The Presidential Polls Will Soon Be Tightening (Gasp!)

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Mail-In ballots. Image courtesy of flickr.com

It seems that President Trump’s attempts to stay in office are increasingly desperate. “Biden wants to hurt God,” he said Thursday, leading MSNBC host Chris Hayes to ask how he could even do that (?).

It was bad enough for Trump that he’s apparently lost control over events and the narrative–and the opportunities to get the campaigning juice so essential to his being.

Then came the news that Cy Vance, Jr., the New York County District Attorney, apparently possesses not only those elusive tax returns, but also evidence of fraudulent claims made by Trump and his company in order to obtain loans from Deutsche Bank. It’s finally looking as though the long arm of the law that he’s eluded for so long may well be hovering within reach.

So despite his obvious contempt for and boredom with the position of President, and the fact that more than 160,000 Americans have now died on his watch (“It is what it is”), Trump still wants to keep the job. And that’s understandable. If he loses, he could soon be facing trial and conviction.

But if he’s President, he can’t be indicted. That’s a dopey standard as far as I’m concerned–one that never occurred to Washington, Jefferson, Hamilton, et al. But that’s what we’re stuck with for now–just as we’re stuck with the outdated Electoral College.

And if it weren’t for the latter, we’d have few concerns that Trump would be easily booted from the Oval Office.

So Trump is declaring the election a fraud ahead of time, his selection for Postmaster General is snafuing postal operations just when the pandemic has made vote-by-mail more essential than ever, crazy lawsuits are being filed to prevent state officials from sending vote-by-mail ballot applications to citizens, and now Republican operatives are pushing an unstable hip-hop star strategically onto the ballot as a third-party candidate.

I’d say “poor Kanye West” because it seems he’s being used–at a time when his wife is lamenting his untreated mental illness. But he’s also being handsomely rewarded by his relationship with Trump: his fashion company received millions of dollars in loans from the Paycheck Protection Program for small and medium-sized businesses, and he says he’s negotiating other deals as well. In addition, he wants President Trump to defeat Joe Biden, so why not act as a spoiler in states where the race may be tight, eg, Wisconsin?

Right now, the polls in the swing states are still showing Biden is strong, and a surprising number of Senate seats may be in play. The national polls have tightened a bit. They will continue to do so–and we may see this movement more after Biden announces his choice as Vice President next week. There is no way everyone will be happy with whomever he chooses.

This poll-tightening is not a cause for worry, as my wise friend has written:

“Here’s the word of caution: Trump’s popularity has dropped so significantly and quickly that a rebound is inevitable. In statistics, such a correction is known as ‘regression to mean.’ It is a nearly universal phenomenon that manifests itself in batting averages, stock prices, and the number of insects in a hectare of forest.

“When Trump recovers some of his lost ground due to regression to the mean, DON’T PANIC! We must have the intellectual discipline to understand that when Trump closes the gap because of a nearly immutable law of statistics, it does not mean that Biden is ‘losing.’ When Biden is ‘only’ five points ahead of Trump (instead of his current 14 point lead), Biden will still be winning —notwithstanding Trump’s efforts to convince you otherwise.

“And when the gap closes, don’t blame Joe for forces that are far beyond his (or Trump’s) control. But most of all, don’t panic, stay the course, and recognize that we cannot rest until the last vote is cast, counted, and defended in court…”

We all know that polls have flaws–a lesson we learned the hard way in 2016. Is there another approach to determining who’ll win?

You may have seen or heard about a video of historian Allan Lichtman explaining how he garnered the sterling record of successfully calling every Presidential winner–including Trump–since 1984. He even predicted Trump’s impeachment.

Lichtman’s prognostications are unaffected by polls. He maintains that voters vote pragmatically according to how the party in the White House has been governing. His methodology, based on years of research, focuses on “13 Keys to the White House”: answers of “true” mean the party in the White House will remain; answers of “false” mean a change. Among the keys are incumbency, primary challenges, economic indicators, and foreign successes.

If you’d like to see the video and learn all the facets of Lichtman’s decision-making, here’s a link.

On the basis of the 13 keys, Lichtman predicts Trump will lose the election. But, he says, “Don’t just take my word for it,” and he points to unknowable factors that he says keep him up at night, such as voter suppression and Russian intervention. Get out there and vote, he exhorts us.

We need the closest thing possible to a landslide to prevent Trump from crying fraud and trying to discredit the legitimacy of the election. Every vote–in red states and blue states–is critically important in this effort.

Lichtman concludes by quoting President Lincoln:

“The best way to predict the future is to choose it.”

Annie

25 thoughts on “The Presidential Polls Will Soon Be Tightening (Gasp!)

