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Admin's election prediction update


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With 2 months to go, it's time to update my election prediction.

As some of you know, I have said for the last while I think it's 80% Trump (my evaluation is Trump is 80% likely to win the election given the information available at this time), and that I expect this number to go to 0 or 100 as we get closer to the election. I do not intend to predict 50-50, for that isn't a prediction at all - it's a non-prediction.

My new prediction is 80% -> 85% Trump.

This is based on many criteria. Most basically, it's based on my evaluation of the personalities and abilities of the two candidates, and then other basic trends in the country. It is not based on a computer model (thank goodness). It is not a 'Marxist' prediction, in that I believe individuals can and do make a difference, and that history doesn't have an inevitable movement towards a certain result based on material conditions (many election predictions contain this as a premise).

So, why an increase from 80% -> 85%?

1. The economy continues to improve. No, it might not be 'good enough' yet, but the indicators are moving in the right direction. If this continues, Trump's chance - all other things equal - improves.

2. The COVID-19 spike in the sun-belt is largely over, for now. Combined with the north-east and the big states in the mid-west, these 3 make up the large bulk of the U.S.'s population. COVID-19 seems to have run its course in all 3, whether by perhaps getting close to herd immunity in certain locations or because of relevant public health measures taken to get it largely under control.

3. Most battleground state %s have been moving towards Trump over the last month. Every single one in the RCP battleground index have tightened (Biden's lead has been reduced). This is reflected in the RCP betting odds, which for the first time since June 1st reached 50-50 yesterday, Sep. 2nd.

4. In addition to common-sense and anecdotal evidence, we now have survey data which suggests an under-counting of Trump support in surveys. My guess is this is real.

5. Biden is looking to be a poor general election campaigner, just as he was a primaries campaigner. Biden won the primaries because he had significant support in the African-American community - due to his involvement in the Obama administration - and the key endorsement of Clyburn in SC, with no strong opponent and a divided field, not because he was a good campaigner. There is no analog to these dynamics in the general election. Indeed, Biden doesn't have a bunch of weak opponents to divide the vote, rather he has 1 very well funded opponent in the general.

Of course, 1-3 might change at any point, and Biden might surprise us with 5. Similarly, Trump could make bad gaffes. There is also a question of whether tape exists of Trump saying things similar or worse to the Access Hollywood tape in 2016. So these trends can easily change.

Thanks for reading everyone! Welcome feedback, and will probably update this when we have 1 month to go.

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I appreciate the update, even if I disagree with the analysis somewhat. I do think you are correct in your points, I just disagree that Trump's chances of reelection have been or are 80% or 85%. I don't think he's been at 50% since about January. If he can get the economy back to January's numbers I think he's got a better chance than Biden, perhaps. I think that is unlikely however. 

The last three incumbents to be trailing at this point in an election lost (Bush I, Carter, Ford). The last incumbent to be trailing at this point and win is Truman. Covid might make this election too new for comparison though. 

I also get the sense that there is much more unity against Trump than previously---an alliance between Clinton supporters, Voters that liked obama/Biden but not Clinton/Kaine, Regret-a-Trumps, NeverTrumpers, and Sanders supporters that regret not having voted for Clinton (or Regret-a-NeverHillarys). 

I will say this -- Trump is probably the only unpopular incumbent I could see coming back through sheer desire to win (at all costs...). Bush I, Carter, Ford, Truman, Hoover, Taft--all the presidents that served only 4 years in the 20th century, would not be able to recover from Trump's unique situation. This is due mostly to Trump's understanding of media and self-marketing. He really loves the media because he likes to use it.

Similarly, I think Biden is the kind of candidate that can clutch defeat from the jaws of victory. This puts him in a class with Hillary Clinton, Hubert Humphrey, Thomas E Dewey, Charles Evans Hughes, Richard Nixon version 1968 -- all people that lost close elections. Trump's closest analogy is Charles Evans Hughes -- a well-respected longterm public servant who is likable. However, 1916 was a time when cross party voting was much more common. Additionally, Biden has one thing these people don't have and what Trump is devoid of: a seemingly authentic projection of empathy. In a Covid election this trait might be the deciding factor on election day. Biden might be uniquely fit for this election. 

Did you listen to Biden's DNC speech yet?

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And as been noted by multiple people here, the polls have been literally all over the place! Perhaps we'll get a clearer picture soon.

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19 minutes ago, admin_270 said:

So you think his chances have increased, just the baseline isn't 80%?

Yeah, but I’m not sure how much of it is just standard post-convention tightening and how much of it reflects Covid restrictions loosening and etc. I think Trump loses the “Are you better off than you were 4 years” ago question, whether it’s his fault or Covids fault. So I think the economic point you make is the weakest, especially when you factor in that many Americans that are now reemployed are making less and/or working less. This might not matter so much outside of the cities. Most Americans live in cities though. 
 

As far as baseline, I’d move his chances from 35% to 40%. 

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2 minutes ago, admin_270 said:

So a bit higher than Silver. That's interesting.

Yeah, that’s mainly 2016 PTSD. If the didn’t make sense results of 2016 never had happened, I’d give Trump’s chances as 10% now. 

