Election Night Cheat Sheet
Big Majority Happy to Wait for Election Results
Vermont’s GOP Governor Voted for Biden
Trump Campaign War Room Moves to White House
A Brief History of the Concession Speech
• One Last Look: The Projections
• One Last Look: The Early Voting Numbers
• Time to Get Out the Crystal Ball
• Did the Campaign Matter at All?
• Breathe In, Breathe Out
• Political Games
• Today's Presidential Polls
• Today's Senate Polls
Today's the day! We will begin live-blogging at 6:00 p.m. ET, and we'll keep going as long as it makes sense to do so—or we collapse, whichever comes first. Over the course of the evening, we will answer some questions from readers, so please do send them in to our firstname.lastname@example.org. We may also run some on-the-scene reports from readers, so if you have 50-100 words about how your home state seems to be heading, or what things were like at your polling place, or things of that sort, please send them to email@example.com. Please make sure to include your initials and city.
We have so much content today that it's not plausible to give each of these their own write-ups. So, we'll just do quick overviews of the big politics-related stories the day before Election Day:
- A Brisk Start: Dixville Notch, NH traditionally votes and reports their results first, and
they did so again this year. The town
went for Joe Biden
in a rout. He got all five votes.
- Just Say No: Everyone and his grandmother is now aware of Donald Trump's plan to
claim victory tonight, no matter what happens. The Biden campaign has
in order to counter such chicanery. They have lawyered up and made certain everyone knows about all the legal muscle
they are prepared to unleash. The blue team has also made sure that every Democrat on the campaign trail talks about how
the results probably won't be known on Tuesday night, because of all the absentee ballots that have to be counted. The
good news for Team Joe is that much of the work has already been done for them; the
on the subject says that only 17% of Americans expect a result by the end of the night tonight.
- Judges Say No: Republican lawyers, meanwhile, are piling up the goose eggs in their efforts
to wipe out votes. One defeat, that came in Texas, was kind of a slam dunk for Judge Andrew Hanen (Bush 43 appointee). He
the GOP has no standing in its case demanding that 127,000 ballots cast in drive-thru early voting be invalidated.
Another defeat came in Nevada, where Carson County District Judge James Wilson
a suit asking that the counting of early ballots be halted, and that polling monitors be allowed to "closely" monitor all
Nevada polling places.
- Polling Monitors: Speaking of Republican polling monitors, Slate's Jeremy Stahl
to learn about the "training" that the Party is giving to would-be monitors. He reports that it has virtually nothing to
do with actually teaching any sort of useful skills or techniques, and everything to do with filling volunteers' heads
with anti-Democratic Party propaganda.
- COVID-19: The pandemic continues to rage, regardless of what Donald Trump might say.
The U.S. has not had an official 100,000-new-case day yet, but it did have a
of 99,321 new cases on Oct. 30. Last week also set a record, with 569,350 new cases. Among the hard hit areas
is The Villages,
home to a lot of senior-citizen (former?) Trump supporters in Florida. The President has responded to all of this by
threatening to fire
Dr. Anthony Fauci. This despite the fact that doing so is impractical given the rules that protect most civil servants'
jobs. And that's before we talk about the fact that polls have Fauci as, far and away, the most popular government
official in the country. He
serious consideration for People Magazine's "Sexiest Man Alive" this year.
- Building a Wall: Nope, not that one. However, federal officials are
going to rebuild
a temporary, non-scalable fence around the White House, just so that anyone inside who is frightened by protesters can feel safe.
After all, the protesters will be carrying signs, and they may even raise their voices on occasion.
- The Heat Is On: No matter what happens tonight, the U.S.
will formally withdraw
from the Paris Climate Accord at 12:01 a.m. ET. Of course, if Joe Biden pulls out a win, the U.S. will presumably be allowed
to rejoin with a minimum of difficulty.
- Good Day Sunshine: The global climate may be going to hell in a handbasket, but the weather in most
of the country today
quite mild. Generally, that means increased turnout. Whether this is good news for the Democrats (who generally benefit from
increased turnout) or Republicans (who are expected to rely more on in-person voting this year) is something that will not be
known until today's ballots are tallied.
