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vcczar

2020 Bitecofer Model Electoral College Predictions

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This forecaster predicted the Blue Wave accurately by predicting a 42 seat pickup for Democrats, including accurately predicting which Lean R seats would flip to Democrat. 

If this model is as accurate as it was in 2018, then Democrats would win today with a guaranteed 278 EV. Here's the page: https://cnu.edu/wasoncenter/2019/07/01-2020-election-forecast/

I'll quote the part regarding Trump's loss of Midwest states:

"Why is Trump in so much trouble in the Midwest? First, and probably most important, is the profound misunderstanding by, well, almost everyone, as to how he won Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania in the first place. Ask anyone, and they will describe Trump’s 2016 Midwestern triumph as a product of white, working class voters swinging away from the Democrats based on the appeal of Trump’s economic populist messaging. Some will point to survey data of disaffected Obama-to-Trump voters and even Sanders-to-Trump voters as evidence that this populist appeal was the decisive factor. And this is sort of true. In Ohio, Trump managed the rare feat of cracking 50%. Elsewhere, that explanation runs into empirical problems when one digs into the data. Start with the numerical fact that Trump “won” Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Michigan with 47.22%, 48.18%, and 47.5% of the vote, respectively, after five times the normal number in those states cast their ballots for an option other than Trump or Clinton. This, combined with the depressed turnout of African Americans (targeted with suppression materials by the Russians) and left-leaning Independents turned off by Clinton (targeted with defection materials by the Russians) allowed Trump to pull off an improbable victory, one that will be hard to replicate in today’s less nitpicky atmosphere. Yet, the media (and the voting public) has turned Trump’s 2016 win into a mythic legend of invincibility. The complacent electorate of 2016, who were convinced Trump would never be president, has been replaced with the terrified electorate of 2020, who are convinced he’s the Terminator and can’t be stopped. Under my model, that distinction is not only important, it is everything."

Lastly, I'll also post the image of the models map for 2020 for anyone not wanting to read the whole article:

 

BitecoferMap.jpg

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3 minutes ago, vcczar said:

This forecaster predicted the Blue Wave accurately by predicting a 42 seat pickup for Democrats

Do you know how far out from Nov. 2018 he made that forecast?

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5 minutes ago, admin_270 said:

Do you know how far out from Nov. 2018 he made that forecast?

July, according to this interview: https://www.themidpod.com/podcasts/2018/11/5/ep-74-rachel-bitecofer-election-night-preview

The forecaster is female which is unusual for the field that she's in. Her model doesn't use polls. It focuses on something called "negative partisanship."

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Thanks - yes, clicking through to the original article she says it was 4 months before.

I admit reading stuff like this

"A note on Florida: As it was in 2018, my model is convinced that Florida is going to break in favor of the Democrats. After 2018, I am less convinced, but that is because I know something about Florida that my model does not know[.]"

doesn't instill confidence in me.

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3 minutes ago, admin_270 said:

Thanks - yes, clicking through to the original article she says it was 4 months before.

I admit reading stuff like this

"A note on Florida: As it was in 2018, my model is convinced that Florida is going to break in favor of the Democrats. After 2018, I am less convinced, but that is because I know something about Florida that my model does not know[.]"

doesn't instill confidence in me.

Yeah, she should explain what that is. Without elaborating, it makes it seem like a gut instinct or a faith based rationale, which is the opposite of what a model should use. 

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11 minutes ago, vcczar said:

she should explain what that is

She says it has to do with the age of the Florida electorate. Sounds like age should be added to the model then.

Can't find out if she predicted the 2018 Senate elections with her model - anyone have anything on that?

