Election forecasts

In 2016, Hillary won the popular vote by 2.1%, and still lost the Electoral College (EC) by a fairly wide margin. She would have needed to win the popular vote by about 3% in order to win the EC.

Some argue that Trump got lucky, winning those rust belt states in a fashion similar to pulling an inside straight in poker. Or the way Toronto won the NBA title last year after Kawhi’s famous 4 bounce shot.

Actually, the EC is structurally tilted toward the GOP, and this year the tilt is likely to be even worse than in 2016. The reasons are complicated, but have to do with the fact that the Dems have been gradually gaining ground in red and blue states like California and Texas, while the GOP has been gradually gaining ground in purple states like Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin. So this year Biden needs at least a 3% margin in the popular vote, maybe more.

In addition, the polls in the US and UK have pretty consistently understated the support for unfashionable right wing populists. I noticed this with Brexit in 2016, but foolishly ignored this in my 2016 US forecast. Just as with Brexit, Trump did a couple points better in the popular vote than in the polls. This pattern repeated recently with Boris Johnson’s landslide win, and I expect a similar pattern here in November. Thus Biden needs to lead in the polls by about 5% on election day in order to win the popular vote by 3%. And that’s not even accounting for the high rate of invalid mail-in ballots, which some feel will hurt the Dems this year.

Furthermore, Clinton’s lead in the polls declined between mid-October and election day in 2016. Six weeks ago, when I forecast a Trump victory it was in the expectation that Biden’s lead (which was then 7%) would gradually shrink as we approached the election. I expected a feeble debate performance by Biden and lots of ginned up “October surprises” by Trump to control the narrative going down the stretch.

Obviously, things are not going as I expected—the lead has stretched to 9.5%. I did not expect the reports that Trump called US soldiers “losers” and “suckers”. I did not expect Trump to have paid almost no tax in 2016 and 2017. If he really is a billionaire, he could have easily told his tax people to pay a few hundred thousand so it wouldn’t look so bad. I did not expect him to make a fool of himself in the debate, preventing Biden from making a fool of himself. I did not expect him to get Covid-19. I did not expect America’s improving Covid situation to level off in recent weeks. I did not expect Trump to torpedo a new fiscal package that would have delivered unemployment compensation to millions of people, a fair number of whom voted for him. All this negative stuff came out in just the past 6 weeks!

I’m often a contrarian, but I’m not an idiot. I do understand that if the election were being held today then Trump would lose. Actually, one of Trump’s problems is that the election is being held today. Hundreds of thousands of people are voting by mail every single day.

Commenters keep asking me if I still think Trump will win. Why does anyone care what someone like me thinks? Rather than change my prediction as often as a weathervane, let me just say that my prediction is that Trump will win if the 538 polling average margin is below 5% on election day and he’ll lose if the polling margin is above 5%.

In other words, predictions are partly guesswork and partly scientific. My guesswork has been a disaster; Trump has screwed up far more in the past month than I expected. I cannot predict events. The “science” is my evaluation of EC bias and poll bias, which in my view add up to roughly 5%. I’m sticking with the science part of my forecast and completely giving up any pretensions as to forecasting events between now and election day.

I never bought Scott Adam’s claim that Trump was a brilliant politician, but perhaps I subconsciously assumed he was at least a fairly shrewd one. It’s starting to look like Trump was a one trick pony. Sort of like those forecasters who correctly predicted the 2008 economic crisis after falsely predicting earlier crises and also falsely predicting subsequent crises. Trump may have had the right strategy for that year and that opponent, but is unable to adjust his strategy to a world where he’s actually the incumbent and needs to defend his record. He’s not very smart, and you need some smarts when you face a complex crisis like Covid-19.

People underestimate how much random shocks can change the narrative. That Kawhi 4 bouncer didn’t just give Toronto the title; it also cost someone else the title (probably Milwaukee or Philly.) And that created a narrative that teams led by Giannis or Embiid/Simmons couldn’t win the title in an NBA that was increasingly focused on the 3-point shot. In fact, many of the recent stars of the NBA finals (Kawhi, LeBron, AD, Butler) have been unusually prolific midrange shooters. Milwaukee or Philly would have been mediocre champions if they had won last year, but so was Toronto. They were all good enough to win in a down year, with a few breaks.

Similarly, Trump’s 2016 win created the narrative that he was a good politician, and perhaps I was lulled into holding that view. But his win was lucky in the sense that he lost the popular vote by 3 million (against an unpopular Hillary), although it wasn’t luck if you view the current EC bias as in some sense “justified” or normal. In other words, the GOP is lucky to have an Electoral College, but given they have this institution the “luck” of 2016 is likely to be repeated this year if the popular vote is within 3%.

[Hopefully Trump will do as well in 2020 as Kawhi did against Denver. Hopefully 2016 was just a lucky 4 bouncer for Trump.]

PS. Think about the fact that Trump’s still at 35% in the betting markets despite a horrific month. Then maybe my earlier prediction of him winning might not seem so crazy.



77 Responses to “Election forecasts”

  1. Gravatar of Xu Xu
    8. October 2020 at 00:47

    I can only come to the conclusion that this garbarge analysis is precisely why you have published 2-3 papers in the last, I dont know, 47 years?

    What a stupid prediction, based on meaningless data. Biden is NOT up 9% points. If you actually read the poll methodology, you will see that polls like CNN are garbage. They poll more likely voters that register dem. If you look at the polls most accurate in 2016, and 2012, like the highly regarded TIPP, and Reuters/IPSOS, you will see an uncanny resemblence to 2016, and a much tighter national race. At the end of the day, only 3-4 states matter. Trump will not lose Florida and Arizona. So it simply comes down to PA and MI. And based on quality polls, both candidates are neck and neck. Considering Biden has more younger voters, that never vote, and a lack of enthusiasm among others, its unlikely he wins.

  2. Gravatar of Xu Xu
    8. October 2020 at 00:52

    You and Biden would be best friends. Both of you are good at getting nothing accomplished over a long long long period of time.

  3. Gravatar of Julius Probst Julius Probst
    8. October 2020 at 01:05

    Very good blog post as usual. I also liked your conditional forecast based on the 538 data because that’s very similar to how I think about this.
    Of course, lots of people will call you out because they don’t understand what a conditional forecast works.
    Completely agree that polls have underestimated right wing tendencies. I did not expect Brexit or Trump, but was less surprised by Trump victory than Brexit.

  4. Gravatar of Tobias Tobias
    8. October 2020 at 01:35

    Good to hear some optimisim from you!

