US Election: Mallard Forecast 10.10.2020

The President`s visit to the hospital after he was diagnosed with Covid-19 was a transient one. In the end, it was just a precaution. Sources close to the White House said the germaphobe President ‘freaked out’ when he found out he had the virus. With the President now in good health, this drastically reduces the ‘Other’ option in our forecast. Other being – tie, postponement, or any other unforeseeable. Other is down to 2% from 13%. Joe Biden, who`s poll lead is growing, has increased to 54% and is now considered the favourite.  Whilst the incumbent President has lost ground, however, is still firmly in the race at 44%.

Trump Biden Other
Current Outcome Forecast

If the polls are correct the race is over.

Two weeks of solid polling for Joe Biden has seen him extend his average poll lead to over 10%. That is unpreceded this close to an Election. Polls this week had Biden up by as much as 16 points. Rasmussen, the Presidents favourite pollster, this week returned a poll showing Biden 8 points ahead. The state polls are showing a similar trend, with polls this week consistently returning a Joe Biden lead in six swing states. If the polls are correct, not only will Joe Biden win the US Election, he will win by a landslide.

So why does Trump still have a chance?

The polling data keeps stacking up on the side of Joe Biden, as it has done since the Democrat nominee effectively won the Democrat Leadership following the surprise Super Tuesday result. However, the anecdotal Election non-polling research stacks up for the President.

The Trafalgar Group, a Pollster in the US, released a surprising poll this week that contradicts the National Polls. The question was: Who do you think your neighbours are supporting for President? A) Biden – 38%; Trump – 49%; Unsure – 8%.

Throughout the entire leadership race Trump has held position on key policy indicators. The economy and law & order.

Although I will be accused of punditry for mentioning this, what do our eyes tell us? When the incumbent President holds a rally, he fills out stadiums! When the Democrats hold a rally there is a handful of people. Let`s not pretend that Biden`s supporters are Covid conscious. Given that they have taken to the streets of Portland for 100 days.

I was discussing the election with a Superforecaster recently when they concluded: Biden has the polls and nothing else. Everything else points towards Trump. A very good summary.

The polls could be wrong?

This is hardly shocking. Whilst the 2016 Election polls were within margin error (+-4), most were at the extreme of the margin error against Trump. Us Brits will remember the 2016 Brexit Referendum, which left the pollsters red-faced.

Liman et al,  published a paper this week for Cloud Research that found 11.7% of Republicans said they would not report their true opinions if polled. This is compared with 5.4% Democrats. 10.5% of Independent fell into the ‘Shy Voter’ category, meaning they are reticent about declaring their support for Donald Trump.

The poll went further and examined the reasons why voters would not be truthful, of which there was 6 reasons:

1: A lack of trust in phone polls being truly anonymous

2: An apprehension to associate their phone numbers with recorded responses

3: Fear that their responses will become public

4: Fear of reprisal and related detrimental impact to their financial, social and family lives should their political opinion be known

5: A general dislike of polls

6: Malicious intent to mislead polls due to general distrust of media

The Shy Voter phenomenon is something that Conservatives claim as gospel. Whilst the Democrats dismiss as nonsense. I`d say it lies somewhere in-between.

What about the experts?

The data forecasters give Trump around 1 in 10 chance of winning.  Which is hardly surprising given the polls. The Superforecaster consensus is: Joe Biden – 87%; Donald Trump 13%. Though I know some Supers who lean towards Trump by margins of up to 55%. It is worth remembering, that the Five-Thirty-Eight had Trump at 30% on the day of the US Election four years ago. This following Nate Silver saying, ‘Trump isn’t a real candidate’. A more recent example of when the Forecasters can be wrong is the Democrat Leadership Election. Everything pointed towards a Bernie Sanders win. The consensus on the Good Judgement Project, the home of the SuperForecasters, prior to Super Tuesday was: Bernie Sanders – 95%; Joe Biden 1%, (a few other candidates with 1%). In one day that forecast was reversed. The day after Super Tuesday Joe Biden had a 99% chance of winning the Democrat Election and the new question was, when will Bernie Sanders concede?

Just like in the Democrat Leadership race I was an outlier in giving Joe Biden a chance. I am again an outlier in giving Trump a chance.

With the Election now just days away, Biden is certainly the favourite. However, it is foolish rule Trump out.

Photo Credit.

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