Her basic point seems to have to do with turnout and polarization - basically, who's motivated to vote? Almost certainly that's an important piece of the puzzle when you have <55% of eligible voters voting. Wondering if these sorts of predictions and various polls showing Biden has a 15 point lead or whatever are doing exactly what she claims led to Trump's win in 2016 - Democrat-leaning voters being complacent about the Dem candidate winning. 🤔

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In the video I posted she states that the states of WI, PA, MI are Blue-leaning states (they are if you look at the last several presidential elections, but not so much at the state level), and what happened in 2016 were "freak incidents" in these states that she doesn't think can be "replicated" especially considering that Dems in these states that wouldn't vote for Clinton are going to be more alarmed on the chance of the freak incident replicating again.

I'd add that Dems are also likely to campaign heavily in these places, unlike the Clinton campaign. The candidate is also going to be much more popular than Clinton was, regardless of who the candidate might be. 

One thing she says seems counter-intuitive: Progressives turn out is the most important for success for Democrats. We always assume a moderate like Biden would do better, possibly because he's polling better. This isn't unique. I was reading a book called the Realignment (I think that's the name) that came out about 6 months ago. The author of this book is another forecaster and data analyst. He suggests that aiming at the Progressive Base is better than mollifying the moderates with a Clinton or Biden. 

I'm not a forecaster so I can't agree or disagree with what she says; however, her model was highly accurate in the 2018 Midterms and for the VA Governor's election. She shouldn't be ignored. 

My personal assumptions are that MI, PA, and WI all go Blue if the following are true:

  • The Democratic candidate is more popular/favorable than Hillary Clinton. This is virtually guaranteed. 
  • The Democrats campaign much more heavily in MI, PA, and WI than Clinton did. Considering she basically didn't campaign in WI, mostly ignored PA outside of Philadelphia, and didn't put much of a focus on MI, opting for IA, NC, FL, OH---all states she lost, I think Democrats are certain to focus on the three states they have to win back. 
  • The economy doesn't noticeably improve from today until election day. This one is the hardest to predict, but I'm going to assume it stays about the same which, according to polls, isn't helping Trump. 

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2 minutes ago, admin_270 said:

Wondering if these sorts of predictions and various polls showing Biden has a 15 point lead or whatever are doing exactly what she claims led to Trump's win in 2016 - Democrat-leaning voters being complacent about the Dem candidate winning. 🤔

I'd like to see what she says about that. I'm going to see if I can ask the question on Twitter. 

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Ok, I sent a question to her. I'll find her email if she doesn't respond on there. 

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6 minutes ago, admin_270 said:

She says it has to do with the age of the Florida electorate. Sounds like age should be added to the model then.

Can't find out if she predicted the 2018 Senate elections with her model - anyone have anything on that?

Her basic point seems to have to do with turnout and polarization - basically, who's motivated to vote? Almost certainly that's an important piece of the puzzle when you have <55% of eligible voters voting. Wondering if these sorts of predictions and various polls showing Biden has a 15 point lead or whatever are doing exactly what she claims led to Trump's win in 2016 - Democrat-leaning voters being complacent about the Dem candidate winning. 🤔

Yeah, she says she uses demographics. Age would count as a demographic. 

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12 minutes ago, Patine said:

All U.S. partisanship is negative.

I think her term might not be that literal. 

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5 hours ago, vcczar said:

I'm not a forecaster so I can't agree or disagree with what she says

Of course you can! Almost all the forecasters got 2016 wrong!

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She has Nebraska going blue?

For the first time since 1964?

An election where the Democrats (LBJ) won with 486 electoral votes, to the Republicans 52 electoral votes?

And before that, they hadn't voted Democrat since FDR's third term in 1936.  FDR won that election with  523 electoral votes to the Republican 8 electoral votes.

EIGHT.

I mean...don't get me wrong:  I hope she's correct!

But it's hard to believe a model that predicts Nebraska going blue without predicting that the Republican party just completely evaporates like it did the only other two times that Nebraska went blue in the past 84 years.

 

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It looks more like she has Nebraska and Maine purple, probably because they split their electoral votes by congressional district. IIRC, Obama won NE-02 (and 1 of the electoral vote) in 2008, and Trump won ME-02 (and 1 electoral vote) in 2016, even as the respective states were going the other way overall.