  1. I agree that the polls will tighten — especially if the pandemic somehow abates significantly between now and election day despite Trump’s criminal mismanagement (or should i say NON-management) since the onset of the crisis.

    P.S. Love the Lincoln quote.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I just hope there’s an enormous turnout everywhere. People can’t be put off if they don’t like Biden’s VP pick, for example. No sitting on the sidelines this time around!
      And with Lichtman’s record, the polls are irrelevant anyway.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I love the Lincoln quote too. It’s maddening that Trump is one of his successors. Here’s hoping, fervently, that by acting together we can make Trump a one-termer.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. The polls pretty much always tighten as the election approaches. This may even be a good thing, if it erodes any complacency developing on our side and motivates people to get out and vote.

    It figures the Republicans/Russians would try to come up with a spoiler third candidate. If Kanye West is the best they can get, I’m not too worried.

    I don’t consider Trump a successor of Lincoln at all. They’re both technically Republicans, but the party has sunk so low and changed so much that that’s meaningless. Let’s just say Lincoln’s supporters didn’t wave Confederate flags.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I just wrote a very similar response about Lincoln—only yours was more colorful.
      Lichtman dismisses polls entirely, saying—essentially—that their value is inflated by lazy reporters who want their stories written when they get up in the morning, as well as the media bigwigs whose finances depend on the excitement.
      But you have a good point about their value in combating complacency.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. We love you dearly, but just don’t want you visiting right now during the pandemic! Plus, we have our own problems here, with Trudeau caught up in his third ethics scandal. I fear it’s going to be a stressful 3 months before the election, and can’t help thinking back to 4 years ago. I hope the people who were willing to give Trump a chance, have wised up. The whole Kayne West thing is disturbing….

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Well, that’s nice to hear, my kindly Canadian friend. I won’t hold it against you: most of the world has sent us Americans to our rooms! You talk about ethics scandals! Just when we think trump’s hit rock bottom, he manages a worse surprise.
        I’m more concerned about the Post Office than I am about Kanye West.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. No……I’ve only ever seen mail-in ballots or online voting for city municipal or county local elections, usually because the turnout is so poor they are trying to make it easier to vote. We don’t have mail in voting for Federal or provincial, but that may change in the future. We have special advanced polling dates if you can’t vote on voting day or for seniors homes, and there are always volunteers to help arrange a ride if you don’t drive.

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  4. Agree with you. Polls narrowing as we get towards game time is as old as time. What is important, as you say, is to ensure that this narrowing is not framed as a ‘win’ for Trump. If anything, I’m hoping it will drive up progressive turn out on the day.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Of course that’s my hope too. I’m most worried about the Post Office, which is under trump’s control. Trying to figure out a way to get states/counties to install secure lock boxes for people to drop of mail-in ballots.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. 40-45% of the people automatically vote GOP or Dem, without having a clue as to what they are voting for. They are voting for the political party of the past. I return to the John Prine song, Grandpa Was a Carpenter. “He voted for Eisenhower…cuz Lincoln won the war.” Don’t underestimate the power of intellectual laziness…..

    Liked by 1 person

    1. But there are lots and lots of grass roots organizations in the field now. And women are really fired up. Plus, I saw interviews with young Black and Latino organizers who praised Biden’s positions and said they will encourage young voters.
      So I am less worried about intellectual laziness than about voter suppression and PO interference.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Annie I truly appreciate these well researched and thoughtful postings.

    I really do not care by how much or legal means Trump loses his presidency. No matter, he will cry foul. His supporters have made their choses on his merit to their cause. They need nothing else. Not facts nor additional fiction. He is their messiah in their pursuit of cleaning our country of both undesirable people and policies in their way to an uneven field of opportunity for all. 
     
    Trump is now a known factor. 4 years ago, disciplined voters that lean republican, but not so much conservative, may have thought, he would grow into the job. They felt similar to George W in his 2000 run. Their assessment then was wrong and in 2016 the Hilary Clinton name bent them away towards Trump. We all seem to live in fear of the others whomever they may be. Others from other places, desires, opinions.

    Unfortunately, I say this some but continued waning respect to their teaching and cause, the evangelical community has shown itself to be almost as hollowed out of moral obligation as the whole of the republican party.

    There was once a time in this land when a president may not have carried his national and local party to victory and the more involved and concerned electorate split their votes thus casting a more democratic response to the cause of our republic. This is not then and our todays dawn with new divisions, bindings and directions. Once upon a time, the ballot issues that may have divided the individual voter were local and breadbasket. Then into what seemed a steady march towards America and its promised dream, entered race issues, gender inequality, a war few agreed on and many protested against and of course, the litmus test, abortion. Enter a more concerned public with the evangelical community leading a way and away from what was their moral obligation that seemed to be clearer when times were less strident to their ears and cause.

