about the Supreme Court and the Presidential Election just became real.  Judge Barrett will be the deciding vote on Pennsylvania's Electoral College, and Pennsylvania may very well be the final swing state to report results of the election.  That means that Judge Barrett will cast the deciding vote that may determine the next president.  In that case, should 5% of the mail in ballot be disqualified, Biden could lose PA and the election.

HERE'S HOW AND WHY:

I don't like these kinds of super-hypothetical conversations normally, but we need to look at the following.

1)    As my previous post showed, we will know the results on Nov 4., unless AZ, GA, FL and NC all swing to Trump.  Since he won them in the past election and they are traditionally Republican, this is a very possible scenario.  According to that earlier post, PA becomes the last relevant reporting state in that case, because their law requires late counting of mail in ballots and the state has only limited experience with mail in voting in the past.  Well, things just got worse.  A federal court ruled recently that the PA elections commission may, in the interest of maximizing fairness and avoiding postal problems, accept all ballots postmarked by Nov. 3 rather than following the PA statute of ballots being received by Nov. 3.  The lawsuit quite legitimately challenges that ruling in favor of the statue.

2)   Yesterday the US Supreme Court ruled 4-4 NOT to take up the case, thereby leaving the lower ruling in place as a result of the tie caused by Justice's Ginsberg's empty seat. Voting to leave the lower ruling in place, and thereby expand the number of mail in ballots that will count, were the 3 liberals and Chief Justice John Roberts.  The four Conservatives on the bench all wished to receive the case with the understanding that they would enforce the PA statute and forbid the counting of ballots received after Nov. 3.

3)    As my last post showed, mail in ballots are strongly in favor of Biden nationwide, and it is no different in PA.  Increasing or decreasing the number of mail in ballots counted will increase or decrease the vote for Biden.  If the Conservatives were to enforce the statute, the Democrats will lose ground in PA for sure.

4)    Justice Barrett will be sworn in before Election Day.  

5)    So, when, not if, Justice Barrett joins the court and the lawsuit arrives, she will certainly vote to overturn the lower court.  All mail in ballots received after Nov 3 will be disallowed, and Biden's numbers will go down.

6)   Will it matter?  Absolutely yes. In 2016, Trump received 2,970,733 votes in PA and Clinton had 2,926,441, or a difference of 44,292.  5% of the mail in ballots breaks down to 87,797 Democrats versus 33,619 Republicans, or an advantage of +54,178 for Biden. If the Barrett breaks the tie, and 5% of the mail in ballots are disqualified, Biden could lose over 50,000 votes in PA, which is more than the margin of victory for Trump in 2016.

Here's the breakdown:

 Democrats hold an overall lead in registered voters and nearly a 3:1 lead in mail in ballots requested.   Of the 2,7 million mail in ballots requested, nearly a quarter had been received by Oct 16.  Will people wait until the last minute?

Total voter registration per PA Dept. of State on Oct.16

  • Dem = 4,199,412
  • Rep = 3,494,255
  • No Aff = 890,756
  • Other = 398,765
  • Total = 8,983,188

Total approved mail-in and absentee applications statewide

  • Dem = 1,755,940
  • Rep = 672,381
  • Other = 299,946
  • Total = 2,728,267





Monday, October 19, 2020

How The Polls Miss Trump Voters: Is this 2016 all over again?

 How The Polls Miss Trump Voters

The mainstream news headlines, national and state polls this week look nearly identical to the 2016 polls.  That should be encouraging for Republicans, and frightening for Democrats.  Can Trump run the table, win all the coin flips, and emerge victorious again in 2020?  It could happen.

First, look at the similarities: In the polls Democrats are leading by +12 points nationwide, are secure in their traditional states by several points in PA, MI, WI and MN.  In addition, they are ahead in purple and red states like CO, NM, AZ, FL, NC and they have put IA, GA and TX into play.

With 2 weeks to go in 2016, CNN was projecting 290 of the needed 270 electoral college votes for Hillary Clinton, and showing that Donald Trump would have to win back all the typical red states as well as a few blue states, and that it was hard to see any realistic scenario when that could happen in reality.  According to 270towin.com's "concensus map" of polling averages, they are projecting that Biden has that exact same 290 of the needed 270 to expect a victory.  Deja vu, all over again.

2020 = 2016 in most polling at the surface.  To argue against that, Larry Sabato and others have written extensively about (1) how they have fixed polling compared to 2016 and (2) how the persistent nature of the Biden lead is qualitatively different from the Clinton campaign in 2016.  In other words, "yes" we blew it last time, but honestly we really do know what we're talking about this time.

I believe that the essential issue is voter turnout.  In recent history, especially 2008 and 2012, the least likely demographic to turn out to vote was men with High School (or less) educations.


In addition, since 1980 there has been a steady and constant increase in the percentage of female voters overall, so that they are a majority of the active electorate.  This year's polls show Biden enjoying a larger lead with women than Hillary Clinton had in 2016.