    I would simply ignore betting markets. They don’t seem to be liquid enough and were e.g. probably worse than 538 at predicting the 2016 result.

    W.r.t. the shy Tory effect, don’t you think pollesters manage to adjust to that a bit? Doesn’t look good if they are off by 5% each election. My intuition is also that this time this effect also goes the other way a bit. If you are in Trump country you might not want to admit that you are not going to vote for him (don’t want to make yourself a target for the crazies!).

    I also think that perhaps many people had a good reason for electing Trump, i.e. the “he’ll shake things up and will actually change something for once” reason. Well, he didn’t, he’s an idiot without a plan and when he “shook things up” it was by corruption. Some people will pick up on that and adjust (I hope).

  5. Gravatar of Michael Sandifer Michael Sandifer
    8. October 2020 at 01:49


    You simply have no idea what you’re talking about. The national polls you criticize were correct in 2016. A handful of state polls incorrectly modeled turnout and slightly underestimated Trump’s support.

    And if you think Sumner publishes so rarely, and that it reflects “garbage analysis”, why do you bother to read his blog?

  6. Gravatar of Michael Sandifer Michael Sandifer
    8. October 2020 at 02:13

    One of the basic principles I learned in neuropsychology was that new brain layers grow over existing brain layers in childhood development, and damage to those upper layers not infrequently leads to reemergence of child-like behavior later in life. This is especially true regarding various forms of senility. This perhaps helps explain the crazy uncle phenomenon, in which formerly normal people become far right wing conspiracy nuts after age 55 or so.

    I think fascism is a default perspective for ignorant and less intelligent people, particularly if they are insecure, including economically. It is the result of the operation of the crudest human id, being the result of evolutionary psychological biases in favor of people deemed similar in ways that seem to reflect more genetic similarity, and hence more shared interests. This is coupled with the usual default fallacies that plague most people, especially in the realm of economics and politics. Mercantilist economic policies and general zero-sum approaches to economics seem intuitive to many.

    Hence, I think fascism is always present in every society in a large minority of the population, and is more common with the elderly.

    The Republican Party has increasingly attracted fascists since Nixon began his southern strategy, but never had the fascists run the Party until 2015. It was the least surprising revolution in history, at least to many of us on the left. The aging of the country is one demographic factor feeding the rise of fascism, and the dumbing down of our politics in general. On average, IQ begins a slow decline in the late 20s, which accelerates with age.

    This helps explain what happened to people like Bill Barr and Rudy Giuliani, who, from all outward appearances and based on comments from friends, used to be sane, productive members of society.

    Trump was never particularly bright or successful, but he also used to not be quite so stupid and crazy. As I said in 2015, he seems to obviously be suffering from some form of senility, which coupled with the insecurity underlying his extreme narcissism, and perhaps financial insecurity, has driven him into a constant, fascist rage.

  7. Gravatar of Michael Sandifer Michael Sandifer
    8. October 2020 at 02:31

    Oh, and I was going to say that it’s become obvious now what many of us suspected was likely true for years. Trump is monumentally stupid, and likely has an IQ that may be roughly at least a standard deviation below normal, if not worse. He has no long-term ability to plan, and very little in the way of attention span. He only has certain, childish durable desires, driven by primitive instincts. He’s incapable of strategy, or indeed, even impulse control.

    He wanted to be President, for the same reason many 8 year-olds want to be President, and it was also a good scam to perhaps make money.

    He acts like a child, because he increasingly has the mind of a child, and a very malevolent one at that. It’s as if he’s oppositional-defiant.

    So, I think Scott’s arrived at the right conclusion about Trump’s lack of intelligence, though I thought he’d reached this conclusion years ago.

  8. Gravatar of mbka mbka
    8. October 2020 at 03:36


    in the extremely oversimplified final analysis, and based on history, “it’s till the economy, stupid”. Whether Trump amplified the disaster or not, whether he caused it or not – simple economic facts may do the trick. He may just lose because of the economy.

    Though in all his stupidity, like the fascists and populists before him, Trump does have a knack for theatrical effectiveness and an uncanny way to use disadvantages to his advantage. I mean, he got Covid out of his own stupidity and uses it now to appear like the superman who beat Covid. There’s something to be said for extreme myopia (more accurately, seeing things only at a low spatial resolution) – you only see the big picture, and that’s pretty much the only thing Trump gets right, he’s not bothered by details, it’s all black and white to him, and that makes him dangerously effective in some ways. He’s basically using his own mental limitations to his advantage. Not something I admire but it explains why he “works”.

    It’s actually sobering – it doesn’t take much to lead or win, it may sometimes be enough to be unable to see most of the world. Also see https://www.ribbonfarm.com/2017/11/09/ceos-dont-steer/ and https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0735275117709046

  9. Gravatar of mbka mbka
    8. October 2020 at 03:39


    in the light of what I wrote above, Trump isn’t effective by accident, or in spite of his stupidity. He is effective because of it. Now, he may run into a brick wall at some point, but the simple black/white heuristic sometimes goes a long way.

  10. Gravatar of Michael Sandifer Michael Sandifer
    8. October 2020 at 04:21


    What you say seems plausible.

    Of course, not every Trump supporter is stupid. Peter Thiel, for example, is a genius in business and probably has a genius IQ, and perhaps even a high genius IQ, but is quite ignorant in macroeconomics.

    But, when people like Kenny Rogers said that Trump said what he was thinking, it reflected that he was old, and some combination of cognitively slow and ignorant on the relevant topics. That’s most Trump voters, just as it’s most Fox News viewers, I think.

  11. Gravatar of Student Student
    8. October 2020 at 05:08

    Well put. I find myself basically agreeing with you on this post. I think trump could be down even 6% the national polls and still lose because Biden crushes in the blue states and makes gains in total vote counts in places Texas (but still loses those places) and barely loses the key swing states.

    As Scott points out tho, a month is a long way to go. Imagine if Biden gets Covid mid oct and is seriously sick or even on his death bed by Nov 1. I don’t even know what would happen then. Does Senator Harris get his votes then?

  12. Gravatar of Student Student
    8. October 2020 at 05:08

    Down 6 points and still win I meant.

  13. Gravatar of Garrett Garrett
    8. October 2020 at 05:24


    Maybe you should take a look at the IPSOS poll before you call Scott’s analysis garbage and stupid:


  14. Gravatar of derek derek
    8. October 2020 at 05:45

    I realize you love Milwaukee, but I think that GSW would have absolutely rocked Philly or Milwaukee in the Raptors’ year. I mean, has the narrative about Giannis/Embiid really changed this year? To me, Giannis’ whole problem, which I don’t doubt will be corrected at some point, is the lack of a strong midrange game. Modern NBA efficiency loves three pointers, but midrange is what defenses are willing to give up, so it is essential to have an all-world mid-range creator for the last couple levels of the playoffs.