- Social Media: Although many Republicans (most obviously Trump and Sen. Ted Cruz, R-TX) insist that the various social media platforms are biased against them, it is not so. In fact, says a new study, conservatives dominate social media. Meanwhile, another new study reveals that for reasons that are murky, due to Facebook's mysterious algorithms, Democrats end up paying more for the same amount of advertising than Republicans do. More specifically, the Biden campaign has paid $8 million more for Facebook advertising than it would have paid if getting the same rates the Trump campaign gets.
That's the big election-related news, heading into the big day. (Z)
You can see above how our method, based on the last week's worth of reliable polls, has the outcome in each of the 50 states and in D.C., along with the overall result. However, let's do a quick review of how other sites have it on the last day of the cycle. We'll focus on the 11 swingiest states in our tipping point chart. These are listed from most blue to most red; we have all the other states (and DC) in "safe Dem" or "safe GOP" territory:
|EV Tally||348-190||279-163 (96)||321-217||290-125 (123)||350-188||279-259||278-260|
The number in parentheses in the final row is toss-up EVs, from those sources that did not predict every state.
Obviously, it's not a pretty picture for Trump. Right-leaning sites (Election Projection), betting-driven sites (PredictIt), foreign sites (The Economist), poll-driven sites (FiveThirtyEight, us), "gut feel" sites (Politico, Cook, Sabato) all have Trump losing. Some projections still have him within reach, of course, but he's going to need upsets in at least a couple of states that look very blue right now (and he'll also have to hold all the battleground states, too). (Z)
At the moment, just shy of 100 million early votes have been reported (99,657,079, to be precise). That does not include many of the ballots received on Monday, nor will it include the absentee ballots that arrive today and in subsequent days, or many of the military/foreign ballots.
When trying to make sense of these early voting numbers we are, of course, fumbling around in the dark a fair bit. We don't know the partisan registration of many of those voters, nor do we know how many Election Day voters are left. And, of course, we don't know what any of the ballots say yet. With that said, let's see if we can tease a little bit of insight out of them, using some reasonable assumptions. To start, it seems fair to guess that we're going to end up with about 40 million early in-person votes, and about 70 million early votes-by-mail. If we extend the partisan breakdown of ballots where that information is known, and we split the unaffiliated voters evenly between candidates, and we give 2% of the vote to third parties, then that would leave Joe Biden with approximately 59.6 million votes and Donald Trump with 48.2 million.
Now, let's look at how many of the remaining votes the candidates would need if we assume that 98% of the votes continue to go for major-party candidates, and if turnout is the same as in 2016 (column 2), or is up 5% (column 3), or is up 10% (column 4), or is up 15% (column 5):
|Candidate||2020 Early Votes||2016 +0%||2016 +5%||2016 +10%||2016 +15%|
|Biden||59,593,800||7,374,126 (28.2%)||10,722,523 (32.7%)||14,238,339 (35.7%)||17,929,946 (37.9%)|
|Trump||48,206,200||18,761,726 (71.8%)||22,110,123 (67.3%)||25,625,939 (64.3%)||29,317,546 (62.1%)|
|Total Major Party Votes||107,800,000||133,935,852||140,632,645||147,664,277||155,047,491|
What this is trying to tell you is that if turnout equals 2016, Joe Biden would need just 7,374,126 more votes (which, in that scenario, would be just 28.2% of the votes remaining) to claim a majority. If turnout is up 10% relative to 2016, then Biden would need 14,238,339 more votes to claim a majority, which would be 35.7% of the votes remaining. This is the increase that most prognosticators are expecting, by the way.
Whatever the increase in turnout is, however, it would seem that no matter what happens, the popular vote is already a lost cause for Team Trump. Even if turnout is way up relative to 2016 (say, 15%), he'd still need an enormous percentage of the outstanding votes—more than is really plausible. And these estimates are actually probably a little too friendly to him, since polling suggests that (1) More registered Republicans are going to vote Biden than registered Democrats are going to vote Trump this year, and (2) Independents are breaking for Biden by anywhere from 2 to 20 points.
