Political Horse Race: Whack-a-Mole Polling in Election 2020

Please respect our republishing guidelines - Click Here The Candidates’ Market Report The much-touted figure that comes out of the sheer mass of electoral polling is the “average of polls.” This number, presently +7.5% in favor of Joe Biden, is heard on airwaves across the nation with the added note that “this is a higher average lead than Hillary Clinton had in 2016.” By using the addendum, it appears that media pundits are trying to paint a picture of success for the challenger. But there is more to this than meets the eye. If one follows all the polls and dissects the numbers, what you find is that each time a poll comes in that shows a reduced lead for Biden, almost immediately, another poll comes out that has him with a stupendous (and frankly unrealistic) lead. For example, when Rasmussen released a poll giving Biden just a 2% advantage (2,500 likely voters with a 2% margin of error), another outfit quickly released a poll showing Biden with a 12% lead; however, this included only 823 likely voters with a 3.9% margin of error. Clearly, some polls are more equal than others. This is a pattern we see often replicated. It’s almost as if certain polling outfits are trying to maintain the “average of polls” lead by presenting unworthy data (larger margins of error, small sample sizes). As Christopher Hitchens wrote: “Opinion polling was born out of a struggle not to discover the public mind but to master it.” This Week’s Major Players Approval Ratings: Donald Trump – 51% ( + 3% ) Congress – 17% ( – 1% ) Senate Map: When it comes to presidential elections, the shape of the next Senate is often overlooked. Here’s a round-up of what the polls are saying right now: Republicans: 46 Democrats (including Independents who caucus with Dems): 46 Toss Up: 8 The states that are a toss-up include Georgia, Iowa, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, North Carolina, and South Carolina. Of these, the latest polling indicates that each party will win four states. What the Gamblers Say As with most things, if you follow the money, you can’t go too far wrong. This is a selection of the odds for key races and events. Swing State Odds Certain states hold the keys to power in 2020. These are the states that are most likely in play and what the betting odds suggest. Florida Democrats – 10/11 Republicans – 10/11 Texas Republicans – 1/4 Democrats – 5/2 Arizona Democrats – 8/13 Republicans – 6/5 Colorado Democrats – 1/8 Republicans – 9/2 Georgia Republicans – 4/11 Democrats – 15/8 Iowa Republicans – 4/11 Democrats – 15/8 Maine Democrats – 2/9 Republicans – 11/4 Michigan Democrats – 3/10 Republicans – 11/5 North Carolina Republicans – 4/5 Democrats – 10/11 Ohio Republicans – 8/15 Democrats – 11/8 Pennsylvania Democrats – 8/15 Republicans – 11/8 Presidential Election: Joe Biden – 4/5 Donald Trump – 11/10 Kamala Harris – 66/1 Hillary Clinton – 150/1 Mike Pence – 175/1 Michelle Obama – 250/1 Kanye West – 500/1 Bernie Sanders – no odds under 500/1 The Electoral College betting is a major center for action right now. With Biden officially having the Democrat nomination, cash bettors have started placing wagers on his EC success. While almost all polling shows that Biden will win the popular vote (because that is what polling counts), the votes from individual states are what decide the presidency … and here, it is a closely run race. Both Trump and Biden are at 5/1 to win the minimum number of EC votes (270). They are also just as likely as each other to win between 300 and 329 votes. It is not until the 330 to 359 vote range that Biden makes any gains, showing 5/1 against Donald Trump on 6/1. Is it likely that polling is impacting the betting markets? Donald Trump and the Electoral College: Number of Electoral College votes awarded to Trump: 270 – 299 = 5/1 300 – 329 = 5/1 180 – 209 = 11/2 210 – 239 = 11/2 330 – 359 = 6/1 Make sure to check back next week for all the numbers that count. ~ Read more from Mark Angelides.

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