Thursday, October 15, 2020

Horse Race Junk: Wave Multipliers

Image from Hotel News Resource. Fight me.

Trying to count the different kinds of waves. There's this geographical one signaled by southerner Ed Kilgore as "Jimmy Carter's revenge", where a multiracial progressive Democratic coalition is making really shocking inroads from Virginia and North Carolina through Florida to Georgia, and now extraordinarily looking powerful in Texas and South Carolina of all places:

Like Georgia, Texas is a state where Democrats made startling urban and suburban gains in 2018 and seem to be approaching a demographic tipping point. They flipped two House seats despite a heavily gerrymandered district map and improved their vote share almost everywhere, while Senate candidate Beto O’Rourke broke fundraising records and threw a serious scare into Ted Cruz. And that midterm election built on the gains of 2016, when Hillary Clinton reduced Barack Obama’s 15-point margin of defeat in 2012 to less than nine points.

Even in South Carolina, where the South’s conservative Republican revolution really began when the segregationist senator Strom Thurmond joined the GOP in 1964, the same coalition of Black and upscale white suburban voters is beginning to make serious inroads into Republican rule. This year, Democrat Jaime Harrison, one of the most prodigious fundraisers in U.S. political history, is running even in the polls with veteran Republican senator Lindsey Graham. No Democrat has won a Senate or gubernatorial race in the Palmetto State since 1998.

And the astonishing turn of older voters toward Biden in the wake of Trump's crazy mishandling of a murderous plague bringing Florida and Arizona within reach:

A CNN poll released last week showed Biden with a 21-point lead among voters aged 65 years or older, while a separate Wall Street Journal-NBC News poll showed Biden with a 27-point lead among the group.

Separate polls also show Biden closing the gap with Trump among seniors in Florida and Arizona, two swing states that could decide the election in November.

And the topographical changes Martin is seeing in the rural vote

Even though Trump’s Pennsylvania voters are incredibly committed to their candidate, there are still a lot of Trump defectors.

Monmouth poll of registered voters in Pennsylvania last week showed that Mr. Trump’s lead among white voters without a college degree had fallen from 22 points in early September to just nine points this month, suggesting that Mr. Biden was cutting into a demographic that is crucial to the president’s hopes of winning re-election. Multiple recent polls have found Mr. Trump’s standing with those voters down compared with his 2016 result in Pennsylvania.

It turns out that the so-called deplorables weren’t complete irredeemable. And now there are enough Biden supporters popping up in these communities that they can find and lend support to each other. They don’t feel like they need to go underground, and they’re not being dissuaded from voting at all

Iowa, where Biden came in fourth in the Democratic primary, now has Trump and Biden neck and neck, perhaps because awareness is highest there of how carelessly the Trump administration has used farmers in his dumb wars with China and Europe, even as he has worked for fossil fuels against the Iowa farmer's favorite federal welfare program, ethanol requirements, until turning it around last month, as Election Day began approaching for real. It would be nice to think they might be a little offended in Des Moines last night when he praised what he sees as their simple-minded greed:

Trump also touted his administration’s financial relief packages worth billions for farmers who have been hurting because of falling crop prices — partially attributable to trade tensions created by Trump’s trade wars.

Trump recalled farmers telling him in a White House meeting that they do not want more government subsidies, only fair trade opportunities.

“I never heard that,” Trump said. “Most people, they don’t care. Call it subsidies, call it cash, they say ‘Give me the money.’ … The farmers are unbelievable. They’re the heart of this nation.”

That is so Trumpy. He has no idea he's calling them welfare leeches. (Jordan points out in comments that I'm interpreting this wrongly, but as far as I'm concerned he wouldn't be boasting about the subsidies if he really believed they didn't want them.)

And then of course there are women breaking for Democrats, while Trump's edge among men has dwindled to almost nothing

Biden holds a lead of 59 percent to 36 percent among women likely to vote; the two candidates are evenly split, each with 48 percent, among men. Biden’s edge among women climbs to 28 percentage point among suburban women.

That's an awful lot of waves for one election.

I know this doesn't mean Trump won't win, but it's getting harder and harder to see how he does it, and it's getting easier to imagine a real landslide. I keep staring at the bump in the fivethirtyeight simulations graph, where the outcome of 410 or 420 electoral votes looks so much stronger than an outcome of 380 or 390.

If Biden does very well as opposed to just solid, the chart seems to be saying, it won't be merely very well, it will be a tsunami (and the Senate and the state legislatures will reflect that, which is the most important). These waves add up.

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