And now let's take a look at the four swing states that have breakdowns for early votes by party registration. We'll proceed with the same assumptions as for the national vote (2% third-party votes, equal split of independents):
|State||Candidate||2020 Early Votes||2016 +0%||2016 +5%||2016 +10%||2016 +15%|
|Colorado||Biden||1,401,728||-39,407 (-100.2%)||28,709 (16.4%)||96,826 (31.1%)||164,942 (36.8%)|
|Colorado||Trump||1,283,574||78,747 (200.2%)||146,863 (83.6%)||214,979 (68.9%)||283,095 (63.2%)|
|Total Major Party Votes||2,685,302||2,724,642||2,860,874||2,997,106||3,133,338|
|State||Candidate||2020 Early Votes||2016 +0%||2016 +5%||2016 +10%||2016 +15%|
|Nevada||Biden||551,639||-200 (-0.6%)||27,372 (30.1%)||54,944 (37.6%)||82,516 (41%)|
|Nevada||Trump||515,361||36,078 (100.6%)||63,650 (69.9%)||91,222 (62.4%)||118,794 (59%)|
|Total Major Party Votes||1,067,000||1,102,877||1,158,021||1,213,165||1,268,309|
|State||Candidate||2020 Early Votes||2016 +0%||2016 +5%||2016 +10%||2016 +15%|
|Florida||Biden||4,450,471||165,348 (37.9%)||396,139 (44.1%)||626,930 (46.1%)||857,721 (47.1%)|
|Florida||Trump||4,344,927||270,892 (62.1%)||501,683 (55.9%)||732,474 (53.9%)||963,265 (52.9%)|
|Total Major Party Votes||8,795,398||9,231,638||9,693,220||10,154,802||10,616,384|
|State||Candidate||2020 Early Votes||2016 +0%||2016 +5%||2016 +10%||2016 +15%|
|N. Carolina||Biden||2,452,969||-129,603- (-69.4%)||-13,434 (-3.2%)||102,734 (15.8%)||218,902 (24.8%)|
|N. Carolina||Trump||2,006,975||316,392 (169.4%)||432,560 (103.2%)||548,728 (84.2%)||664,897 (75.2%)|
|Total Major Party Votes||4,459,944||4,646,733||4,879,069||5,111,406||5,343,743|
If our assumptions are even reasonably correct then, once again, these are very poor numbers for the President. Taking Colorado as an example, if turnout is equal to 2016, then the state is already lost, because Joe Biden appears to have more than 50% of the 2016 total. Even if turnout jumps way up there (by 15% relative to 2016), then Biden would still need just a shade more than 1/3 of the remaining votes (36.8%) to win the state. Indeed, North Carolina and Colorado, among these four, look as if they may be well be beyond reach.
Again, there's a lot of assuming and guessing going on here, but to the extent that we can extract anything from the early voting numbers, it's that we may learn the election was actually over before Election Day even dawned. (Z)
Ok, now that we've run down some of the final news and the final numbers, let's look at some predictions. To start:The Staff
Zenger: Ultimately, there are two things, both of them adverse to Donald Trump, that cannot be explained away. The first is that his support has clearly been diminished among some groups (seniors, suburban women) and there's no compelling evidence he's replaced the folks who jumped ship. The second is that the Republican Party and the Trump campaign were both absolutely convinced that high turnout would be ruinous, and yet turnout is set to break records this year. If they think that's a problem, there's no reason to think they are wrong.
Our map, as it currently stands, looks just about right. Give Ohio to Trump, and the one Nebraska EV to Biden, and that leaves it at 351-187. Feel free to take that to the books and place a wager or two.
Votemaster: I'm slightly more cautious than Zenger, above. The eight states with a white center are all toss-ups, except maybe Nevada which I think will go blue. Arizona is +1 for Biden. It could go either way. Anyone who thinks he can call Florida is smoking something and inhaling it. Still, among the "likely" and "strongly" Democratic states, Biden has 273 EVs. If he can hold all of those, with Pennsylvania being the one to watch, I think Biden will win unless the courts get involved. For me, the big question is whether post-election court rulings overturn the voters' wishes. Forget the Alamo, but remember 2000.
Biden Ridin' High
D.E. in Lancaster, PA: Oddly, this time around, my gut says a Biden win while my brain keeps churning up all the ways Trump can cheat and bully. But I'm going with my gut for the Biden win for three reasons: (1) Nothing has changed to make the race tighter except for the media's fondness for horse races; (2) The court rulings so far seem to be in favor of counting the votes; and 3) Trump canceled his victory party, and for him to give up adulation is like Don Jr. passing up an eight ball. In fact I'm betting on the EV Monday map showing Biden with 368 electoral votes plus one surprise state (Iowa, Texas, Montana or South Carolina). Let the games begin.
