I don’t know how many are familiar with Rachel Bitecofer of Christopher Newport University and her forecasting models. I did feature them in some posts in the runup to the 2018 election. To Bitecofer’s credit, her model, which is based on the predictive value of negative partisanship in the current environment, did perform very well indeed in 2018, predicting both the number and location of the seats flipped very accurately.
Well, she’s out early with a prediction for the 2020 general election and it’s worth checking out. Of course, any one model should be treated with caution, no matter how accurate it has recently been. And I have some questions about her analysis, which comes perilously close to saying it doesn’t really matter whom the Democrats nominate. But here’s her bottom line:
“Barring a shock to the system, Democrats recapture the presidency. The leaking of the Trump campaign’s internal polling has somewhat softened the blow of this forecast, as that polling reaffirms what my model already knew: Trump’s 2016 path to the White House, which was the political equivalent of getting dealt a Royal Flush in poker, is probably not replicable in 2020 with an agitated Democratic electorate. And that is really bad news for Donald Trump because the Blue Wall of the Midwest was then, and is now, the ONLY viable path for Trump to win the White House.”
In terms of the map, her model predicts that the Rustbelt three of MI, PA and WI will all move back to the Democrats. AZ, FL, IA and NC are seen as toss-ups. All states Democrats took in 2016 remain Democratic.
Could be. These new data from Morning Consult certainly suggest the model predictions are plausible.