A presidential race that began roughly a lifetime ago is reaching its climax. And today, with Labor Day behind us and the campaign accelerating, we’re launching OZY’s exclusive forecast to guide you to Election Day. As of now, we show a blue wave fast approaching with a Democratic takeover of Washington likely. But there’s plenty of uncertainty ahead. Read on as we dive into the numbers, break down what’s happening on the campaign trail and dish out the latest news on Your Excellency, Donald Trump.
— Daniel Malloy, Senior Editor & Nick Fouriezos, Senior Reporter
Our exclusive prediction model, in partnership with data firm 0ptimus, gives Joe Biden an 81 percent chance of winning the presidency. As of this moment, we peg him with 308 electoral votes — nearly a mirror image result from Trump’s 2016 triumph. That means Biden is ahead in the pivotal Rust Belt trio of Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin — the three states Dems need to reclaim in order to win — as well as Arizona and always crucial Florida.
Dedicated OZY readers — love y’all — will remember how we have partnered for years with 0ptimus to deliver best-in-class predictions. A Republican firm that once worked for Marco Rubio’s presidential bid, 0ptimus develops unbiased prediction models to give its political and business clients the best available info. In 2018, our final forecast was one House seat and one Senate seat off from nailing the ultimate result. In January, our model predicted Biden would win the Democratic nomination, which ultimately came to pass, though after some wild swings following the first couple of states. The model crunches a dataset of 200-plus features from polls and economic conditions to candidate traits and campaign finance reports. The 0ptimus team then runs millions of simulations to come up with the range of possible outcomes for the Electoral College and both chambers of Congress.
It’s important not to take this as a slam dunk for Biden. If Biden has a 75 percent chance of victory, that means Trump’s odds of triumph are the equivalent of flipping a coin twice and having it come up heads both times. The model anticipates higher turnout this year, but modeling turnout during a pandemic is incredibly difficult — and we don’t know what the virus will look like in swing states by November. We’re also unable to predict how many mail-in ballots will be rejected — the numbers were staggeringly high during primary season with a slew of new mail voters — and what a series of messy recounts and lawsuits will look like in the weeks after the election. Not to mention any street theater, additional presidential shenanigans and the whims of Chief Justice John Roberts. That’s all beyond the purview of the Transformers-themed supercomputers used here.
4. States to Watch
The toss-up states in our model are Arizona (44.5% chance of Trump victory), Florida (42.7%), North Carolina (50.9%) and Ohio (56.1%). The president needs to sweep all of them — and then pick up at least one Lean-Democrat state in the Upper Midwest to pull off the win. Everyone’s focused on Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania, but keep an eye on Minnesota, a state Hillary Clinton won but one that’s been trending red. The Republican National Convention featured a Democratic mayor from the Iron Range in Minnesota endorsing Trump, lauding his work on behalf of the mining industry. Our model now gives Trump a 28 percent chance of victory there, roughly the same as Wisconsin (27.4%), Michigan (30.1%) and Pennsylvania (30.7%).
We’ve searched long and far for the perfect piece of clothing, and we’ve found it: Outerknown’s effortlessly stylish jumpsuit will be your one-stop outfit for all occasions, year-round. Practical, durable and trendy, this jumpsuit can be dressed up or down so you’ll never have that “there’s nothing in my closet” feeling again. Best of all, our friends at Outerknown are offering OZY readers 20% off with the code OZY20—check it out now!
Somewhere, Chuck Schumer is smiling. Our model gives Democrats a 76 percent chance of winning an outright Senate majority this fall. There’s also a 13 percent chance of a 50-50 Senate — which would hand effective control to the Democrats if Biden also wins and Vice President Kamala Harris is there to break ties. This would be hugely consequential for everything from Supreme Court nominations to Biden’s promised coronavirus relief bill. If Mitch McConnell still runs the upper chamber, a President Biden is not getting anything done. (We’ll leave the filibuster debate for another day.)
The GOP starts with a 53-47 advantage. Off the bat,Democrats are set to lose one incumbent (Alabama’s Doug Jones, with a 17 percent chance of victory), while Republicans look like they’ll lose two (Colorado’s Cory Gardner at 18 percent and Arizona’s Martha McSally at 20 percent). Maine Republican Susan Collins (36.9%) has a strong moderate brand but is in a blue state. A win in North Carolina — where Democrat Cal Cunningham has a 65.1 percent shot at victory — gets the Dems to 50. Then come a pair of toss-ups on GOP turf: Iowa, where Joni Ernst (pictured) has a 49 percent chance to hang on, and Georgia, where the GOP has a 59 percent chance to hold the seat after a jungle primary and January runoff.
3. Diverging From the Top of Ticket
While Collins is substantially outperforming Trump in Maine, one intriguing factor across the Senate map is the weakness of first-term Republican incumbents. The polls, fundraising and candidate traits crunched by our model end up showing Trump between 14 and 24 percentage points more likely than the sitting GOP senators to win North Carolina, Iowa and Arizona (though it’s worth noting that McSally was appointed to this seat after losing a different Senate election in 2018).
4. GOP Surprises?
Democratic Sens. Tina Smith (Minnesota) and Gary Peters (Michigan) are also in their first terms repping swing states, and the GOP has its eyes on springing some upsets there if Trump can regain his Upper Midwest footing. Michigan GOP hopeful John James, a Black Republican rising star, is a particularly compelling candidate. But both Democrats still hold north of an 80 percent chance of victory in our model.
5. Last Frontier Watch
If you’re looking for an election night wild card, peer all the way out to Alaska, where commercial fisherman and doctor Al Gross is mounting a surprising challenge to GOP Sen. Dan Sullivan. Gross, featured in a kick-ass campaign video, is running as an Independent but with the backing of national Democrats in a largely forgotten race. Our model puts his chances at 36.5 percent in a Lean-Republican race — better odds than for Democrats in Senate races that have gotten a lot more attention in Montana, Texas, South Carolina and Kentucky.