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While the polls are swinging slightly Trump, I strongly agree with your point on the betting odds... crazy looking at how Trump or well, the people betting literally erased what? A 70-30 lead for Biden in 2 weeks or so?

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1 hour ago, admin_270 said:

 

1. The economy continues to improve. No, it might not be 'good enough' yet, but the indicators are moving in the right direction.

While I agree that Trump will win, my judgment is mostly based on his willingness to do whatever it takes to win, including blatant crimes, with the knowledge he will not be held accountable.

That said, I did appreciate the analysis just the same.  Which economic indicators are you looking at in the quote above?

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27 minutes ago, Actinguy said:

While I agree that Trump will win, my judgment is mostly based on his willingness to do whatever it takes to win

Yes, I agree he is highly competitive, and is willing to bend soft 'rules' to win. However, that is already included in the 80%, that's why it's not listed here.

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34 minutes ago, PringlesN7 said:

While the polls are swinging slightly Trump, I strongly agree with your point on the betting odds... crazy looking at how Trump or well, the people betting literally erased what? A 70-30 lead for Biden in 2 weeks or so?

Don't think it was quite that high in most markets, but not that long ago it was almost 2-1 Biden.

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9 minutes ago, admin_270 said:

Don't think it was quite that high in most markets, but not that long ago it was almost 2-1 Biden.

As a better myself the only time I've seen jumps this big are after big trades or a key player getting hurt or something.

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7 hours ago, admin_270 said:

Stock indices are the easiest to follow. Employment figures also.

Stock indices only help those wealthy enough to have stocks.  

US Civilian unemployment rate steadily declined shortly after Obama took office in 2009, peaking at 10% that October. 

It had fallen back to 4.7% when Trump took office in January of 2017.  By the time COVID hit, we were at 4.4%.

Unemployment hit 14.7% within a month.  That's 50% worse than it ever got during the 2008 crash, and WAY worse than it was during the 9/11 aftermath.

As of July (most recent numbers available), we're at 10.2%.  That is still worse than it was during the worst of the 2008 crash.

So I have to ask again:  Where are you getting the idea that the economic indicators you pointed to are actually helping Trump?

 

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2 hours ago, Actinguy said:

only help those wealthy enough to have stocks

Many retirees depending on stocks. More importantly, American economy as a whole depends on the health of the companies those stocks are in. Not sure what your point is here.

2 hours ago, Actinguy said:

As of July (most recent numbers available), we're at 10.2%.  That is still worse than it was during the worst of the 2008 crash.

I'm well aware that government lock-down measures have significantly damaged the U.S. economy. The point here is that the numbers are improving, as you have noted, from ~15% to ~10%. No, it's not good, but it's heading in the right direction.

 

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19 hours ago, admin_270 said:

My new prediction is 80% -> 85% Trump.

This is based on many criteria. Most basically, it's based on my evaluation of the personalities and abilities of the two candidates, and then other basic trends in the country. It is not based on a computer model (thank goodness). It is not a 'Marxist' prediction, in that I believe individuals can and do make a difference, and that history doesn't have an inevitable movement towards a certain result based on material conditions (many election predictions contain this as a premise).

No I agree with that number. The good, decent peoples of America will want to start packing their bags now, because no way are we bouncing back from this.

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7 hours ago, admin_270 said:

Many retirees depending on stocks. More importantly, American economy as a whole depends on the health of the companies those stocks are in. Not sure what your point is here.

I'm well aware that government lock-down measures have significantly damaged the U.S. economy. The point here is that the numbers are improving, as you have noted, from ~15% to ~10%. No, it's not good, but it's heading in the right direction.

 

Retirees also depend on social security, which Trump is defunding through his fraudulent con of a "tax holiday".  

The economy shutdown was necessary (and repeated) because Trump has refused to lead the nation through a global pandemic.  He laughs at the science that needs to be followed to get the economy running again.  

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8 hours ago, admin_270 said:

Many retirees depending on stocks. More importantly, American economy as a whole depends on the health of the companies those stocks are in. Not sure what your point is here.

45% of American adults do not own a single share of stock (including 401k, etc), including 41% of those aged 65+ and 77% of those who make less than 40k per year.

Stock market improving is great for me -- but I'm someone who doesn't need more money.  It does nothing at all for those who are suffering.

https://news.gallup.com/poll/266807/percentage-americans-owns-stock.aspx

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4 hours ago, Actinguy said:

45% of American adults do not own a single share of stock (including 401k, etc), including 41% of those aged 65+ and 77% of those who make less than 40k per year.

You're not really engaging with the argument. Many Americans own stock or are indirectly affected by stocks' health. Many Americans' jobs depend on the health of companies that stock markets reflect the health of. If the stock market is going up, that's a good economic marker.

You seem to be saying "But there's more to the economy than stocks!" Of course there is. Stocks going up is good, it's not everything.

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The stock bubble is going to burst soon. Stocks are growing but balance sheets aren’t. Pay isn’t. Income isn’t. Bankruptcies are up. Rents aren’t being paid. And soon, one day, investors will realize this and the bubble will pop and we’re headed for a desperately needed correction.

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