A Pennsylvania state judge yesterday ruled that Secretary of the Commonwealth Kathy Boockvar (D) lacked the authority to change the post-election ballot reception deadline for ballots lacking proper identification. Approximately 10,000 ballots fall into this category, and they will apparently now be disqualified. This ruling, in and of itself, will not affect former Vice President Joe Biden carrying the state. His unofficial lead sits at 54,325 votes according to the official state count, but other lawsuits remain pending.
Last night’s national election, as predicted, looks to be headed to political overtime.
The presidential race won’t be decided for more than a day, and possibly not until all ballots are received and counted in Pennsylvania. The state’s post-election ballot reception deadline is Friday, November 6th, at 5:00 pm.
It appears that former Vice President Joe Biden (D) has the inside track to unseat the President, but Mr. Trump still has a narrow path to victory.
It is likely that the Republicans have held the Senate majority despite what appears to be a close loss at the top of the ticket. Defending 13 of the most vulnerable 16 Senate seats, the GOP may break even. Converting Alabama and leading in Michigan offsets the loss of seats in Arizona and Colorado. Four races remain undecided.
Republicans had a much better night in the House than expected. With 43 races still uncalled, a reasonable projection suggests the Democrats will return to the House with a majority margin approximately seven seats less than in the current Congress. This would make the new majority 226D-209R, and certainly put House control front and center for the 2022 election cycle.
In the 11 Governor’s races, we saw one state flip from Democrat to Republican, the open Montana race that completed a Republican sweep of the top four statewide offices. At-Large Rep. Greg Gianforte (R) was elected the state’s new Governor replacing term-limited Gov. Steve Bullock (D) who lost the Senate race to incumbent Steve Daines (R).
Polling and predictions generally proved unreliable. Once more, the big leads projected for the Democratic presidential nominee in Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin did not materialize, while cumulative polling projections did correctly forecast Arizona and potentially Georgia. For the fourth consecutive major statewide race in Florida, the overwhelming number of pollsters failed to correctly project the winner.
It appears the cumulative polling community is potentially wrong in several Senate races including North Carolina, Maine, and the Michigan margin even if Sen. Gary Peters (D) rebounds to win. They also consistently under-estimated Georgia Sen. David Perdue’s electoral strength.
The media projection early in the evening of Democrats gaining seats in the House also proved incorrect.
The projected record turnout may not be as high as many projected. While it is clear we will exceed the 136,792,535 voters we saw in 2016, which was a record participation level at the time, the grand total in this election may not reach the 150 million mark that many analysts were suggesting, and very likely not the 155 million others predicted. We are likely to venture beyond 140 million, but how much further remains to be seen when all of the states have reported, and ballots completely tabulated.
We will have further coverage of the finer details in the coming days.
Election Day has finally arrived, and polls will begin closing in parts of Indiana and Kentucky at 6 pm Eastern time. The two states are split in the Eastern and Central time zones, meaning neither state will fully close at the early time. We will end with Alaska closing at 1 am Eastern Standard Time. All but the far west will close by 9 pm EST. With the big states of California, New York, and Illinois not allowing counting until their polls close, we are unlikely to have an official call in the presidential race tonight, in addition to seeing many Senate and House races go to political overtime.
North Carolina, one of the critical states in the 2020 election for both President and Senate, also reports detailed early voting statistics. Currently, 852,013 absentee votes have been returned from 1,448,960 who requested the mail ballots for a present return rate of 58.8%. This is in addition to the people who have voted early in-person.
The overall participation percentages from Democrats, Republicans, and Unaffiliated voters have all greatly increased. A total of 57.0% of registered voters have already returned ballots or voted in person. The Republican number is 54.4%, and the Unaffiliated segment returns at 46.7%. In 2016, those percentages were 36.9%, 36.2%, and 29.0%, respectively. Republicans, for the first time in early voting history, led an in-person vote day, and it has now happened seven times during the 2020 early voting period. All age groups are reporting an uptick in participation with the exception of the 45-65 segment, which is down 3.1% in comparison to 2016.
ABC/Washington Post released a survey of Wisconsin voters that is returning numbers never seen in the state during this election cycle. This suggests the survey is an outlier, especially when compared to the Marquette Law School poll that was conducted during the same period.
