Searching for 2020 answers before Tuesday’s vote

As President Donald Trump and Joe Biden make their final stops before the November 3 elections, data from polling and early voting continue to offer an array of clues about the 2020 electorate, but final answers will obviously have to wait until the votes are actually counted this week.

“We’re going to see record turnout,” said election expert John Fortier of the Bipartisan Policy Center during a Sunday interview on C-SPAN, describing the increase in early voting in 2020 as an ‘explosion.’

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“We’ve already see 92 million people vote early,” Fortier said of numbers from Saturday night.

Here’s some of what we’re picking up in the final hours of the campaign.

+ Lots of new people voting. The numbers are really amazing to see in the data coming from every state. Not only are there are a lot of people casting ballots this time who have never voted before, but a lot of people voted early who did not vote in 2016. Think of the difficulty in constructing a voter model for a poll based on these type of voters.

+ Whither the voter who skipped 2016? What about those who did not vote in 2016? Polling repeatedly shows that these voters are more likely to skew towards the Democrats. In other words, they sat on the sidelines in 2016, and were not pleased with how things turned out in the last few years. But you also have to figure some of those voters are jumping in now to vote for President Trump.

+ What about Independent voters? Let’s talk about the voters who are not Democrats or Republicans. They might vote for an established third party - or maybe they are just plain old independent voters. When you look at the voting patterns of these independents - they often show you they are younger voters. And they embrace voting patterns which look like one side. Read this thread - it has some interesting observations about ‘other’ voters in Nevada, a key swing state.

+ What about those NPA voters in Florida? In Florida, many people are registered as ‘NPA’ - which means, ‘No Party Affiliation.’ This isn’t a small group. As of Sunday morning, almost 1.9 million NPA voters had already cast ballots in Florida, compared to 3.4 million Democrats, and 3.3 million Republicans. That’s a very big chunk of votes. And if they skew in favor of one candidate more than they other by just 5 percent, that’s a big thumb on the scale.

+ I don’t know what to think about Texas. I’m just going to keep saying this every day. There are a lot of people voting in Texas. And one would expect many more will turn out to vote on Tuesday. I still think President Trump is the favorite to win in Texas. But if he doesn’t, it won’t be the only red state which votes for Joe Biden.

+ The suburbs are no longer a GOP friend. For years, the reliable country club Republican suburbs were a big plus for the GOP. But all of that has changed in the last few years during the Trump Administration. And when you watch the election results next week, it will be important to remember the importance of suburban voters - especially suburban women - not only in the race for President, but also how the change in voting impacts Congress. In 2016, the GOP started suffering losses in southern suburbs. That accelerated in 2018. And all signs are it will continue in 2020.

+ How is the Coronavirus playing? The White House on Sunday went after Dr. Anthony Fauci, after the nation’s top infectious disease expert had stepped up his criticism of U.S. policy in dealing with the virus outbreak. We are in the midst of the biggest pandemic in over a century. It is logical to wonder how the impact of the virus will change the 2020 election.

+ More on the virus. Here’s a different way to look at the impact of the Coronavirus outbreak. And it’s also a reminder that in the past few days, the virus keeps setting records - bad ones - all around the nation. It’s getting worse right now, mainly in the Midwest, and a lot of Red states in what some refer to as “Flyover Country.”

+ When are the votes going to be counted? In some states like Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania, the GOP legislatures did not do much to make it easier for a huge influx of mail and absentee votes to be counted quickly. For example, states like Florida can start weeks ahead of time, checking ballots, processing, and even counting. In Pennsylvania, that won’t happen right away, and it’s led to some counties saying they will wait until November 4 to start counting.

+ One final look into a Fox News poll. I’m not really concerned about the polls of the race for President. I’m more interested in what’s inside those polls. The latest Fox News poll showed two big items. Seniors moving toward Biden. Independents moving to Biden. And figures which show Biden is seen favorably by voters. That is much, much different than what greeted Hillary Clinton in 2016.

The clock is ticking.