While most polls say the 2020 presidential election is looking good for Joe Biden, some Democratic operatives are concerned about hidden factors that could produce a Trump victory, reports Politico.
“There are more known unknowns than we’ve ever had at any point,” Tom Bonier, CEO of the Democratic data firm TargetSmart, told Politico. “The instruments we have to gauge this race, the polling, our predictive models … the problem is all those tools are built around quote-unquote normal elections. And this is anything but a normal election.”
During a recent conference call with Democratic Party state chairs, Bonier said that despite the seemingly positive electoral landscape for Biden, even a small variation in turnout projections could impact the outcome.
One big unknown is the impact of voter turnout. While Democrats appear to have the edge in early voting, polls have suggested that Republicans will vote in larger numbers in person on Election Day.
However, according to a report from the Washington Examiner, the GOP “is keeping pace in mail-in and early voting in three key swing states despite polls showing early voting should clearly favor Joe Biden.”
In Michigan as of Wednesday, just over 1 million ballots have been returned, 40% from registered Democrats, with the same from registered Republicans. In Wisconsin, 40% of the 711,855 returned ballots have been from Democrats, while 38% have come from Republicans. The GOP actually leads in Ohio, with 45% of 475,259 early ballot returns coming from Republicans, compared to 43% from registered Democrats. The preliminary data matches up with the requests by party affiliation for mail-in ballots.
The data contradicts national polls showing Biden supporters overwhelmingly plan to vote by mail or early in person. According to a Pew Research poll released Friday, 55% of voters who plan to cast their ballot in person before Election Day support Biden, compared to 40% who support President Trump.
One major red flag for Democrats is Trump’s advantage in new voter registrations. Republicans have been outperforming new voter registrations in key states compared to previous presidential election years. The Biden campaign lost significant ground to the Trump campaign by not doing any door-knocking to register voters because of the pandemic. The sudden decision to reverse course and carry out door-knocking seemed to indicate their growing concern.
Republicans have also closed the gap with Democrats on party affiliation, according to Gallup. In September, 28 percent of voters identified as Republican, while 27 percent identified as Democrat. Four years ago, 32 percent identified as Democrat, while 27 percent identified as Republican. That’s a six-point shift in the Republican Party’s favor during Trump’s four years in office.
Last week, the Biden campaign warned that the election was “far closer” than has been suggested by the polls.
Bottom line: anything can happen.