ABC/WaPo (10/20-25; 809 WI likely voters; online) finds former Vice President Joe Biden leading President Trump by a huge 17-point margin, 57-40%, which the polling analysis claims is a response to an increase in COVID-19 cases within the state. Marquette (10/21-25; 749 WI likely voters; live interview) sees the race much differently, though still with a Biden lead. They find a ballot test result of 48-43% in favor of Mr. Biden. Remember, however, that 33 polls were conducted in Wisconsin during the 2016 election cycle, and zero showed President Trump ahead, yet he won the state. It remains to be seen if the same pattern is present this year.
We have another example of two more polls taken within the same time period reflecting much different results. Florida Atlantic University (10/24-25; 937 FL likely voters; live interview & online) tested the Sunshine State’s electorate and projected former Vice President Joe Biden (D) to a 50-48% slight lead over President Trump. Susquehanna Polling & Research, in the field during the same period (10/23-25; 400 FL likely voters; live interview) saw President Trump opening one of his largest Florida leads of the election cycle, a four-point spread, 48-44%, when leaners are added for both candidates. Florida is a must-win state for the Trump campaign.
Three presidential polls were released in the Keystone State of Pennsylvania yesterday with wide-ranging results. Ipsos/Reuters (10/20-26; 655 PA likely voters; online) finds former Vice President Joe Biden leading President Trump, 53-44%. YouGov (10/13-21; 736 PA registered voters; online) sees a similar 51-44% split in Biden’s favor. Insider Advantage, on the other hand (10/25; 400 PA likely voters; live interview & interactive voice response system) shows President Trump forging a three-point edge, 48-45%.
We have six polls reporting from what could be the most important state on the presidential map, Arizona, and three are looking up for President Trump, while another trio are trending downward. The Morning Consult survey (10/11-20; 1,066 AZ likely voters; online) finds President Trump leading former Vice President Joe Biden, 48-47%, while Susquehanna Polling & Research (10/19-22; 500 AZ likely voters; live interview) projects the two tied at 47%. Basswood Research, earlier in October (10/3-5; 800 AZ likely voters; live interview), produced a 49-48% edge for President Trump.
Conversely, Ipsos/Reuters (10/14-21; 658 AZ likely voters; online) gives Mr. Biden a 50-46% edge; and Rasmussen Reports/Pulse Opinion Research (10/18-19; 800 AZ likely voters; live interview & online) yields the former VP a 48-46% advantage; while, RMG Research for the Political IQ blog (10/14-19; 800 AZ likely voters; live interview & text) sees just a one-point spread in Mr. Biden’s favor, 47-46%. It appears that the Arizona vote is definitively drawing closer.
The plethora of polls are also producing major conflicts within the same electorate during the same time period, a statistical inconsistency that has been frequently present in several recent situations. The latest Michigan presidential numbers are a clear example.
While the new Zia Poll (10/11-18; 2,851 MI likely voters; online) posts President Trump to a four point, 49-45%, lead and the Trafalgar Group (10/15-18; 1,034 MI likely voters; text & online) sees a 47-45% Trump edge, two others give former Vice President Joe Biden wider spreads. EPIC-MRA (10/15-19; 600 MI likely voters; live interview) yields the Democratic nominee a nine-point, 48-39%, margin, and Public Policy Polling (10/21-22; 804 MI voters; interactive voice response system) sees a similar 50-43% split.
The Pan Atlantic Research company polled the state of Maine, giving us the statewide count and results from the 1st and 2nd Congressional Districts. Maine is one of two states that split their electoral votes, meaning that candidates can earn an EV for carrying a federal district. In 2016, though Hillary Clinton clinched the state, President Trump won the 2nd District and that provided him an extra national vote. It appears he will need the 2nd District again.
According to the Pan Atlantic data (10/2-6; 600 ME likely voters; online), former Vice President Joe Biden’s statewide lead over President Trump is 50-40%, which is similar to what other pollsters have detected.
In the Democratic First Congressional District (300 ME likely voters), the Biden lead is 17 points, 54-37%. In the more conservative northern 2nd Congressional District (300 ME likely voters), Mr. Biden still leads, but the margin is only 47-43%. Considering that none of the three polls released here in 2016 ever showed Mr. Trump leading, and he would eventually win the 2nd by ten percentage points, a four-point deficit at this point is not a particularly daunting margin.
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