6. What About the House?
It’s staying blue. Our model right now gives Democrats a 98 percent chance of holding the chamber so they will be able to either pass a Biden agenda or impeach Trump again. Highlighting the uphill battle Republicans face, 16 of the 25 races currently rated as toss-ups voted Republican in 2018 — meaning they’re fighting on their own turf rather than breaking into Democrats’ advantage built on their suburban sweep of 2018. Our projection at the moment is 235 seats for Democrats, which would essentially match their 2018 win total.
Imagine a new era in which all people have equal access to the future. This is why we’re bringing you ASU+GSV Virtual Summit 2020 – free of charge. The summit will provide deep industry insights into the digital learning space, interactive networking opportunities and a star-studded group of speakers including Malcom Gladwell, Gloria Steinem, Bill Nye, General Colin Powell and many more.
When the always erudite Pete Buttigieg reportedly was tapped to join Biden’s transition team this week, it was a sign of his political staying power. The 38-year-old surprise star of the Democratic presidential primary joined The Carlos Watson Show toopen up about the most meaningful moments from his bid as the first major gay candidate for president, as well as the family he’s starting with husband Chasten.
The highest court in the land is often viewed somewhat through a partisan lens, with justices inevitably tied to the party of the president who nominated them. But Trump took that to another level on Wednesday, when he added three sitting Republican senators — Ted Cruz, Tom Cotton and Josh Hawley — to his list of potential future nominees, despite none of them having any judicial experience. While a case could be made for Cruz and Hawley, who served as state solicitor general and attorney general, respectively, the Cotton nod was particularly notable given that the Harvard Law grad has little experience actually practicing law. The prospect was jarring to Democrats, considering that one of the threecould possibly replace liberal icon and 87-year-old cancer survivor Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Perhaps Trump is simply looking further ahead at clearing the 2024 field for Don Jr.
At 34, Emilia Sykes is already the state House minority leader in Ohio, and this political legacy (both her parents served in the state House) is helping engineer a Democratic comeback in this surprising swing state and putting herself on the path to potential statewide office. She’s shown an ability to wrangle compromises with Republicans to pass bills, but also sharp political elbows in capitalizing on a corruption scandal that has thrown the Ohio GOP into disarray.
People compare the current unrest following the killing of George Floyd to the civil rights movement and the summer of 1968, but The Atlantic’s Adam Serwer makesa compelling case that we are living in a time closer to that of 1868 — when a collective racial awakening arose in response to a racist demagogue having assumed the presidency, and stunning “white northerners into writing the equality of man into the Constitution.”
protect your laptop in style
This snug, lightweight laptop sleeve contains an internal padded zipper and is fully lined with faux fur. What’s more, it’s made from a material that’s resistant to water, oil and heat, making sure your laptop sleeve looks as sharp as you any day of the week! Available only at the OZY Store.
We find ourselves smack in the middle of a Bob Woodward news cycle — and this one could be longer than most. The juicy bits of the famed journalist’s new book, Rage, are out, including Trump telling Woodward in early February that he knew how dangerous the coronavirus was, but “I still like playing it down, because I don’t want to create a panic.” After not speaking to Woodward for his last book, Trump granted 18 — yes, 18 — interviews, and Woodward kept the tapes, which will give the quotes more life on broadcast, and churn yet more reaction stories from the campaign trail.
Democrats arefinally sounding the alarm on Biden’s flagging Hispanic support, as he is losing inroads with Cuban Americans that Hillary Clinton had made in 2016 — Trumpis now winning Hispanic voters in Florida’s Miami-Dade County despite having lost them by 30 percentage points four years ago. We forecast this in July, talking to a former Biden senior adviser who said the campaign needs to earn about 65 percent of the Latino vote nationally to feel comfortable (right now, polls show Biden around 60 percent). “What we've seen on the ground is a monumental shift,” says Rey Anthony Lastre, co-chair of the Cuban American Republicans of Florida — one he attributes to the Black Lives Matter movement and Democratic leaders like Bernie Sanders and AOC being successfully tied to socialism, a non-starter for most Cuban voters. Biden barely leads Florida polls, despite leaking Latino voters, in part because he’s swiped some of Trump’s older white voter base … but that lead could disappear quickly.
Once a catchy slogan known mostly for blocking Capitol Hill hallways and seizing Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office, the climate-change-focused Sunrise Movement has scored a couple of big primary wins — powering rising stars Cori Bush in Missouri and Jamaal Bowman in New York to knock off longtime incumbents, and helping Sen. Ed Markey fend off Rep. Joe Kennedy III in Massachusetts. However, asThe Intercept reports, that quick ascent has involved some growing pains as a movement spawned by teenagers and activists in their early 20s now runs up into the messy innards of electoral politics, as evidenced in the failed Democrartic primary challenge of Alex Morse against Rep. Richard Neal.
4. How to Vote by Mail
Mail ballots are already being sent out in North Carolina. Later this month, Michigan, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, Texas and others will join, as most states now allow anyone who requests a ballot to vote absentee. With record participation, we fully expect this to get messy. For newbies, here’s a good primer on how to make sure your ballot is not rejected: Follow the instructions (fill in the oval, for example, don’t check the box), sign the outside of the envelope (but with your actual driver’s license signature, not just a scribble). And, most importantly, get it in early: Many states won’t count ballots if they don’t arrive by Election Day, and you’ve read by now about Postal Service delays.
Correction: Yesterday’s Daily Dose reported that NFL games would proceed without fans. In fact, a few teams are hosting limited fans, including the Kansas City Chiefs in tonight’s opener.