J.C. in Tysons, VA: Final prediction here: Biden 311, Trump 227. I never thought I'd have to look at the political affiliation of Secretaries of State to make my final guess!
H.G. in Hallandale Beach, FL: I realize this is just anecdotal and only one incident, but I think it might not be limited. Just on a golf trip with five other guys. Two are Republicans. One of them confided to us that he voted for Biden, but don't tell 'Jim'. I think the shy Biden voter is more prevalent than the shy Trump voter.
C.P.S. in San Jose, CA: Trump super-spreader rallies in swing states will have negative effects. Those attending were planning to vote for Trump anyhow. Those not attending who notice the spike in COVID-19 cases, at least in part attributable to irresponsible behavior at these Trump rallies, will vote for Biden.
A.R. in Los Angeles, CA: I predict a Biden landslide. Biden will win both Florida and North Carolina, whose results we'll know on election night. Biden will also win Arizona, whose results we may also know on election night. We won't know results in Michigan, Wisconsin or Pennsylvania until probably the end of the week, but I predict that Biden wins those states handily so that any challenges won't ultimately affect the outcome. Biden will win Ohio—not many people have been paying much attention to Ohio and it seems that both parties have neglected it, but it will go blue. Texas will stay in Trump's column and Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) will eke out a victory, but the blue wave is coming. The Democrats will capture one chamber in the Texas state legislature.
My experience on a voter assistance hotline convinced me to predict a Biden victory. I spoke to a voter who is 78 who doesn't usually vote and wasn't sure how to do it. I asked if he was registered and he said he wasn't sure. I checked and he was registered. So, I found his polling place and an early vote center. He said, "I've never had a reason to vote before." He then asked if he could vote only for Biden and the Democratic Senator and leave everything else blank. I admit it was difficult for me to keep my composure on the call because I pictured so many Americans like him stepping up and voting for the first time because they know how important this is. It's people like him who will save our democracy—that's why I'm predicting a resounding Biden victory.
K.H. in Albuquerque, NM: I flipped over my magic 8-ball and the little triangle floated up saying, "Valencia County, NM makes it 18 straight." Right now early voting by registration has Dems ahead 11,169 to 10,604.
L.R.H. in Oakland, CA: Popular vote: Biden by five million or more. In the national polls, he is running far ahead of Clinton in 2016. At the state level, she had 264 Strong/Likely Democratic on October 31. Biden has 279. Electoral vote: Biden 308, Trump 259.
D.B. in Nixa, MO: Republicans will spend 4 years claiming the election was stolen. Donald Trump will complain until his dying day.
J.N. in Summit, NJ: The elections will end up 1 to 3 percent bluer than pollsters are predicting, and most of the tossup races will go to the Democrats.
K.G. in Seattle, WA: 2020 will be a replay of the 2018 midterms, with a larger than expected blue wave sweeping all the swing states. Disengaged Trump supporters will skip the election, having felt they "sent a message to Washington," but having seen little improvement in their own lives and having COVID-19 rampant in their communities. Not just suburban, but rural women will surprise as shy Biden voters. Aggressive GOP voter suppression will be revealed as having greatly harmed our democracy, but post-election legal efforts will fail due to mismanagement of GOP funds and an overwhelming number of states to dispute. The transition will be quiet as Trump abandons governance for grievance in the media spotlight. As his weakness is revealed, his popularity and prevalence rapidly fade. Right wing terrorism makes headlines in 2021 as the COVID-19 vaccine rolls out and America slowly returns to normalcy.
S.V. in Ventura, CA: I am going to put my money on Trump losing with fewer than 200 electoral votes. Florida is going to go to Biden and it will be such a landslide that there will be no point in going to court and suddenly all of those wimpy ass Republican Congressmen who have been silently putting up with his circus aren't going to give the Donald the time of day. And I do think he might flee the country.
S.K. in Chappaqua, NY: By around 2 a.m. on this morning, the media other than Fox News will have said that Joe Biden can be assumed to have won (mostly coastal) states with about 258 electoral votes with enough more votes certain to come from other states to reach 270. They will therefore then call Biden the nation's "president-elect."