    I have many friends that differ on politics. It is not easy to be with them in these times. Their opinion is as equal as mine. I see theirs as long road to what is not our mutually intended future.

    The supporters of Trump are as scary as those that fought against integration in the 50-60’s. When I hear my friends speak and I try to not raise the politics of issues in our times together, I hear their words, though less virulent than the worst of them that the media projects, but not less meaningful to their purpose.

    As I was composing this piece, in the NY Times today, the headline story, “Christianity Will Have Power”. I did not want and did not read it as I did not want my thoughts to be influenced or interrupted by another though I came to find, better researched and more inclusive or facts than mine that are carefully crafted opinion.

    Trump will get 60,000,000 votes. The electorate is between 125-130+ million voters. We are divided by the smallest of margins a shown in the 2016 electoral count. A mere 190,000 votes cast made to difference in 4 states. A mere 44,000 votes made the difference in 3 states and the results. They all went to Trump. Millions of voters did not choose wisely. They chose poorly. They chose fear of _______, I guess others can name it, I have my own thoughts.

    I have said to myself and others of like mind, Trump won 30 states. He will now lose some of those as many incumbents do. Barack lost 2 and part of Nebraska in 2012. He still won. I know he was a lightening rod for different reasons than Trump. However, ‘ones lightening rod is another guiding light’. I cannot let my thoughts guaranty results.

    I have never donated $ to any political campaign. This year is different. I have sent the Biden and Democratic fund raisers donations. I use to think and partly know that $$$ did not determine national races. There was always plenty of cash declared or under the table. Parties paid off the debts and the 4 year cycle started over. However, since the Supreme Courts declaration that corporations are people and dirty money has flowed into the campaigns, I need to be more involved in the out come. Of course, any amounts of $ I send is appetence to that what shall be gathered.

    I did see the video and article by and on Allan Lichtman. I listened intently and read the article. Once it was over and I was discussing it with my cousin we felt elevated in our tempered assurance that he got it right. However, so many howevers, I did say that Allan Lichtmans assessment reminded of, now a baseball analogy. It’s the bottom of the 9th, 2 out, man on second, the count is no balls and 2 strikes, and a miracle bunt scores the man from second and Biden crosses the plate.

    I am sure Trump is going to lose. I am sure he will protest. I am certain the country will remain severely and maybe irreparably divided for 4 more years and I am sure I need to stop living in my head.

    PS. I just read the NY Times piece, “Christianity Will Have Power”

    So I guess I was right. Following is the excerpt from NY Times article.

    Trump said to his Evangelical audience in his now famous statement ‘the promise that he’ “could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody” and “wouldn’t lose any voters”. He followed that with this,

    “I will tell you, Christianity is under tremendous siege, whether we want to talk about it or we don’t want to talk about it,” Mr. Trump said.

    Christians make up the overwhelming majority of the country, he said. And then he slowed slightly to stress each next word: “And yet we don’t exert the power that we should have.”

    If he were elected president, he promised, that would change. He raised a finger.

    “Christianity will have power,” he said. “If I’m there, you’re going to have plenty of power, you don’t need anybody else. You’re going to have somebody representing you very, very well. Remember that.”

    PPS. So I guess I am correct. He is their new Messiah or do I still need to stop living in my head?.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Hi, Charles. Good to hear from you.

    Although it’s true that Evangelicals are still mostly for trump, they are not a monolith, and there are many Evangelicals among people of color who oppose him. In addition, the Republican Party per se is losing support—as attested to by the Never Trumpers.

    It’s unfortunate that you and your friends with differing politics can’t actually exchange views rather than avoid the topic. I know how hard such exchanges would be, but wouldn’t it be a nice surprise if some daylight were to emerge?

    If the election were held without trump’s interventions, I have every confidence he would lose badly. But this PO takeover is serious stuff.

    And I think the size of the vote is important: the greater Biden’s margin of victory, the less likely it will be that trump will try a battle royale to hang on.

    Like

    1. I agree that the Evangelical wall has fractures. I do not see Joe Biden losing and hopefully the Senate will be going Dems. In the interest of having long and faithful friendships, I vie away from politics or step gingerly knowing we can come to agreements. I am not here to change anothers opinion as I am set on how I feel and do not accept the more stead fast opposing opinions. We are individuals and I am not here to convince someone otherwise to their ideas unless I need to defend turf. They are good people as I hope they see me in a similar light. Those that I have agreeable opinions and political leanings I openly discuss same. Life is short and getting that way too quickly. I will select my discussions with those I feel closest and keep them friends and not political opponents.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I certainly understand your position. I was indulging in a little wishful thinking—in part motivated by my own wish that we could somehow all be more cognizant of the important things we have in common instead of focusing on our differences, thereby resulting in the dreadful polarity we are currently experiencing.

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