All that aside, playing a few rounds of P4E recently has helped me realize what a big disadvantage the Dems are facing due to the electoral college. It's not beyond the realm of possibility that they could win the popular vote and lose the EC again - all that needs to happen is for Trump to hold one of the trio of MI, WI, and PA, plus all the other states he carried in 2016. And with FL, IA, and OH seeming to stay stubbornly light-red, the Dems' best chances to expand the EC map are probably Arizona, Georgia, North Carolina, and maybe Texas, all of which would require recent trends catching up to the GOP in a hurry.

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13 hours ago, vcczar said:

I'm not a forecaster so I can't agree or disagree with what she says

Sure you can.  It's not like there are any qualifications required to forecast elections.  At best it's educated guesswork.  Guess right often enough and people will take you seriously.

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8 hours ago, admin_270 said:

Of course you can! Almost all the forecasters got 2016 wrong!

Maybe I stayed this too absolutely. I can’t support my agreements or disagreements with equivalent data as she can. I have some data, history, and gut instinct, but I haven’t the tools that a data crunching forecaster has. 

She makes good arguments but I’m also slightly skeptical of some things she says. However, her 2020 map is almost identical to what I would have projected with far less data for WI, MI, PA  

the only changes I’d have are Ohio from Lean Right to Likely Right. Nebraska district from toss up to Lean Right. Florida from toss up to Lean Right. North Carolina and Iowa from toss up to Lean Right. Arizona tossup to Lean Right. So I’m both skeptical, but happy to say Dems still win even with my forecast giving 5 outcomes back to the Republicans. 

I think her strongest argument is for WI, MI, PA flipping back after a freak year that’s unlikely to be replicated. 

She mentions that she’s going to post a realignment map that will project how the parties are changing. She stated that Trump is accelerating realignment that was already occurring but that the parties haven’t caught up. 

I think she’s more interesting of a forecaster to read than Nate Silver. I found out about her because I was looking for any 2020 prediction to read while I was at the gym. I had never heard of her. I’d like to see her and Nate Silver, Larry Sabato, Cook, and maybe one other at the same table debating 2020. 

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1 hour ago, RI Democrat said:

It looks more like she has Nebraska and Maine purple, probably because they split their electoral votes by congressional district.

Ah, fair enough.  I'm color blind and can't see the difference between blue and purple (amongst others) so that makes a little more sense.

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1 hour ago, vcczar said:

I think she’s more interesting of a forecaster to read than Nate Silver.

Sure, it's interesting. I take any forecasts like this with a huge grain of salt. Basically, if a forecaster takes their own model as a definitive projection, alarm bells start going off for me.

'Hey, I made a neat prediction here using this model. Maybe that means it gets certain important things right about these sorts of elections. Maybe I might even be able to do it again in 2 years. Let's see. Here are my thoughts and why I think it might be highly predictive this time around.' is to me a fine attitude, but when forecasters start claiming their model is right and this is what will happen in 1.5 years I start to tune them out, even if they have a large number of cycles that work with the model.

Developing a data-centric model isn't hard. Take your top 10 variables, then find proxies for these that are available (for example, something that's a proxy for economic strength, something that's a proxy for polarization, and so on). It is fairly straightforward to then develop a model (these are really just functions) that will accurately retrodict, say, all Presidential elections to 1952. This makes it sound powerful, and because bullshit-baffles-brains, you too can then be invited onto talk shows where you pontificate about how this or that will happen because your model says so.

Polling projections are a bit different. Basically, they are relying on surveys to accurately reflect the intentions of the people who will vote. If they get this, and not much changes, they can accurately predict. But ... who cares? The only insight here is the polling methodology, so it's not really a predictive model.

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13 hours ago, vcczar said:

She mentions that she’s going to post a realignment map that will project how the parties are changing. She stated that Trump is accelerating realignment that was already occurring but that the parties haven’t caught up. 

I completely disagree, Trump de-railed a realignment that was happening but was halted at the end of Bush's 08 term.

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