D.A. in Brooklyn, NY: The hundreds of inevitable attempted shenanigans by Trumpers (including legal, semi-legal and outright illegal) will in the end have as much effect on the outcome as Howie Hawkins does in the state of Hawaii. Three reasons. First, you cannot stop a blue tsunami. Second, the SCOTUS fears for its own 6-3 majority and is clearly not handing the Democrats any reason to justify judicial reform. Third, the various local GOP thugs can't match the talent of the cheater-in-chief. Prediction: 394 EVs for Biden, possibly 412 if Ohio goes blue; Chuck Schumer gets a 57-43 majority with GOP losses in South Carolina, Kansas, and Alaska.
R.L. in Napierville, IL: I believe Tuesday is going to feel a little too much like a normal presidential election. People are going to go to the polls. Tuesday night we're all going to tune in to results. Everything is going to go Biden's way, not by a landslide, but by a decent margin. At about midnight, the news outlets are going to gingerly announce Biden as the new President. Biden will give his victory speech. Trump will be remarkably subdued but will not concede. He will make vague references to ballot fraud but won't call for protests or violence. He will say something to the effect of, "We're going to look into it and we'll see tomorrow." Then we'll all go to bed feeling good but a little unnerved about the days and weeks to come.
Trump Will Triumph
S.J. in Orange, CA: Just like in 2016, your reliance on mostly left leaning polls will prove your modeling to be very, very wrong. I can't wait to print out your final map from today and then compare it to what will be a President Trump victory and then show it on social media to prove my point. Trump 316, Biden 222.
J.T. in Greensboro, NC: So after devoting some serious thought to it, scanning current events, looking at the paths to victory, and so on, I predict that Donald Trump is going to win. I think he will win the EC with 279 votes but lose the popular vote by 5-6%
I think this because looking at Pennsylvania, the tipping point, all signs point to plenty of ratf***ery, but more significantly I think that just enough suburbanites are going to get cold feet and switch back to Trump to carry him across the line. I think the election will hinge on the counting of a thousand or so questionable Pennsylvania ballots.
However, I think the Democrats will get to 51 seats in the Senate and expand their house majority. Momentum for the national popular vote compact will increase as voters become disillusioned that a candidate can get 8 million more votes and still lose the presidency.
L.W. in Salem, AL: I'm going to be laughing my buns off on Tuesday night when once again, like 2016, Trump makes your site look like the joke it is. Y'all have totally lost it. Sad. Trump 322, Biden 216.
C.S. in Las Vegas, NV: I don't like it, but the polls are tightening, and many of the prognosticators who got 2016 right are on Trump again. It will be close, but in the end Trump will draw another straight flush and prevail, 275 to 265.
K.L. in Las Vegas, NV: It will be very close in Nevada if what I am seeing comes to pass. I think there is a good chance that the state may swing red. We have far more Trumpy types than you might be thinking. Cliven Bundy anyone?
I'll be watching Lifetime Movies tomorrow. I'm not sure I can take anything else.
J.S. in Seattle, WA: I will go out on a limb regarding Texas, which I think will go very narrowly for Biden. 1.2 million new voters in Texas since 2018 are likely to be mostly Democrats, and if they all vote...Biden comes up big.
R.M. in Pensacola, FL: Here is something that is flying so far under the radar, reader J.B. in Brossard, Québec, Canada, won't even see it coming. My congressman Matt Gaetz (R-FL) will win, but it will be by less than 10 points. Yes, the 1st congressional district of Florida is one of the most conservative in the entire country (PVI of R+22), but we may have a bit of an Eric Cantor situation developing.
Because of the makeup of the district, Gaetz is clearly taking things for granted. He has zero interest in legislating, but all the interest in appearing at a Trump rally, showing up on Fox News or terrifying our dear friend J.B. The Representative hasn't run a single ad that I've seen, put up a single yard sign (even before Hurricane Sally blew through here six weeks ago taking out every political sign in the area) or done much for any constituent here.
K.C. in West Islip, NY: Against my better judgment, I believe that Texas will turn blue—by the thinnest of margins, even closer than Florida 2000—while Pennsylvania will inexplicably stay red. It ultimately won't make a difference though, as Biden coasts in other purple areas--Arizona and North Carolina in particular.
D.H. in Lisbon Falls, ME: Sara Gideon (D) will defeat Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME). Collins will then run for Governor in 2022.
