Over the summer, a raging coronavirus pandemic and a widening lead in the polls for Joe Biden had many believing that the race for was president was basically over, and that Biden would win in a landslide. Now that the pandemic is receding, some see this race shaping up as a repeat of 2016.
On Election Day, November 8, 2016 at 6 PM, The New York Times’ ‘Upshot’s Election Model’ forecast an 85% chance that Hillary Clinton would be elected President of the United States. That left a 15% chance that Donald Trump would win. By 9 PM, the model gave Donald Trump a 95% chance of winning the presidency. And on inauguration day, Donald Trump was sworn in as the 45th president.
In three hours on November 8, much of what the nation’s political pundits and professional pollsters had predicted was proven wrong.
“Starting in March, we have released a total of 17 Electoral College maps in the Clinton-Trump race. Not even on Clinton’s worst campaign days did we ever have her below 270 electoral votes,” pollster Larry Sabato wrote on the day of the election, predicting a likely Clinton blowout.
For Trump to win, “it would take video evidence of a smiling Hillary drowning a litter of puppies while terrorists surrounded her with chants of ‘Death to America,’” one GOP insider told Politico in August of 2016.
So, what happened?
In part, the polls, particularly in the battleground states of Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania, were off substantially, reinforcing the widely held belief that Hillary Clinton’s “Blue Wall” would hold. It didn’t.
And yet, in this election cycle, President Trump is currently running ahead of where he was at this point against Hillary Clinton in 2016.
According to the Real Clear Politics average of polls, in Michigan, Joe Biden is currently 2.6% ahead of Donald Trump. Yet in 2016 on this day, Hillary Clinton was 8.2% ahead of Trump. The final polling average had Clinton up by 3.6%, though Trump ended up winning the state by 0.3% of the vote.
In Wisconsin, Joe Biden is currently 3.5% ahead of Donald Trump. In 2016 at this point, Hillary Clinton was ahead by 5.3%. The final polling average on election day predicted a Clinton victory by 6.5%, though Trump ended up winning by 0.7%.
In Pennsylvania, Biden is currently ahead by 4.7%. In 2016, Clinton was ahead of Trump by 7.3% at this point. The final average predicted Clinton to win by 2.1%, but Trump was victorious and won the state by 0.7%
This means that in these three crucial battleground states, Donald Trump is currently doing better than he was exactly four years ago by 5.6%, 1.8% and 2.6% in the states of Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania respectively.
Who will win this November? Only God knows.
But according to the betting odds, Biden is still favored to win by a tiny margin of 51.1 to 48.1. Just one month ago, Biden was favored to win by a 61.0 to 36.4 margin.
As the old saying goes, it’s not over till’ it’s over.
You can follow me on Twitter @MettlerZachary
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