After 4 Years of Trump, is America Better Off Than it was 4 Years Ago?
By: Sammy Quarrato
This article and polling data were originally submitted on November 2, 2020.
My prediction for the 2020 election is that Vice President Joe Biden will be the victor. This is my first presidential election where I make a written prediction.
On one hand, I couldn’t be more confident than I am for who I believe will win, yet there’s this aura of uncertainty that almost everyone is feeling about this election.
First, the elephant in the room is the polling. There is this conventional wisdom going around the country since polling was apparently wrong in 2016.
This polling controversy is grossly oversimplified and misrepresented and this is possibly due to how overconfident most pundits were.
This was so over the top that The Huffington Post gave Hillary Clinton a 98% chance of winning the presidency.
The fact of the matter is that the polls were not as wrong as people are making it out to be.
In 2016, the national polling average the day of the election according to RealClearPolitics (RCP) for Clinton was 3.2%. She won the popular vote by 2.1%.
Clinton won the popular vote by almost 3 million votes yet lost the election due to the Electoral College.
And when you go through state-by-state polling, every state Trump won that he was down in the polling was within the margin of error which can be about 2%-4.5%.
The main 3 states people focus on in terms of this argument are Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania.
The only state that Trump won outside of the margin of error was Wisconsin, yet there’s even an explanation for that.
Voter participation in Wisconsin went down by about 3%, not only that but Trump won 2,000 less votes than Mitt Romney did in that state which went blue in presidential elections since 1988.
Clinton got 238,499 less votes than Obama. This makes sense because when voter turnout is lower, it usually indicates that less people of color, younger people and low-income people are voting.
Black voter turnout in Wisconsin went from 78% in 2012 to 48% in 2016 which helped Trump edge out Clinton by 0.7%.
Trump’s weakest state in 2016 was Michigan. He only won it by about 10,000 votes or 0.2%.
Pennsylvania was a state that Trump also won by about 0.7%. These are all Rust Belt states and that’s an important indicator.
The Trump campaign was ahead in the polling in states such as Iowa which he won by almost 10%, a margin of victory larger than how much he won in Texas. They were also ahead in Ohio.
What brought Trump over the edge was his populist appeal. He was not running as a typical Republican with key issues such as trade deals, anti-intervention, and anti-corruption.
Trump also took advantage of how corrupt and untrustworthy Clinton was, stating that he wasn’t a politician, or “bought out” and explicitly went after her on this issue.
Trump is a liar like no other, but people were willing to take a chance with someone they thought could bring change.
He turned out to be for the establishment, doing the opposite of what he stated he would do on the campaign trail, just like most of Washington.
I felt that it was necessary to cover 2016 because of how much has changed since then, Biden being a different candidate in terms of perception, and other factors such as COVID.
538 and Nate Silver were the most accurate in 2016, giving Trump about a 30% chance of winning the presidency.
Nate Silver’s model today gives Biden an 89% chance of winning the presidency and Trump a 10% chance.
The number one reason is the coronavirus and more specifically Trump’s failure to respond to COVID properly.
The United States has 9.5 million total cases, 220,000 deaths, and 20% of the world’s deaths despite being 4% of the world’s population. We recently hit 100,000 new cases in the span of a day and when we talk about per-capita deaths, being ahead of countries such as the U.K., Italy, France, and Canada.
Even when President Trump was diagnosed with COVID, about 65% of Americans stated that Trump’s diagnosis of the virus was his own fault.
The USPS was also supposed to send out 5 medical masks to every household in America, but the White House got in the way and blocked it.
The American people are struggling, about 32% of Americans fear getting evicted in the next two months and 30 million Americans are food insecure.
We haven’t had a stimulus check since March and the president has been unable to get one passed through Congress.
According to 538, Trump has a 57% disapproval rating in terms of the coronavirus.
The Bob Woodward Tapes especially revealed the intent behind Trump’s botched COVID response, stating that he didn’t want to cause a panic.
If there wasn’t a pandemic, this discussion would be much more favorable to Trump due to the economy being relatively stable.
But if you wanted to go by a guaranteed method of how to determine who will be elected president, you can go by the Guaranteed Loss Rule.
This economic theory hasn’t failed in predicting the presidential election winner since the 1940s.
The criteria of this theory is that if real GDP growth goes down the year before the election and if the misery index rises.
Real GDP growth has gone from 2019 to 2020 and the misery index has risen due to unemployment skyrocketing compared to the year prior and inflation staying relatively steady, going from a misery index of 5.4 to 9.3.
Another reliable source is historian Allan Lichtman who has predicted every single presidential election correctly since 1984, even predicting that President Trump would defeat Clinton in 2016.
He is now stating that he is calling the race for Vice President Biden.
Also, when it comes to polling, 2020 has been the most consistent in the national polling in 21st century American elections and is ahead more than Obama was in 2008.
The polling average in 2016 had Trump tied or even ahead of her about 6 in the national polling, the lowest Biden has ever been ahead was by approximately 4 points.
Even if the polling numbers were off as they were in 2016, Biden would still win by 335 electoral votes.
The debates didn’t help Trump, either. If anything, it heavily damaged his campaign. We know this due to polls such as CNN, YouGov and even Rasmussen, Trump’s favorite polling company.
Biden is also just much more likable than Clinton is as a person, having this deep real personal tragedy of his first wife and daughter dying in a car crash while his son Beau Biden died from brain cancer.
This makes him much more relatable to the average American because of his show of personal hardship.
The debates also had a common theme which was that Trump has completely lost his populist appeal, taking the bait how he did to Clinton in 2016.
A YouGov Poll conducted in Wisconsin showed that 60% of likely voters thought that Trump cares about the wealthy and elite while 40% think he cares about the middle class and poor.
Biden stomps him in the poll where 35% say he cares about the wealthy and elite while 65% say he cares about the middle class and poor.
Also, when I see the crowd sizes and the ground game argument, I’m reminded of the 2020 Democratic Primary where both of those things were true for Bernie, yet he lost.
A direct poll comparison we can do is the last poll from YouGov in 2016 compared to the last YouGov poll that has been released for 2020.
In the 2016 poll, Clinton was beating Trump by 4 points, the same poll conducted 4 years later has Biden leading by 10 points.
We can also do a comparison of who’s winning which demographics and by how much with this poll alongside the 2016 demographic breakdown.
Biden is winning men by 1 point, Trump won men by 11 points.
Biden is winning women by 18 points in the poll, Clinton won women by 13 points.
Trump is winning white men with no college degrees by 22 points, Trump won white men with no college degrees by 48 points.
Biden is winning white women with college degrees by 16 points, Clinton won white women with college degrees by 7 points.
Biden is winning people 65+ by 4 points, Trump won people 65+ by 8 points.
Biden is winning Hispanics by 29 points, Clinton won Hispanics by 36 points.
Biden is winning Independents by 9 points, Trump won Independents by 5 points.
As you can see, Biden is not only winning demographics Clinton won in 2016 by a larger margin, especially with women, he is also winning demographics Trump won in 2016 such as 65+ voters.
Even amongst demographics, Trump is winning them by smaller margins than he did in 2016.
This has also occurred before with the Southwestern region where Democrats were underestimated in 2016 and 2018 in the polls by an average of almost 3 points.
Almost 98 million people voted early, that is almost three-quarters of how many people voted in 2016.
Vote your conscience because when you do, the results will show the American people are committed to going back to a sense of normalcy.
And if you feel like everyone thinks they’re a political expert every 4 years, you’re not wrong.