A.Z. in Asheville, NC: I live in North Carolina. My best guess is 50/50 that the state will be called on election night. I'm a volunteer poll worker so I have a little bit of insight to how the votes are tallied. If it is indeed called for Biden on Election Night, it's "game over, Dude" for Trump.
R.H. in Macungie, PA: With the pandemic raging across most of the US, I believe that new lockdown orders are imminent but that some governors are reluctant to announce these so close to the election. I would not be surprised at all if Governor Wolf announces new restrictions/lockdowns in Pennsylvania on 11/4. It is ironic that holding off on these may actually lead to higher deaths but implementing them earlier would be seen as purely political.
K.J. in San Francisco, CA: I believe fast-counting Montana will actually go to Biden on election night, foretelling a landslide. Call me nuts.
B.C. in Farmingville, NY: I think Biden wins, but not in the way that we think. I would be willing to bet money on Trump sweeping the older, upper Midwest plus maybe Minnesota and Pennsylvania again. Counter to this, I think Biden does very well and wins in Arizona, Florida, and Texas, with possibly Georgia and NC in the Dems category as well. Many, many people in my 75% dem generation left my state for more affordable living conditions and have gone to Texas (Austin), the southwestern states, North Carolina, and Georgia.
A.Q. in North Aurora, IL: Big prediction of the night. Devin Nunes loses in CA-22. He only won by about 5% in 2018 and people in his district have become more and more disenchanted since he has been so focused on national stuff and less focused on the district. Either way that race looks like it will be within 2 points.
M.B. in Albany, NY: On Friday, with votes still being counted in crucial battleground states, Dr. Fauci will appear on television advising Americans that if they experience an election that lasts more than 4 days, they should consult a physician.
D.D. in Somers, NY: Biden will win Florida and Pennsylvania, and Trump will call him Tuesday night to concede only if Biden pardons him. Biden will explain that he can't issue pardons because he's not president yet. Trump will offer to resign, Biden will point out that will only make Mike Pence president, Trump will make a deal with Pence and by Thursday Trump will be out of the White House.
B.A. in Chandler, AZ: Down the stretch they come, Joe I Know Obama is in the lead with Donald I Never Told A Lie trying to catch up. Joe is steady but Donald is lying like a rug at this point. His jockey, Donald Jr, is going to the whip. Joe I Know Obama is wearing his aviator sunglasses and looking good. Donald's owner, Melania, is not in the stands, where is she? The finish line is approaching with 538 feet to go, Joe looks like he has a lead of 150 and some say it's over 200. Donald I Never Told A Lie may contest the final result, claiming fouls by 12 million race fans. Stay tuned for our next report.
C.O. in East Lansing, MI: Like the AI singularity where there is no way to predict past AI becoming smarter than us, there is also no way to predict beyond the start of Election Day voting, let alone the weeks, months, and years that follow. It is far too complex to model the interaction between uncertain election results, Trump's irrational behaviors, violent supporters, election shenanigans (both foreign and domestic), and how people will react to results that no one will fully believe—and may in fact be unbelievable due to aforementioned shenanigans.
"Oh look, Trump won the popular vote by over 3 trillion votes!"
K.Y. in Chelmsford, MA: First of all, Biden has been able to Bond with his potential voters better than Clinton was able to. But the election is mostly about Trump. His Con-ery of the American citizens has become clear over the past 4 years. His biggest specific flaw, of course, has been his mishandling of the Covid-19 pandemic. A very damaging moment was when he spoke to Anthony Fauci, and told the Doctor No people will get COVID-19 if you don't test them. All of the president's Love from Russia isn't helping him either. And he's not going to get any help from Q(Anon) either. You Only Live Twice, but Trump will have been elected only once. Hopefully he will Never Say "Covfefe" Again.
And there you have it. Thanks to all who sent predictions in! (Z)
In short, maybe not. According to an item in Larry Sabato's Crystal Ball, nearly two-thirds of the voters made up their minds on how they would vote today on Nov. 9, 2016, and nothing that happened since changed their minds. The $6 billion spent on the presidential campaign has had no effect at all on those voters and little on the rest. In the end, precious few voters watch the debates and the TV ads, read the newspapers, and then decide which candidate has the better platform. All that really matters these days is that (D) or (R) after the candidate's name. Or maybe this year, it's the (T) at the front of the candidate's name.
