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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Political Strategy Notes

At CNN Politics, Adam Levy, Ethan Cohen and Liz Stark report that “Republicans are narrowing the early voting gap in these states,” and write: “In the last week, voters under 30 have slightly increased their share of Florida’s early voting electorate, from 8% to 10%. Other age groups have also seen small increases, further diminishing the dominance of Florida’s senior voters 65 or older, who made up 45% of early voters a week ago, but now make up only 39%….Florida’s early voting electorate is slightly more diverse than at this time four years ago. Hispanic voters’ share of the pre-Election Day vote has increased from 14% four years ago to 16% now, and Black voters’ share has ticked slightly up from 12% then to 13% now. The vote from White voters is down three points from this point in 2016….Republicans are narrowing the gap in pre-election ballots cast. Democrats currently lead by four points. A week ago, it was nine points. Party advantage is not predictive of outcome — but nationwide polling shows many Republicans also prefer voting in person on Election Day rather than early.” In North Carolina, “Trump won the Tar Heel State by more than three percentage points in 2016….Young people are continuing to vote in large numbers in North Carolina. Last week, voters under 30 made up about 11% of early voters but that’s now ticked up slightly to over 12%….Democrats have lost some of their lead in the pre-election vote. Last week, they had a 12-point advantage over Republicans in ballots cast. Currently, it stands at eight points….By race, White voters account for the majority of ballots already cast in North Carolina at 72%, followed by Black voters with the second largest share of those ballots at 22%. This remains nearly identical to the racial composition of the early voting electorate four years ago.”

The Guardian’s Tom McCarthy makes a case that fears that the Supreme Court will steal the election are not well-grounded: “For all its flaws and added complications this year from the coronavirus pandemic, the US elections system has basic features to ensure a high correlation between the vote that is cast and the result that is announced….It is highly decentralized, with thousands of jurisdictions staffed by members of each major party, all using different technologies and independently reporting results, which can be reviewed or recounted, with both sides and the media watching out for irregularities before, during and after election day. It might take awhile, and the tragic story of disenfranchisement in the United States continues, but elections officials have vowed to deliver an accurate count.” This is not to deny the effects of voter suppression, which are glaringly evident in the unnecessary long lines and closed polls in predominantly African-American communities in many states. That’s where the election is more likely to be stolen than in a Supreme Court ruling.

Nonetheless, court rulings can have an effect, as MSNBC’s Steve Benen notes, “Politico had a related report today, adding, “Never before in modern presidential politics has a candidate been so reliant on wide-scale efforts to depress the vote as Trump. “In Philadelphia, his campaign is videotaping voters as they return ballots. In Nevada, it’s suing to force elections officials in Nevada’s Democratic-heavy Clark County to more rigorously examine ballot signatures for discrepancies that could disqualify them. The Trump campaign has sued to prevent the expanded use of ballot drop boxes in Ohio, sought to shoot down an attempt to expand absentee ballot access in New Hampshire and tried to intervene against a lawsuit brought by members of the Navajo Nation in Arizona which sought to allow ballots received from reservations after Election Day because of mail delays. And that’s just a few of its efforts….The Washington Post‘s Dana Milbank added in his new column, “This election isn’t just to choose a president and a Congress. It’s a referendum on the right to vote itself. The once-proud Republican Party has determined, correctly, that its only way to prevail in this election is to keep people from voting.”

David Wasserman argues that “Yes, the Polls Could Be Wrong. but That Could Help Biden, Not Just Trump” at The Cook Political Report: “Fundamentally, the current polling in the 2020 race is different from 2016 in three important ways….First, Biden’s lead is larger and much more stable than Clinton’s was at this point. Second, there are far fewer undecided and third-party voters left to woo — reducing the chances of a late break toward one side….Third, the scores of district and state-level polls conducted by the parties to make spending decisions in down-ballot races generally align with national polls showing Trump running behind his 2016 pace, including in key states. In 2016, these same polls had shown flashing red warning signs for Hillary Clinton, particularly in districts with lots of white working-class voters….But in light of recent evidence, it wouldn’t be all that surprising if Biden defies polls by winning a higher share of the vote in Arizona than Wisconsin — or breaks through in Texas more than he does in Ohio.”

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