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(96,641 posts)
Thu Jun 13, 2024, 07:48 AM Jun 13

Electoral College Rating Changes: Half-Dozen Moves Toward Republicans in What Remains a Toss-up Race

UVA Center for Politics

An updated look at the Electoral College

Today we’re making a half-dozen changes to our Electoral College ratings, all of them benefiting the Republicans. These moves don’t significantly change our overall outlook, which is that we don’t really see a clear favorite in the presidential race, but they do better align our ratings with that overall outlook.

Map 1 shows the updated ratings, which now show 251 electoral votes at least leaning toward the Republicans and 241 at least leaning toward the Democrats. Four states are Toss-ups: Arizona and Nevada in the west and Pennsylvania and Wisconsin in the Industrial North.

Before we specifically describe the changes, let’s lay out a few big picture assumptions and observations that undergird our analysis:

— The 2016 and the 2020 results act as something of a Rosetta Stone for deciphering 2024. That does not mean there won’t be shifts from those elections—of course there will be. But when confronted with polling results that differ wildly from what we saw in both of those elections—like, for instance, polls showing a tied race in our home state of Virginia after Joe Biden won it by 10 points in 2020, while polls in other places do not consistently show such a strong shift against the president—we tend to defer to the actual past results. There doesn’t have to be, and likely won’t be, a perfectly “uniform” swing from 2020’s results to 2024. But we do think some basic patterns will endure—Virginia voting more Democratic than the nation is one of them.

— Relatedly, it’s still too early to be using polls to make dramatic claims about how states will vote. Polls are often described as a “snapshot in time,” and while they tend to be used as a prospective measure (projecting forward to the election), they actually are retrospective instruments, as they measure attitudes that existed whenever the polls were fielded. To be clear, most of the voting public is immovable, but the key voters that will decide the election are movable, and they may shift in and out of voting for one of the major party nominees, a third party option, or skipping the vote altogether. So there’s some volatility here. Our general assumption is that Biden is going to perform at least a little better in November than polls are showing now, much like Donald Trump generally performed better in November of both of his election years than what late spring polling suggested. Biden probably has a little bit more base consolidation to do than Trump—we may actually be seeing some of that in the wake of Trump’s conviction on business record falsification charges in New York a couple of weeks ago. To be clear, that doesn’t make Biden a favorite in our eyes—again, we just don’t see a favorite.

— All that said, we also recognize the clear big-picture trends. Trump has been polling better than he typically polled in both 2016 and 2020, and that has been the case for many months. Biden’s approval rating is in a dangerous zone—the high 30s—and he has been in that weak place consistently since November, according to the FiveThirtyEight average. Biden is not going to be at net-positive approval by Election Day—fortunately for him, he does not need to be, but one would probably expect to see some level of improvement if he is going to win reelection. The danger for Biden is that voters may just be done with him: There is some nostalgia in polls for the pre-2020, pre-Covid, and pre-inflation period that coincided with Trump’s presidency. That doesn’t necessarily mean the public is clamoring for Trump, who remains unpopular; it’s just that they may prefer him to Biden, or may just be thinking more about what they don’t like about Biden (the incumbent) than Trump (the challenger). One thing that Biden has going for him is that Trump does not seem to have trimmed the sails on his own rhetoric at all—Trump continues to laud the Jan. 6, 2021 rioters who tried to disrupt the 2020 electoral vote count as persecuted patriots, for instance, a position we just can’t imagine helps him with the middle of the electorate trying to decide between two flawed major party candidates.

No "corporate media". Not "rigged polls". Just hard political analysis.

Its going to be close race, just like the Biden campaign has said for months. MI, PA and WI are going to be the key.

6 replies = new reply since forum marked as read
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Electoral College Rating Changes: Half-Dozen Moves Toward Republicans in What Remains a Toss-up Race (Original Post) brooklynite Jun 13 OP
Making plans for living in post-America bucolic_frolic Jun 13 #1
I'm most worried about my retirement accounts. Lonestarblue Jun 13 #3
First, things will be okay for at least a year kansasobama Jun 13 #4
Accelerationists may get their wish. n/t OneGrassRoot Jun 13 #2
Actually a little encouraging FBaggins Jun 13 #5
Nothing too surprising or worrisome here Fiendish Thingy Jun 13 #6


(10,734 posts)
3. I'm most worried about my retirement accounts.
Thu Jun 13, 2024, 08:37 AM
Jun 13

I rolled over my 401k funds into mostly index funds, and if Trump tanks the economy and the stock market, I could be in a world of hurt. Social Security already is not enough to live on, and Republicans desperately want to slash that for their next tax cut for corporations and the wealthy.

If Trump follows through and deports all undocumented workers, the economy will tank. They’ll be easy to find. All ICE has to do is go where food is being grown and processed as well as construction sires.

I’m sure others here who are retired have the same concerns because we usually can’t go out and get jobs easily. I would be interested in hearing what others here are thinking about to protect their incomes should Trump win.


(763 posts)
4. First, things will be okay for at least a year
Thu Jun 13, 2024, 08:45 AM
Jun 13

Nothing will change at least for a year. As we find that we are losing democracy, we may have a bigger problem than our portfolio (I am also retired). If you are well to do, you may first invest in funds supporting GOP agenda as you prefer for a doomsday scenario. Now, yes, it is easier said than done. I have told my children to stay in West coast or Northeast and see what happens.


(27,297 posts)
5. Actually a little encouraging
Thu Jun 13, 2024, 08:51 AM
Jun 13

I don’t think that I’ve seen a single poll this year for one of those four tossup states that didn’t have us trailing (sometimes moderately). The face that expert analysts see those four as winnable is oddly comforting

Fiendish Thingy

(16,586 posts)
6. Nothing too surprising or worrisome here
Thu Jun 13, 2024, 08:54 AM
Jun 13

It was always going to come down to those yellow states.

By Labor Day, I think PA and WI could be Lean Dem, and with NE-2, that’s 270. I think NV and AZ will be close, down to the wire, and NC could surprise.

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