  15. Gravatar of Student Student
    8. October 2020 at 05:58

    The NBA is now about having a guy that can beat a one on one and penetrate requiring a crash double team leaving a man open to shoot a 3.

    Shooing inside the arc at 60% and shooting outside the arc at 40% have equivalent expected values. Milwaukee and Toronto were the only two teams excelling in that. Beating GSW was still a bit of a fluke but Lebron changed the game forever… what you see now was brought about by Lebron. One might argue Magic was even earlier in that but that they didn’t hare the shooters back then.

  16. Gravatar of bb bb
    8. October 2020 at 06:09

    I just googled 538 polls in september 2019. I got an article that said Biden by 14. Trumps approval rating was 42 to 53. The only thing that Coronavirus has proven is that most Republicans/Conservatives will literally support any Republican no matter what happens. There is no limit. Prior to Covid and BLM, Trump was one of the worst presidents in modern history. I think he has spent 90 % of his presidency at the floor of his support.
    2016 was a series of weird events that led to a weird result. There is little reason to think that it is more likely for the less likely event to happen.
    As for Biden being a terrible candidate/debater. He beat a very large and pretty good field. He participated in like 10 debates in the last year, and performed progressively better in each one. Oh, and he won the nomination. Biden bombing in the debate was a bad prediction.
    As for Kahwi, anyone who has played basketball knows that good shooters get good bounces- it’s not luck. I personally have never received a good bounce, and it isn’t because of luck.
    My prediction, Biden will win by 7 or 8 as predicted all along.

  17. Gravatar of Jonathan Jonathan
    8. October 2020 at 06:13

    The Kawhi bouncer came in a tie game during the conference semifinals. I feel like people have come to retrospectively imagine it as more than that (especially Sixers fans of course).

  18. Gravatar of Nathan Nathan
    8. October 2020 at 06:20

    I think you’re incorrect that the polling this time still underrepresents Trump voters. Polling was adjusted after 2016 to reflect the higher turnout of less educated white voters (which occurred then). The polls then performed well in 2018 when the Democrats made huge gains as predicted. If anything, if COVID and the recession have any effect, it could be that poor white voters might not be as inclined to turn out as strongly for Trump this time, making the polls too favorable for Trump. On the other hand, as you suggest, voter suppression would then work in the opposite direction.

    But finally you ask why prediction markets still give Trump a chance. Largely this reflects the amount of time we still have before election day (like the time premium on an option). If the polls remain where they are the day before the election, Trump’s odds will be approaching zero.

  19. Gravatar of Charles Charles
    8. October 2020 at 06:31

    Would you accept a more precise formulation of your prediction to be something like:
    “The gap between the 538 polling average on election day and the popular vote margin in the tipping point state (the state which gives the winner their 270th electoral college vote) will be about 5% in Trump’s favour”?

    I would be willing to bet against 4% at even odds if you are interested.

  20. Gravatar of entirelyuseless entirelyuseless
    8. October 2020 at 06:53

    “If he really is a billionaire, he could have easily told his tax people to pay a few hundred thousand so it wouldn’t look so bad.”

    Did you pay attention? He paid several million in advance, then they calculated the taxes with deductions, calculated them as $750 (don’t know why it wasn’t zero), and did not get back the millions, which were rolled forward.

    So several things. (1) He paid, and did not recover, several million, not $750.

    (2) If the deductions were legitimate, it would *not* have been easy to change the calculated taxes without falsifying information.

  21. Gravatar of Brian Donohue Brian Donohue
    8. October 2020 at 07:14

    “I expected a feeble debate performance by Biden…”

    Kind of you to admit the unmistakable signs of dementia have not escaped your notice. Your honesty is appreciated.

    But this is the biggest difference. Biden looks MUCH BETTER recently than he did six months ago, when he was fumbling his way through the Democratic debates. In my experience with dementia-sufferers, this doesn’t happen, but a month of early lids and whatever cocktail they dump into the guy appear to be working over the short-term anyway.

    And what you see is a top tier politician. It’s no wonder the guy has been in DC for half a century. He’s a very good pure politician, much better than Hillary, Jeb, Cruz, or anyone else Trump has come up against. I find it amazing that he can summon these skills while battling mental decline, but decades of refining the craft shine through.

    Still four weeks to go to the finish line, of course, then ten more weeks months until inauguration. Maybe we don’t get a doddering senile old man from day one, but I doubt it.

    Still, I know so many “anyone but Trump” people who really mean it. Being 35, natural-born, and having a pulse are all that’s needed for millions. Which is of course their right.

  22. Gravatar of Michael Rulle Michael Rulle
    8. October 2020 at 07:52

    @Michael Sandifer

    Are you a neuropsychologist? If so, are you saying that your field supports the idea that “Republicans are Facists”? That is an interesting take—-What is “Fascism”? You also believe Trump’s IQ is “one standard deviation” below normal? I would like to know your views on other politicians IQs as well. I need some entertainment.

  23. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    8. October 2020 at 08:31

    Xu, You are right out of the gate with the first comment, and it’s a doozy. You say:

    “What a stupid prediction, based on meaningless data. Biden is NOT up 9% points.”

    The whole point of this post is that Biden’s not actually up 9%. LOL, can’t you read?

    Michael, I’ve said he’s dumb from the beginning–that’s obvious from his tweets–but I had thought he had better political skills.

    mbka, I agree, but keep in mind that his getting Covid doesn’t seem to be helping him in the polls. His strategy has seemingly reached a dead end.

    derek, I’m assuming that KD was out with an injury. In that case GS has almost no chance against Milwaukee or Philly. Milwaukee has always matched up well with GS. By the way, Milwaukee was one shot from going up 3-0 on Toronto in the playoffs and then Fred VanVleet turned into Steph Curry for a week. So Milwaukee did come fairly close to winning a title.

    Giannis doesn’t have to be able to shoot midrange for Milwaukee to win. What Milwaukee lacks is the great three point shooters surrounding Jimmy Butler. Defenses sag off Bledsoe, which kills our offense in the playoffs. In the regular season, defenses are slack enough that our so-so 3 point shooters are enough to complement Giannis’s all-time great inside game.

    Student, I agree. LeBron’s a decent 3 point shooter, but it’s his driving and passing that make him great. Giannis can drive and finish even better, but can’t pass nearly as well (although he’s a decent passer.)

