Polls & Data Send Mixed Messages Prior to Tuesday Election

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  • 03/02/2023

The 2020 election is just a day away, and this cycle has been marked with more uncertainties and more mixed polling messages than perhaps any in recent history.  Here are just a few data points to consider it you are trying to win a wager with a friend as to tomorrow’s Presidential outcome.

Early Voting

 Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Americans are voting early this election at rates never seen before. On Sunday, 93 Million Americans had already voted. 46% of these early voters are registered Democrats. 30% are Republicans.

Democratic narrative focusing on the physical safety and ballot integrity of mail-in voting likely lends itself to this discrepancy. Conversely, the President’s concerns as to the legitimacy of mail-in voting could possibly be keeping more Republicans waiting to vote in-person on election day than usual.

There are currently 24,975,214 outstanding Democratic mail-in ballots, and 14,846,001 republican mail-in ballots.

Republicans have so far shown up early in-person at a higher rate than Democrats, with 42% of early in-person votes being from Republican voters, and only 36% being from Democrats.

Many states have prepared the public for the possibility that we may not even know the result of the election for days or even weeks after the election due to a lack of a proper solution to the increased processing times for mail-in ballots.

The Unexpected Black Vote

 In the weeks leading up to the election, Black voters have swung sharply toward Trump.

As several prominent black celebrities have come out in support of Trump, Rasmussen reported on Oct. 29 that Black likely voters favoring Trump was at 31%, having risen from 27% just three days prior. Trump had 8% of the black vote in  2016.

The "Shy" Trump Voter

While most polls show Biden leading in certain key states, it is hard to forget how epically wrong the polls on average were in 2016.

In 2016, the Trafalgar Group showed Trump jumping ahead of Clinton in Pennsylvania, Michigan, North Carolina, Wisconsin, and Florida. He won all 4.

Polls from the Trafalgar Group seem to be outliers this year as well, showing Trump taking more of a lead than other polls in many cases. The group claims to account for the "shy" Trump voter in ways that other polls do not.

“There’s a lot of hidden Trump votes out there,” said Trafalgar pollster Robert Cahaly. “Will Biden win the popular vote? Probably. I’m not even debating that. But I think Trump is likely to have an Electoral College victory.”

In Arizona, for example, the Real Clear Politics polling average (which takes into account Trafalgar polls) has Arizona at a close 47% for Trump, 48% for Biden.  But both Trafalgar and Rasmussen show Trump nudging Biden out by 3 to 4 points, putting him at 49%.

In several key states, RCP's averages show Biden ahead by a landslide, where Trafalgar shows a tightened gap, within the margin of error.

RCP's polling average shows Trump and Biden neck and neck at 47% and 48% percent in North Carolina. Emerson's recent poll reflects this, with a 47% to 47% tie. Trafalgar has Trump leading Biden in the state by 2 points.

Similarly, a new poll from Iowa's own Des Moines Register shows Trump leading by 7 points, although the polling average shows Trump and Biden neck and neck at 47% and 46%.

Team left poll member Frank Luntz came out and said this past week that if the pollsters get it wrong this time, his “profession is done.”  All we know for certain going into Tuesday is that some polls have some things right, and some polls have some things wrong.  In what one commentator has described as a “wishbone election,” both sides are ready Tuesday to give one final pull.



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