| September 01, 2020
In this update, the Rebublican National Convention boosted Trump’s campaign but is it enough? What are leading election monitors forecasting? A new feature on the RavenPack monitor enables comparisons with polls and 2016 projections.
Despite anecdotal reports that the Republicans gained a boost from their convention last week, our model continues to show Joe Biden in the lead by the same 78 electoral votes as before. Whatever the uplift provided by the convention it does not appear to have been enough to turn the tide.
Ours is not the only monitor in town, however, The Economist, 538.com, and the Financial Times are just three of a host of other publishers with forecasting models.
What are they saying about the changing odds of the election outcome, and are they also still signaling a Biden landslide?
The table below shows the current forecasts of our pick of the ‘creme-de-la-creme’ of other models (to invoke a suitably Republican image).
As can be seen, all bar CNN are signaling that Biden will get over the 270 electoral votes needed for victory.
How about the Republican Convention, are there any signs Trump has picked up support since then?
When looked at historically, several of the monitors are showing a possible Republican Convention bounce.
The Economist model, for example, has shown a rise in the number of electoral votes Trump is expected to win from 181 at its trough low on August 8 to 195 now - a rise of 14 votes in the second half of August when the Convention was held.
The same model is showing Biden peaking at 357 on August 8, before falling to 343 now.
The JHK Forecasts monitor is showing a bounce in support for Trump from the middle of August, with 193 electoral votes on August 14 then rising to 201 after the Convention.
The JHK monitor shows Biden’s electoral votes falling from 346 to 337 over the same period.
The 538.com model shows Trump and Biden steadily tapering towards a closer-fought race.
The Financial Times poll of polls, meanwhile, is showing support for Trump has rebounded recently, as can be seen clearly from the chart below, although even so, he is still well behind Biden, with only 42.2% of the vote compared to Biden’s 50.5%.
It is not exactly a novel idea that in politics that fighting dirty gets results but it also curiously seems an approach well suited to Donald Trump’s persona and style of politics.
After all, it was his relentless refocusing onto Hillary Clinton’s email scandal which seemed to successfully erode her lead in 2016, and eventually land Trump in the White House.
Without a similar scandal to whip Joe Biden with, Trump has had to find other ways to connect on a visceral level with voters, ways which arguably came to the fore at the Republican National Convention (RNC) last week.
In an interesting analysis piece for CNN, political commentator Steven Collinson, dissects the elements of Trump’s strategy and why it would be foolhardy to write him off despite his lag in the polls.
“President Donald Trump's demagogic convention speech played out before a spectacular but norm-crushing White House backdrop in a potential super spreader viral event,” he begins, before adding ominously, “It explained why Democrats warn he must be driven from power at all costs - and why he may win a second term anyway.”
Trump’s new approach is to stimulate voter fears about their security, suggesting that voting for the Democrats was tantamount to allowing “anarchists” free reign.
“Trump painted an apocalyptic vision of a nation on the cusp of a takeover by "violent anarchists" who would exploit a "weak" Joe Biden to destroy America,” says Collinson.
Just the act of holding the convention in the grounds of the White House also had an emotive effect. It was an ostentatious, audacious, and norm-defying gesture, which seemed to further augment Trump’s authority and power. At one point he turned and looked up at the White House with open arms, saying, “The fact is we are here and they are not.”
On the subject of Covid, Trump falsely accused Joe Biden of “ignoring science” and threatening to close the country down with devastating effects for the economy. Nor did he or most of the 2000 audience wear face masks.
It was not the only false or misleading claim he made in his acceptance speech according to CNN which counted 20 other such examples.
Finally, the President’s ignoring of the racial agony that has sparked widespread national unrest may not have helped win over wavering centrists but it probably did appeal to his grassroots supporters.
“The President railed over looted and burned "Democrat" cities as though they were suffering sudden instability for no reason. He made no connection with the despair of African Americans over years of killings by Black men in instances of police brutality -- or the emotional toll of the death of George Floyd in Minnesota and the shooting of Jacob Blake in Wisconsin during his convention,” says Collinson.
Regardless of whether you are a supporter of Donald Trump or not, his imposing performance at the RNC underlined why he is still such a threat to Joe Biden and remains a contender.
A new feature on our election monitor allows users to compare and contrast monitor forecasts with official polls, and with the same model’s projections in the 2016 election.
The features can be switched on or off using two toggles on the monitor situated below the election map. When activated they show how the map’s visuals differ from both official polls and the model’s projections for the 2016 election.
The reason this is significant is because research has shown when news analytics based projections are in agreement with polls the two act to reinforce each other suggesting the result is more likely to happen.
Conversely, when the two contradict each other it suggests a lesser likelihood either one is correct - although of the two, our model has a better track record than the polls!
To experiment with the new tool why not visit the monitor now?
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