    If KD doesn’t get injured then GS wins the title over anyone, so if that was your assumption then I agree.

    bb, Your comment is full of bad logic. The poll you cite doesn’t change the fact that the race was closer a month ago. Denying that the 4 bouncer was luck is just crazy. Where was Kawhi’s “skill” against Denver?

    As for Biden, I endorsed him in 2015 and consistently said he offered the Dems best chance to beat Trump. So what’s your point?

    Jonathan, Yes, it’s not at all obvious to me that the Sixers would have beaten Milwaukee, which was playing much better than either Philly or Toronto until Fred VanVleet got insanely hot. Through the first 11 games of the playoffs, the Bucks had 1 loss and all other teams had at least 4 losses. But I can’t blame Philly fans for dreaming, Bucks fans do the same. Dreams are all we have.

    Charles, Yes, that’s the right formulation. Thanks. I don’t do bets because it’s a waste of time. If I did, I’d bet in the markets, not with commenters.

    entirely useless, You don’t have to claim deductions. Right?

    And are you saying he can’t claw back those taxes in the future? If so, I stand corrected.

    Brian, And Trump’s a far more senile old man. But I don’t think it’s dementia–both have been buffoons almost their entire adult life. Trump’s former aides describe their job as like having to babysit a kindergartener.

    I’ve said this about Biden all along, and indeed said it back in 2015 when I claimed Biden was the the major candidate most likely to beat Trump, despite his low IQ. I was told Biden was too weak to beat Trump. We shall see if I was right back in 2015, or if Tyler Cowen was right back then.

  24. Gravatar of Scott H. Scott H.
    8. October 2020 at 08:49

    On Trump being a good/great politician.

    No. He was a great campaigner only.

    1.) He didn’t die on the usual Republican philosophical hills.
    2.) He attacked relentlessly.
    3.) His tweets sucked all the air out of the room for everyone else.

    He turned out to be a terrible leader, poor negotiator, and couldn’t get anything done. And, somehow, was even worse than sentence one sounds.

  25. Gravatar of Michael Rulle Michael Rulle
    8. October 2020 at 09:08

    I prefer your Howard Hughes self. But, what the heck, I’ll play too. When my wife—a Cuban refugee—poor no less– who will still vote for Trump (having an understandable hatred for anything that smells even slightly like socialism)—says he is irritating that is a bad sign. When guys who will vote for Trump have simple suggestions that are even consistent with his personna, are told “what do you know about winning elections?”–that is a bad sign.

    He was moving up the scoreboard before the debate—-although my first impression of the debate was he was terrible (until I watched a re-run—and it kind of looked normal—normal, that is, for those two guys–honestly—when you watch a second time it is different–try it–could be just me). And Wallace really was horrid—-worse the second time.

    The Zogby Poll (do they even count?–don’t know) came out after he got Covid and he was down by 2 points. But his guy Rasmussen has a 44 approval rate—-he was 53 10 days ago—bad sign.

    But never underestimate the ability of the Dems to be just as bad—Pelosi is now talking about “25th” amendment again. I assume she knows that won’t happen—-so it is really just calling him crazy—an interesting reminder of their own candidate.

    Just because he pulled an inside straight last time–means nothing now. He is lucky he has 25 days to go. While Clinton was disliked, these two are merely placeholders—. Ms Jorgensen is a genius by comparison—-maybe I will vote for her too—I certainly agree with her most.

    It is not like Dems are not despicable too—whose two most popular figures really are socialists. I still prefer the “liar” over the Dems who tried to cheat. And we really don’t know what they will do—except pack the court which I am against, and try to redo the Iran deal–if you believe Harris (is she really that dumb?)

  26. Gravatar of Michael Rulle Michael Rulle
    8. October 2020 at 09:17

    FBI arrested 6 people for planning kidnapping of Gov. Whitmer. Hmmm—-are they “white supremicists” or left wing commies? If the former, Trump did it, if the latter, Trump did it.

  27. Gravatar of Michael Rulle Michael Rulle
    8. October 2020 at 09:29

    As WAPO does it best to prove Democracy dies in Darkness—they have quickly linked Trump to these guys (I mean, really, was that hard to predict?). He tweeted back in April–“LIBERATE MICHIGAN”—–they let that tweet sit here like a smelly turd. More to come. It will lead all the news shortly!

  28. Gravatar of Michael Rulle Michael Rulle
    8. October 2020 at 09:31

    Surely one of those guys will have some “Proud Boy” connection—maybe a second cousin—Proof!

  29. Gravatar of msgkings msgkings
    8. October 2020 at 09:49

    @Michael Rulle:

    I presume you are equally dismissive of the “Antifa” “threat”?

    Sometimes your team screws up too.

  30. Gravatar of Tacticus Tacticus
    8. October 2020 at 09:53

    I skipped the comments after reading the first two, but, yes, the EC is tilted towards the GOP – always has been, always will be, just like the Senate.

    I don’t think the polls have been that bad, if one takes into account the margin of error. Based on margin of error, I should have bet a lot of money on Trump winning the election in 2016.

    I don’t think Trump has ever been an excellent politician, but he is a brilliant marketer. I’m not sure that type of position works for an incumbent, however. I certainly hope not, since I have a lot of money and hope for the future on him losing next month.

  31. Gravatar of Michael Rulle Michael Rulle
    8. October 2020 at 10:07


    I have yet to develop an opinion of the seriousness of this attempted coup in Michigan—–other than they appear to be truly stupid people. I was just commenting on my guess as to the media reaction. Antifa is not stupid—which makes them more dangerous. I just knew WAPO would hunt for some way to link Trump to these people—don’t you find that funny? I mean, they actually sound serious–meaning WAPO.

  32. Gravatar of Christian List Christian List
    8. October 2020 at 11:34


    Thank you for this great post. I like it very much. Maybe the best in the last weeks. Nearly every sentence is a well-balanced bull’s eye.


    you have a reading disability. Scott analyzed similar things as you did, only more politely and better. But in the end with nearly the same result: Trump is, surprisingly, after all his scandals, still in play. He just needs to win a few states. Can he ever die?


    Bets of this kind don’t make sense. It’s not worth it. The odds are not good enough. The betting markets are not off, 30% chance of winning seems to be quite accurate. Bets only make sense if the odds are (strongly) in your favor, being “right”, such as Scott, is not enough.