Polls typically measure likely voters with questions like "did you vote in the last (last two) presidential elections, etc.  Accepting that past non-voters probably won't vote is statistically valid if the patterns remain constant.  With Donald Trump, this was not true.  Trump raised voter turnout among less educated white males tremendously, especially in Florida, PA, MI, and Wisconsin - all of which he won by narrow margins within the polling "margin of error."  By getting more than 50% of previous non-voters in his base to vote, he didn't need to take voters away from Hillary in order to win.  He could raise the total participation by previously ignored loyal Trump voters.  In those 4 states it was enough to squeek a victory.  The signs everyone missed were the enthusiasm ratings, and the packed throngs of followers are rallies throughout the midwest in the final weeks of the 2016 campaign.  This is exactly why he is trying to keep the rallies going - they are his best path to victory again.

As a result there are several questions, whose answers will only be proven on November 3:

1)    Are the polls catching those previous non-voting, less educated white males this time around as likely voters?  After all, now they would say "yes" to recent participation.  If so, then the polls are more reliable this time than last.

2)    Will the Biden coalition recreate the 2008 enthusiasm for the Obama/Biden ticket, when over 57% of eligible registered voters turned out, or will it look like 2016 when only 55.5% of the voters showed up?  Early voting seems to indicate tremendous enthusiasm for voting this year, with some predicting record turnout of over 60% of eligible registered voters participating.  That should help the Democrats.

3)    Will the missing 1.5% in 2016, as compared to 2008, show up this year?  If they do, will they counteract the Trump bump in white males enough to hold him back from the close wins he enjoyed in 2016?

The bottom line is this: voter turnout will drive the day.  Trump voters will repeat their numbers, but there is little or no indication that he has any "new" followers compared to last time.  For the Democrats 57% voter turnout has to be an absolute minimum goal.  It is logical to presume that the closer the country gets to 59% or 60%, the better it will be for Joe Biden.

15 days and counting.  Turn out the vote. 



Monday, October 12, 2020

Don't Panic! We will know on Nov. 4


Don't Panic!  

Two Good Reasons Why We May Know Right Away


1) In 2016, 16 states received over 50% of their votes by mail, early voting or absentee ballots. They are highlighted in green in this article. Every one of them had results available on election night in 2016 to call the election accurately for Trump - well before 11:00 p.m. EST, even though the election was close. This year should be no different.

2) 19 States have rules allowing for early processing of mail in ballots.  They should be in good position to report their results soon after the polls close. 4 crucial “toss-up” states are on that list: Arizona (11), Florida (29), North Carolina (16), and Ohio (18),

As a result, it is safe to say that 25 states have rules and/or experience to make early results a reasonable expectation. Of the other 25 states/D.C., 22 are not competitive and can be easily predicted. Only 3 states are both inexperienced at large scale mail in, and also have rules that delay their ability to count on election day: PA, WI, and IA.

Conclusion: DON'T PANIC! We should have results or excellent predictions from 47 states & Washington D.C. on Election Night. The process of counting will continue for a week, and state certifications will be delayed by lawsuits and recounts. But we WILL know who won the election by the morning of Wednesday, November 4, 2020, even if the courts, politicians and media drag out the story. Remember "Sore Loserman?" This will be no different... although... there is ONE election night scenario which will lead to a delay...

What Will We Know on Election Night?

Based on the chart, below...


A) Electoral Votes from Non Competitive Contests with Results Expected on Election Night:


Biden        129

Trump        117


B) Total of Electoral Votes "known" on Election Night, including Results from Non Competitive Contests that will come after Election Night:


Biden         249

Trump        164


THE POINT: We will "know" on Election Night that Biden needs 21 of the remaining 107 "toss-up" electors to win the election, otherwise it is Trump's victory. So let's look at that.


B) Of the 107 electors from "toss-up" states, 4 can process votes before election day: Arizona (11), Florida (29), Ohio (18) and North Carolina (16).  3 of those have extensive past experience with mail in voting. These states will be in position to deliver preliminary numbers pretty quickly, though the losing party will surely demand recounts and begin lawsuits.


THE POINT:  If Biden can win Florida OR any 2 of those 4 states, he will win the election. We will know if that is the case ON ELECTION NIGHT, NOVEMBER 3, 2020.  However, it is entirely possible that Biden fails to win AZ, FL, OH or NC.  That is the one case scenario....


C)  Should Trump win AZ, FL, OH and NC - all of which we should know on election night - then Georgia (16), Iowa (6), Pennsylvania (20) and Wisconsin (10) are the only "toss ups" left and 3 of them are among the likely last reporters of their results:


Biden     249        Needs 21 = Any 2 except WI+IA.

Trump    237        Needs 33 = Any 3, or PA + GA.