The poll cited in the linked article shows when voters made up their minds about this election. A full 70% of Biden voters made up their minds just after Trump was elected in 2016. They hated Trump and that wasn't going to change, no matter what. Another 17% made up their minds in the first 2 years of Trump's term. By then, they had enough. That's 87% who knew which party they were voting for, long before the Democrats began their 25-way slugfest to pick a nominee. Only 2.5% of Biden voters decided in the last few weeks.
Among Trump voters, the picture is only slightly different. Fifty percent knew back in November of 2016 that they would vote for him again. Another 31% decided to go for "Four more years" during the first half of Trump's term. Only 8% waited until the past few days. That is why the race has been so stable. If you made up your mind years ago, no little news blip is going to make a whit of difference.
So why do we have campaigns and spend $6 billion to convince maybe 200,000 voters in eight states who aren't paying attention to politics? Excellent question, but that is just the way it is for the time being. (V)
One of the dominant themes of the messages we've gotten in the last two months is that tonight is going to be a rough ride. In view of that, we thought we would note the four tips in this NPR article about how to cope with election stress:
- Prepare mentally for delayed results: This one's obvious, and one that everyone has been talking
about for months. We very well may not know tonight, and that's ok.
- Double down on stress-reducing habits: Eat healthy today, lie down for a nap if you didn't
get enough sleep, try to get a workout in.
- Replace scrolling with something nourishing: When and if the information flow gets a little
overwhelming, change gears and do something to cleanse the palate. The games below, for example.
- Look for signs of hope: As Bing Crosby and others sang "Ac-Cent-Tchu-Ate The Positive." There's going to be good news and bad news for partisans of all stripes tonight (and this week). Try to focus on the good stuff.
Pretty basic stuff, but it's always good to have a reminder. (Z)
As we noted in the item above, one way to cope tonight is to find a distraction or two. So, in that spirit, we've put together a couple of games that are on-topic, but also a bit removed from current events, should you care to follow NPR's advice. First up, a 10-question Election Day trivia quiz:
1. Tuesday was originally set as the official day for presidential elections in order to accommodate the members of what profession?
2. What event caused Congress to decree that all states must hold their elections on the same Tuesday? (Prior to this, elections were spread across several Tuesdays in November, and sometimes some in December, too.)
- Postal workers
3. Which election attracted the largest percentage of eligible voters in U.S. history?
- The disputed election of 1800
- The Louisiana Purchase of 1803
- The invention of the telegraph in 1845
- The Civil War, 1861-65
- The disputed election of 1876
4. And which election attracted the smallest percentage of eligible voters in U.S. history?
- 1800 (Jefferson/J. Adams)
- 1828 (Jackson/J. Q. Adams)
- 1860 (Lincoln/Breckinridge/Bell/Douglas)
- 1876 (Hayes/Tilden)
- 1896 (McKinley/Bryan)
5. Four of these snarky political slogans were really utilized by the respective campaigns. Which is the fake?
- 1924 (Coolidge/Davis)
- 1936 (F.D. Roosevelt/Landon)
- 1948 (Truman/Dewey)
- 1964 (L. Johnson/Goldwater)
- 1996 (B. Clinton/Dole/Perot)
6. Which state has the longest current streak of voting for the winning presidential candidate?
- "We Polked You in '44, and We'll Pierce You in '52" (1852; used by Franklin Pierce against Winfield Scott)
- "Sunflowers Die in November" (1936; used by FDR against Kansas' Alf Landon)
- "Better a Hole in the Shoe Than a Hole in the Head" (1956; used by Adlai Stevenson against Dwight D. Eisenhower)
- "Would You Buy a Used Car from This Man?" (1960; used by JFK against Richard Nixon)
- "They Said He's a Peach, and He Turned Out to Be the Pits" (1980; used by Ronald Reagan against Georgia's Jimmy Carter)
7. When it comes to voting and elections, what do these states and territories have in common: Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Montana, New Jersey, New York, Northern Marianas Islands, Puerto Rico, Virginia, and West Virginia?
8. What notable television "first" took place the same month that Richard Nixon was first elected president?
- They have all declared Election Day to be a public holiday
- They are the only states and territories that allow write-in votes for any candidate, and not just approved write-in candidates
- They are the only states and territories that favored a Republican other than Donald Trump in the 2016 primaries
- They are the only states where at least one county is still using the infamous "butterfly" ballots
- They have all elected a person who was already dead sometime in the past 20 years
9. And as long as we're on the subject of television, what TV character died the same week that Ronald Reagan was first elected president?