    Michael Sandifer,

    IQ of 70? “Stupid”? You use the word “stupid” way too often and you use it wrong. Where’s our respect and our sanity? Have you ever seen a Gaussian bell curve? It says that our IQ values are probably all quite similar. And an IQ of 70 is rare. It is extremely unlikely that a person with an IQ of 70 will become president. Have you ever met a person with an IQ of 70? This is absurd.

    As I said, we all should show more respect. We are like those fat couch potatoes who explain to professional athletes how their sport is supposed to be done “right”. What a joke. We don’t have the slightest idea.

    For example, we would all fail miserably on TV, except maybe for Scott.

    Trump and Biden are certainly many things, but they are not stupid. Both are actually quite unique. Trump has these incredible instincts when it comes down to the effective use of language. He is a genius in this respect.

    And Biden is still in top shape for his age. How many nearly 78-year-olds do we know who are still as fit as Biden, at that age? Most likely not too many. This guy is amazing.

    And on top of this Biden is a strong stutterer (!) since his early childhood, who nevertheless faces an audience of millions of people and speaks freely. What a great human being.

    This guy masters his greatest fear every single day of his life since nearly 78 years. Average people like us would never achieve such a thing. This guy is uber-human in the best Nietzschean sense. This is such an incredible surreal achievement, it is borderline insane, in the good sense of the word. Okay, I’m running out of superlatives now.

  33. Gravatar of Michael Sandifer Michael Sandifer
    8. October 2020 at 11:41

    Christian List,

    The standard deviation for IQ scores is 15 points, not 30. Thanks for the lecture though.

    By the way, Trump could easily have an IQ of only 70, which would mean he’s mentally retarded, to use a non-PC term. Just think of all the the incredibly stupid things he’s done, from countless self-incriminating statements, to refusing to take proper precautions and catching Covid-19 and spreading it to aides and donors, just a month before the election. This is the same imbecile who openly mused about injecting household cleaning products into the bloodstream to treat Covid-19, in addition to somehow shooting UV radiation into the body.

  34. Gravatar of Christian List Christian List
    8. October 2020 at 12:07


    The way you express it, it does not sound completely implausible indeed. However, I know a few patients with IQs between 70 and 85, and these people are quite different from my point of view.

    Let’s take the example of (TV) debates with an audience. You have to be very concentrated. You have to understand the moderator nearly immediately. You have to be quick-witted. You have to speak quite a lot. You have to be sharp. Etc.

    The low IQ people I know could never do this. Many questions are not understood at all, not to mention political (!) questions. And if they understand the question, then it often takes forever until you get an answer. Every talk beyond “Hello, how are you, how is it going?” can be quite hard for them. I can’t see such deficits on Trump.

  35. Gravatar of Michael Sandifer Michael Sandifer
    8. October 2020 at 12:34

    Christian List,

    How many of the questions in debates does Trump seem to understand? How many does he answer rationally? Did you see the last debate? What he did doesn’t require brain power.

  36. Gravatar of bb bb
    8. October 2020 at 12:36

    –:”Your comment is full of bad logic. The poll you cite doesn’t change the fact that the race was closer a month ago.”
    My only point is that the polls have indicated a Biden win all along and that he has been campaigning for 18 months without making the predicted mistakes. I merely think that betting against Biden is over thinking it.

    — “Denying that the 4 bouncer was luck is just crazy. Where was Kawhi’s “skill” against Denver?”

    A step back 20 footer at the buzzer requires some luck. My point is that the 4 bounces should not be considered luck. That ball was shot with great arc, perfect backspin, and landed dead center on the front iron. Good shooters get good bounces because they have good touch. If it was a bank shot I might call it luck.
    Denver has Murray. Other guys get a vote too. I’m not a huge Kawhi fan btw.

    – “As for Biden, I endorsed him in 2015 and consistently said he offered the Dems best chance to beat Trump. So what’s your point?”
    My point is that you were overthinking it when you predicted a Trump win, which is for fun anyway.
    I’d add that I think prediction markets in politics have little value, probably because they are not conditional.

  37. Gravatar of Skeptical Skeptical
    8. October 2020 at 12:37

    Fascism polls so poorly in the US it functions as a lizardman constant. If one thinks they’re a sizeable minority, show some polling demonstrating support for fascism.

  38. Gravatar of Mark Mark
    8. October 2020 at 12:40

    According to FiveThirtyEight, the electoral college bias against the Democrats is actually smaller this time than in 2016. As of now, FiveThirtyEight is predicting that Biden wins the tipping point state (Pennsylvania) by 6.1% and nationally by 8%, for a gap of 1.9%. By contrast, there was a 2.8% gap between the national popular vote and tipping point state (also Pennsylvania) in 2016. Interestingly, California is the only state on FiveThirtyEight where Biden is projected to win by less than Clinton did. It could be that the Democrats already maxed out their vote in deep blue states in 2016, while mean reversion in the Midwest and demographic changes in the Sunbelt start reducing the Democrats’ disadvantage in the Electoral College going forward.

    And regarding right-wing populists underperforming polls, that is far from an ironclad rule. During the French election in 2017, you had people predicting Le Pen would win even though she was down 20 points in the polls, and the actual result is that she lost by over 30 points.

  39. Gravatar of Christian List Christian List
    8. October 2020 at 12:54


    I haven’t seen the last debate, but I have seen him before. I do not see any good evidence of an extremely low IQ. I see clear indications of personality disorders and partial disabilities such as dyslexia, and perhaps ADHD.

    As I said, I think it is more likely that he is approximately in the normal IQ range. If this were not the case, one would have to question the definitions and measurements of intelligence in general.

  40. Gravatar of Michael Sandifer Michael Sandifer
    8. October 2020 at 13:33


    I’m not saying Trump was born with such a low IQ, although he was probably never very bright. I think senility has taken its toll, so this brain is very patchy. It’s very different in many way than someone born with such a low IQ.

  41. Gravatar of Charles Charles
    8. October 2020 at 13:41

    I’m not sure quite what you mean by it being a waste of time – I don’t think you can find such a bet on public betting markets in any case, certainly not a liquid one accessible in the US.

    If it’s a matter of it not being worth your time to bet small amounts, I am willing to bet up to $10,000 with a suitable escrow.
    You have my email if you are interested, in any case.

    Christian, it looks like you’ve misinterpreted my bet proposal as being about who wins, it is not that. The rest of your response seems to be labouring under this misapprehension. The bet I proposed to Scott should appear based on his priors to have upwards of a 10% expected return under reasonable assumptions about variance. Naturally I disagree.