D)  Unfortunately, PA and WI are both "late night counters" for mail in ballots, and Iowa only needs a postmark of election day.  If Georgia comes in with a result for Trump (253), and Wisconsin for Biden (259), as are very possible, the fight will center on Pennsylvania (20), as Iowa (6) will be insufficient by itself for either candidate to reach the 270 needed to win. [10/20 see below* for update]


E) Final analysisWe will know on election night if Trump has won AZ, FL, OH, GA and NC, and therefore remained viable for the election.  If he does, then we will probably have to wait for PA's 20 electors to decided the contest.  If he loses any of those, it is Biden's victory.  


And regarding Pennsylvania: of the 74 polls listed on 270towin.com since January 1, only 3 have gone for Trump and none since July 22.  While this may be enough to blow a gasket, and sounds hauntingly familiar to 2016, it would seem that Joe Biden will come through eventually in this worst case scenario.


Mail in Voting Time Line by State

Green = more than 50% mail in/early voting in 2016.

State

Rec’d By

Begin Counting

# days to count

Finish Date

# Electors

likely winner

Arizona, Florida

Nov 3

14+ Prior


Election Night

11, 29

?

Colorado, Conn., Hawaii, Mass., Minnesota, New Mexico

Nov 3

14+ Prior


Election Night

9, 7, 4, 11, 10, 5

Biden

Kansas, Utah

postmark

14+ Prior


Nov 6

6, 6

Trump

N. Carolina, Ohio

postmark

14+ Prior


Nov 6

15, 18

?

Delaware, Oregon

Nov 3

1-7 Prior


Election Night

3, 7

Biden

Louisiana, Nebraska, Oklahoma, South Carolina

Nov 3

1-7 Prior


Election Night

8, 5, 7, 9

Trump

California

postmark

1-7 Prior


Nov 6

55

Biden

Arkansas, Indiana, Kentucky, Missouri, Montana, Tennessee, Wyoming

Nov 3

Nov 3 a.m.


Election Night

6, 11, 8, 10, 3, 11, 3

Trump

Michigan, Vermont

Nov 3

Nov 3 a.m.


Election Night

16, 3

Biden

Georgia, Pennsylvania,* Wisconsin

Nov 3

Nov 3 a.m.


 Election Night

16, 20, 10

?

Texas, West Virginia,

Postmark

Nov 3 a.m.


Nov 6

38, 5

Trump

D.C., New Jersey, Virginia

Postmark

Nov 3 a.m.


Nov 6

3, 14, 13

Biden

Iowa,

Postmark

Nov 3 a.m.


Nov 6

6,

?

Alabama, Idaho, North Dakota, South Dakota

Nov 3

Nov 3 p.m.


Nov 6

9, 4, 3, 3

Trump

Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Nevada

Nov 3

Nov 3 p.m.


Nov 6

4, 4, 4, 6

Biden

Alaska, Mississippi

postmark

Nov 3 p.m.


Nov 6

3, 6

Trump

Illinois, New York, Washington

postmark

Nov 3 p.m.


Nov 6

20, 29, 12

Biden

Maryland

Nov 3

Nov 4 a.m.


Nov 8

10

Biden


[*UPDATE 10/20/2020: US Supreme Court, by a 4-4 tie, leaves a lower court ruling in place allowing PA to follow "postmarks" rather than the "received by" date of Nov. 3.  With a new Justice joining the court, this will absolutely be a subject of review after the election, seriously slowing down a PA result].

-----------------------------


Postscripts and Questions.


Q: How Does Mail In Voting Swing the Vote?


Joe Biden holds a 44 point advantage among those planing of voting by mail, and Donald Trump holds a 32 point advantage on those planing to vote in person.  In part this is due to the fact that some major Democratic strongholds, such as California and New Jersey (along with Vermont, Nevada, Washington D.C., Hawaii, Colorado, Utah, Washington and Oregon) are holding 100% mail in elections this year.  Nevertheless, the campaigns have been pushing their respective voters differently on this topic, so in the swing states it may be voter “turnout” (Mail/In Person) that will determine the winner.


Q: Is Mail in Voting New?


Contrary to popular belief, every state has mail in and in person voting this year. According to the NY Times, 75% of registered voters are eligible for mail in ballots, upon request, nationwide. Roughly, 50

+ million people are expected to vote early or by mail, or 40+ % of all ballots this year.


Q: “When will we absolutely positively know for sure?” 


The short answer is Tuesday, December 8. After Bush/Gore in 2000, the election was contested into December because Florida’s results were in the courts.  Due to Constitutional restraints, all states must report their electors in time for them to meet on the second Wednesday in December (December 9, 2020).  All court cases will have to be resolved by that constitutional deadline. The Supreme Court's ruling in Bush v. Gore was in part forced upon them due to that time constraint, leaving the state-certified result as final regardless of any underlying irregularities or unresolved legal issues. There is NO redress possible beyond that date.