  42. Gravatar of Michael Rulle Michael Rulle
    8. October 2020 at 14:20

    Boy what a genius I am. Whitmer, it turns out, is the ultimate scumbag. She came out and blamed Trump for 13 losers, Even when I knew this would happen, I now hate these people as much as I can in politics. Congratulations! I am now just like them! Yay!!

  43. Gravatar of Benjamin Cole Benjamin Cole
    8. October 2020 at 15:53

    You guys are all missing the 2000 Florida-Gore-Bush fandango. Bush bully boys stopped the vote recount and then the Supreme Court handed the election to Bush.

    With mail-in ballots and delayed vote counts and instances of bona-fide and fabricated vote fraud and the Proud Boys or other groups willing to interdict vote counts, this election also could be put to the Supreme Court.

    Scott Sumner has linked to a John Cochrane blog predicting America might burn down to the ground after November 3rd.

    Unfortunately, due to Covid-19 travel bans, you guys are unable to leave the country. Provision yourselves otherwise!

  44. Gravatar of Benjamin Cole Benjamin Cole
    8. October 2020 at 16:40

    Way OT, but surely worth discussing:

    “Coronavirus: WHO estimates 10% of global population infected with COVID-19

    Roughly one in 10 people across the globe may have already been infected with the novel coronavirus. The estimate from the World Health Organization comes as it predicts that “a difficult period” lies ahead.”

    Um, okay, 10% of the world’s population has been infected by COVID-19. That is from WHO, not me.

    The global population is 7.8 billion.

    You are probably ahead of me here.

    That means 780 million people have had COVID-19.

    And 1.06 million have died from C19.

    Okay, pulling out my smartphone, which has an excellent calculator built in, 1.06 million/780 million is…0.00136.

    Meaning that about 14 people out of every 10,000 who have been infected have died, or, if you prefer 1.4 people out of 1000, or 0.14 people out of every 100.

    This is not that different from seasonal flu, btw, which is what all the alt-r websites have been crowing all along.

    Is there any aspect of the COVID-19 story that holds water?

    The good news, macroeconomists can now look down their noses at epidemiologists. There is another profession wherein results, facts, proclamations, theories and politics are in eternal war.

  45. Gravatar of Carl Carl
    8. October 2020 at 17:16

    I’m hoping Giannis finds his way to a nice home here in Northern California where we have a couple of better than so-so three point shooters who can complement his inside game.

  46. Gravatar of Student Student
    8. October 2020 at 21:17


    If that is the case, then for there to be 217,000 US deaths would mean 160,000,000 Americans have already had Covid. About 1 out of 2. Laughable.

  47. Gravatar of Student Student
    8. October 2020 at 21:31

    If 1 in 10 Americans has had covid, the death rate would need to be 0.007 to get to ~220,000 American deaths.

    That seems about right as that implies actual cases are about 5 times documented cases. That is possible, but that’s 6 times the death rate u are suggesting.

  48. Gravatar of Student Student
    8. October 2020 at 21:39

    If hers immunity is achieved at even 30% of the population having been effected, we are talking about 8-15 more months of the pandemic and about 500,000 to 700,000 total American deaths (Supposing treatment doesn’t continue to improve at the current rate it is). That’s about 25-50% less than what I expected in March but still pretty close. This result would also mean Covid19 is like 12 times as deadly as the seasonal flu.

  49. Gravatar of Student Student
    8. October 2020 at 21:43

    Incidentally this means the Covid19 pandemic is about as deadly as the annual selfishness pandemic we impose on our unborn every single year.

  50. Gravatar of Michael Sandifer Michael Sandifer
    8. October 2020 at 22:00

    Michael Rhulle,

    Comments like yours really make me wonder if you’re mentally ill, or at the very least once suffered from a serious head injury.

    To anyone with a brain approaching normal, it’s obvious Trump has been inciting violence against political opponents and various minority groups since 2015, at least.

    When you refer to Mexican immigrants as rapists and drug runners; tell your supporters at rallies to “knock the Hell out of him”, regarding a protestor; leave Puerto Rico with less aid, and let California burn, because they didn’t vote for Trump; make references to the 2nd Amendment when discussing losing an election(2016); defend the Kenosha killer; threaten to jail and call for Bill Barr to jail political opponents; wink and nod to Qanon conspiracy theorist, who say many in the establishment are canibalistic, pedophile child sex traffickers(led one stupid follower to storm a pizzeria with an assault rifle); accuse Democratic mayors of destroying our major cities; saying there were “many fine people on both sides”, at Charlottesville;…

    I can go on and on.

    Of course I won’t engage with you about fascism. You don’t know anything and seem completely blind to what’s going on around you. You even claim to have done grad research in the area of political science. I find that impossible to believe, unless the head injury came after.

  51. Gravatar of Michael Sandifer Michael Sandifer
    8. October 2020 at 22:11

    Michael Rhulle,

    You also seem to have missed Trump having called for a shutdown of the economy in March, only to say begin a crazy push to reopen it 3-4 weeks later, and then him verbalising support for some of the very armed militiamen who conspired to kidnap Whitmer, when they entered the Michigan capitol building with guns.


    Trump tweeted that the Governor should make a deal with them.

    If don’t feel like a stupid scumbag yourself at this point for referring to the Governor of Michigan as a scumbag for blaming Trump for the conspiracy to kidnap her, then you really need to literally go have your head examined.

  52. Gravatar of Michael Sandifer Michael Sandifer
    8. October 2020 at 22:19

    Here’s a direct link to Trump’s tweet, so all can see what kind of person Michael Rhulle is:


  53. Gravatar of Benjamin Cole Benjamin Cole
    8. October 2020 at 23:45

    Student: I was merely quoting WHO numbers. I have given up having a position in macroeconomics or COVID19.

    Whatever position you like, you can easily wrestle up the facts.

    Indeed, I suspect there there are pre-publishing services that provide well-worded abstracts and conclusions, and then you can jigger-up some numbers to fit, after receiving funding from interested parties.

    You mentioned abortions.

    Also, about 50,000 people every month in the US die from cancer, often triggered by environmental carcinogens.

    And on cancer, the situation is very long-term, while C19 might fade or be vaccinated away soon.

  54. Gravatar of Christian List Christian List
    9. October 2020 at 02:28


    I don’t see that Trump’s condition changed substantially and I think Scott agrees with me here, at least as far as what I read from him. Trump has always been like this, just think of his statements about the Tiananmen Massacre. Even his wording, his way of speaking is unchanged. So no, I do not share your theory.

    Of course he got a little older, like all of us, but it didn’t change his IQ, he’s got no (new) dementia. “Trump”, as he is today, the variations, the personality disorders, and his way of speaking is already present in very old videos.

    Charles, okay then, thanks for clarifying. But I think my statement is also valid. The bet is not worth it.

  55. Gravatar of Michael Sandifer Michael Sandifer
    9. October 2020 at 06:02

    Christian List,

    Here’s a clip from a Trump appearance on Letterman in 1992. Of course, you can see much of Trump’s well-known personality on display, but notice how much sharper he is in how he expresses himself, with much less rambling and getting lost in the middle of sentences:


    Obviously, testing would be needed to know for sure, but Trump definitely seems even somewhat crazier than usual since going on steroids recently.

  56. Gravatar of Jonathan Miller Jonathan Miller
    9. October 2020 at 06:54

    I have generally looked at the Generic Ballot from 538 to determine what I expect.

    In February I saw the Democrats had a 5% lead. I compared the to 2018 where they had a 7% lead and won contests in Arizona, Maine, Minnesota, Michigan, Nevada, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Virginia but not Florida (they also lost a contest in Arizona). I also compared that to 2016 where they had a 2% lead and lost due to Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania.

    In February I expected a narrow Biden win at 5%, with Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania and possibly Arizona. So our guesstimates are currently about the same, but arrived by different approaches.

    Right now I think that the 538 chances are probably about right.

  57. Gravatar of Michael Rulle Michael Rulle
    9. October 2020 at 07:01

    @ Michael,Sandler

    I asked you to comment on 4 questions/comments. You responded to none. And while my name is clearly spelled out, you managed to spell it wrong twice.

  58. Gravatar of Michael Rulle Michael Rulle
    9. October 2020 at 07:08

    Back to Whitmer kidnap attempt. While I think these guys were neither pro nor anti Trump——nor pro Antifa/anarchists——- there is at least some evidence they may be anarchists.

    But does it really matter? No. What matters is the Dem response——-which was as predictable as it was stupid.

    As a side note, given her unpopularity and her seemingly unresponsive stance——as she lives in her vacation home, maybe Nancy can look into a 25th amendment style investigation on her while she is at it.

  59. Gravatar of Michael Sandifer Michael Sandifer
    9. October 2020 at 08:36

    Michael Rhulle,

    Good point about your name. If I ever see a post from you making such a correction worthwhile, then it’ll be forthcoming.

    I wish you well in your quest for mental health, should it ever begin.

  60. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    9. October 2020 at 09:00

    Michael, Watch the debate a second time? I never watch them the first time. Why would I? Why would anyone?

    Tacticus, I don’t think the EC was tilted that way in 1960–just the opposite.

    bb, No matter how skilled Kawhi is as a shooter, that shot had no more than a 25% chance of going in. Your claims are absurd.

    Mark, Perhaps, but the polls currently show a 3.1% gap. We’ll see.

    Charles, Thanks, but at my age bets have no appeal. Money means almost nothing to me—only time matters. I don’t want to spend time figuring out how to assure I get paid if I win. Thus I never bet.

    Think of my post as an explanation of what betting markets might be thinking. If I am wrong (very possible) then at least the person betting against Trump in the betting markets is fully informed of the thinking of those on the other side.

    I’ll try to remember your prediction of less than 4%, and give you credit if you are right.

    Carl. I’m so glad I’m not a Golden State fan. Imagine watching a team that added KD to the best team in history. Regular season would be such a drag, full of disappointment that you weren’t winning every game. I get great enjoyment out of the (overperforming) Bucks regular season, and don’t much care much about the playoffs.

    Ben, You tell us that you merely report numbers that you don’t believe. So why should anyone read your comments? And why should we believe you when you say you don’t believe the stuff you post?

  61. Gravatar of Skeptical Skeptical
    9. October 2020 at 09:16

    When perusing a comments section like this a decent rule of thumb in identifying someone who is a bit unhinged is to see if anyone is making wild accusations of fascism, head injuries, stupidity and mental illness.

    Take from that what you will

  62. Gravatar of Michael Rulle Michael Rulle
    9. October 2020 at 09:33

    Scott—-well that does make sense—-and is a pretty good point. See what happens when Sports suck?

  63. Gravatar of Michael Rulle Michael Rulle
    9. October 2020 at 09:35

    Actually NFL is fine—-closest to the real thing this year—-and it shows in their relative ratings outperformance versus the other sports

  64. Gravatar of Tacticus Tacticus
    9. October 2020 at 11:32

    I should have said the EC is tilted towards small-population states, not necessarily the GOP.

  65. Gravatar of Christian List Christian List
    9. October 2020 at 11:33

    Michael S.,

    I got no sound on my device right now, but I have seen this video and very similar ones before.

    What I was thinking at the time was this: These talk show “conversations” are prepared, partly scripted, or even mostly scripted. It is not free speech.

    It is not so much about politics either, and if so then it’s mostly politically correct, because it’s mostly in the script.

    My impression was also that Trump is already testing a lot during this time. He was testing what people like and what they don’t like. It’s quite possible that he himself doesn’t have really fixed political ideas, but that he has been looking for a gap in the political market over the years, and in 2016 he found this gap.

    It is true that corticosteroids in high doses can change your behavior for some time. Your blood sugar explodes, your blood pressure too, you become more aggressive, more feisty. It is fight-or-flight. In the case of Trump, of course it’s fight. In short: Trump becomes even more Trump under corticosteroids for some time. But it is not dementia and it has nothing to do with IQ and it is not permanent.

    It might take 2-4 weeks until it goes away though, depending on how much of this junk his “doctors” gave him and for how long. I bet he is still taking it. Those liars. So I assume that the next weeks will be even more “fun” than usual.

  66. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    9. October 2020 at 11:41

    Michael, NFL is only watchable when Aaron Rogers is playing well. Fortunately, he is currently playing well.

    Tacticus, Yes.

  67. Gravatar of anon/portly anon/portly
    9. October 2020 at 22:14

    “So this year Biden needs at least a 3% margin in the popular vote, maybe more.”

    This is worded poorly. I think this is supposed to mean Biden needs at least a 3% margin to be have 50% or greater chance of winning. He doesn’t “need” a 3% margin to win, he can win with a margin below that, obviously. But below 3% (or some number thereabouts, apparently) Trump becomes the favorite.

    538 even has a nonzero (but < 1%) chance of Trump winning the popular vote and Biden winning the electoral college.

  68. Gravatar of anon/portly anon/portly
    9. October 2020 at 22:56

    “Six weeks ago, when I forecast a Trump victory it was in the expectation that Biden’s lead (which was then 7%) would gradually shrink as we approached the election. I expected a feeble debate performance by Biden and lots of ginned up “October surprises” by Trump to control the narrative going down the stretch.”

    Hmmm, that’s the claim now. A simpler theory: someone was just being a nut.

    I assume this is a reference to the “[a]s far as I’m concerned, Trump has already won” statement from August 28. You should have pondered the wisdom of this rejoinder, from one of your loyal commenters:

    “This is ridiculous. Biden is going to win, probably very easily. Just read Josh Barro’s twitter feed; he’s not panicking and he’s right. Anti-Trump people who drank the “Hillary is certain to win” Kool-Aid in 2016 seem to feel that drinking the “Trump has a very good chance” Kool-Aid in 2020 is some sort of restorative, or something. I don’t get it at all. Why not just swear off the Kool-Aid altogether?”

    Okay to your credit you do go on in this post and own up (in so many words) to the Kool-Aid drinking. But you really *should* just read Barro’s twitter feed and relax – he makes a lot of good points!

    Plus he links often to a fake Biden twitter account with a very funny running “Beto” gag.

    Yes, Trump can still win – elections are known to have ups and downs, predicting the future is difficult, etc – but there’s no reason to be throwing out these wacky “Hillary’s lead declined so Biden’s should also” or “both Trump and Brexit beat the polls by 2%!” points. You can make a million other points just like these and all of them and 10 cents will get you a cup of coffee.

    2016 (as Barro likes to point out) was more about Clinton than Trump – Clinton had terrible “likability” numbers, not as bad as Trump’s, but way worse than anyone else since Goldwater. 2020 is obviously much more about Trump. If people are learning to like him, then that would be good for Trump.

  69. Gravatar of anon/portly anon/portly
    9. October 2020 at 22:58

    “I never bought Scott Adam’s claim that Trump was a brilliant politician….”

    What gave it away? Outperforming Mitt Romney by negative one per cent?

  70. Gravatar of anon/portly anon/portly
    9. October 2020 at 23:01

    The first two comments on this thread are amazing.

    New TMI Commenter Mt. Rushmore: Xu, Xu, Xu and Xu. Four Xu’s.

  71. Gravatar of anon/portly anon/portly
    9. October 2020 at 23:20

    And Romney was up against Obama while Trump was up against Clinton, note. What’s the “par” difference there? Five points? Ten?

  72. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    10. October 2020 at 12:28

    anon/portly, You said:

    “This is worded poorly.”

    No it isn’t, you’re just being pedantic.

    You said:

    I assume this is a reference to the “[a]s far as I’m concerned, Trump has already won” statement from August 28.”

    Not sure if you are being a troll, or if you actually think I was referring to the election when I said he’d already won. Either way I’m disappointed.

    In fairness, compared to Xu you are a genius.

  73. Gravatar of anon/portly anon/portly
    10. October 2020 at 15:53

    “You’re just being pedantic.”

    Okay, fair point, sorry.

    “Not sure if you are being a troll, or if you actually think I was referring to the election when I said he’d already won. Either way I’m disappointed.”

    I wasn’t being a troll at all. You wrote this on August 28:

    “PS. As far as I’m concerned, Trump has already won. Given the appalling condition of the country, the fact that the betting markets have this a close race is an indication that the GOP dominates US politics. Indeed the appalling condition of the country (riots, etc.) actually helps Trump. This is no longer the 20th century, when presidents were held accountable.”


    That still looks like it’s about the election, to me. I was thinking this was the “forecast” of “a Trump victory” “[s]ix weeks ago” referred to in this post. August 28 is roughly six weeks ago.

  74. Gravatar of anon/portly anon/portly
    10. October 2020 at 16:14

    This is still a good point:

    “You can make a million other points just like these and all of them and 10 cents will get you a cup of coffee.”

    For example, I’ve been forecasting – since October of 2016 – that Trump (or Clinton, if she’d won) would lose, and lose solidly, in 2020. (Partly I was never fooled by the “Scott Adams” sort of logic discussed in this post – it was apparent to me immediately that everyone was overlooking what was hiding in plain sight: Hillary Clinton’s extreme weakness as a major party candidate).

    But if Biden wins big in November, does that make me a genius? Not at all. My forecast and thinking has been mainly based on the idea that people would get tired of Trump. One word: fatigue. I’ve been expecting any “polling error” to go solidly in the D’s favor in 2020, for this reason.

    But I was also expecting a much less Trumpy Trump! If you’d told me Trump could be this Trumpy for four years and still have as good a chance of winning as he has today, I would have been totally flabbergasted. It was far beyond my imagination what he could accomplish along this line. So really my predictions of Trump Fatigue have not been born out.

  75. Gravatar of Alex Mazur Alex Mazur
    11. October 2020 at 00:26

    There were no significant understatements of the support for the Boris Johnson’s Conservative Party in 2019 UK general election:
    The polls conducted during three days prior to the election put Tories and Labour at:

    Survation: 45-34 (+11)
    Opinium: 45-33 (+12)
    Ipsos Mori: 44-33 (+11)
    Deltapoll: 45-35 (+10)

    The actual results (without NI as polls are usually GB-only):
    44.7-33.0 (+11.7)

    These results are broadly in line with pre-election polling. The worst of them, Deltapoll’s has 2 margin of error (66% margin, not 95%). If anything, they may have slightly underestimated the support for the moderate Liberal Democrats (at the expense of the Labour).

  76. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    11. October 2020 at 09:04

    anon/portly, You completely misunderstood the comment. I said the fact that the election was close despite all the screw-ups showed that he had won the war of ideas, or more accurately the war of style.

    It was not a prediction that he would win the election.

    Actually, you made my exact point in a slightly different way:

    “If you’d told me Trump could be this Trumpy for four years and still have as good a chance of winning as he has today, I would have been totally flabbergasted. It was far beyond my imagination what he could accomplish along this line. So really my predictions of Trump Fatigue have not been born out.”

    That suggests there will be more Trumps. We are now a banana republic.

    Alex, Thanks. I stand corrected. I relied the post-election press coverage, which treated the win as unexpectedly large.

  77. Gravatar of Postkey Postkey
    17. October 2020 at 03:09

    This is why H.R.C. ‘lost’?
    “And it’s deadly. Doubtless, Crosscheck delivered Michigan to Trump who supposedly “won” the state by 10,700 votes. The Secretary of State’s office proudly told me that they were “very aggressive” in removing listed voters before the 2016 election. Kobach, who created the lists for his fellow GOP officials, tagged a whopping 417,147 in Michigan as potential double voters.”


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