- Computers were used to project the election result for the first time
- The first episode of the long-running British show "Doctor Who" was aired
- The first show to feature a Black leading actor, "I Spy," debuted
- The first interracial kiss on American television, on the show "Star Trek"
- The first televised press conference
10. And to conclude with one last politics plus culture question, which winner of the Academy Award for Best Picture did Donald Trump denounce during several of his campaign rallies?
- J.R. Ewing, from "Dallas"
- Spock, from "Star Trek" (albeit in a "Star Trek" movie, and he came back to life in the next movie)
- Mr. Hooper, from "Sesame Street"
- Edith Bunker, from "All in the Family"/"Archie Bunker's Place"
- Henry Blake, from "M*A*S*H"
- "Gone With the Wind" (1939), because it is "very unfair" to white Southerners
- "Titanic" (1997), because "the rich guy is the bad guy. Why is the rich guy always the bad guy?"
- "The Artist" (2012), because it "has no sound. What's up with that?"
- "Green Book" (2019), because "It's politically correct bull**it. Can I say that?"
- "Parasite" (2020), because "We've got enough problems with South Korea, with trade."
Answers are below, or you can click here to jump directly to them.
Obviously, a 10-question quiz provides a momentary diversion, but only a momentary one. So, we're going to give you a second game (and a contest) that offers a bit more to chew on. This one is based, in a manner of speaking, on anagrams. And it will keep you busy for as many minutes or hours as you want to be busy.
Consider this sample question:
U.S. president's full name → English word
The game here is to find the single longest (and thus highest-scoring) answer in the second category that you can based on any valid item from the first category. For example, "Donald John Trump" contains all the letters necessary to form a 10-letter English word, namely "protohuman." That's a 10-letter answer, which is pretty good. On the other hand "George Washington" contains all the letters necessary to form an 11-letter word, namely "segregation." And "John Calvin Coolidge" has all the letters needed to form a 12-letter word, namely "nonalcoholic."
Scoring will be done on a modified Fibonacci sequence. To wit:
|Letter||Points Gained||Letter||Points Gained||Letter||Points Gained|
So, "protohuman" would be worth 0+0+1+1+1+1+2+2+3+3, or 14 points. "Segregation" would be worth 0+0+1+1+1+1+2+2+3+3+5, or 19 points. And "nonalcoholic" would be worth 0+0+1+1+1+1+2+2+3+3+5+5, or 24 points.
And now, here are the 10 questions:
- Current member of Congress → Academy Award-winning film
- Political slogan used by any U.S. candidate → Periodic table element
- Democratic nominee for president (winner or loser) → Beatles song title
- Republican nominee for president (winner or loser) → Religious figure (living or dead, any religion)
- President who died in office → Disease
- U.S. political party (any, and including the word 'party') → "Star Wars" planet, character, or race
- Politician who played college sports → Professional sports team (city and mascot, or just mascot)
- Person who served as Secretary of the Treasury → World currency (current or past)
- Any living politician → Palindrome
- Any dead politician → Shakespeare character
If you care to submit your answers in one category or in many or in all, send them to firstname.lastname@example.org by this Saturday at noon. On Sunday, we'll announce the best word for each of the 10 questions, as well as the best overall scores. Make sure to include your initials and city! Also make sure it's clear exactly what question you're answering, and exactly what the transformation is. For example:
1. Dianne Goldman Berman Feinstein → Argo
6. Working People's Party of Puerto Rico → Wookiee
Note that if you use a letter multiple times in your answer, it must appear multiple times in your source. So, an answer based on "Donald John Trump," for example, can have only one 'j' in it.
And now, the answers to the trivia questions:
1. (c) Farmers. The idea was that they could go to church on Sunday, travel on Monday, vote on Tuesday, and then hang out and be present for the community market, usually scheduled for the town center on Wednesday.
2. (c) The invention of the telegraph in 1845. Congress was concerned, with good reason, that news of developments in one state might affect voting patterns in other states.
3. (d) 1876 (Hayes/Tilden). 81.8% of eligible voters turned out for that one, not that it helped produce a clear winner.
4. (a) 1924 (Coolidge/Davis). Only 48.9% of eligible voters cast ballots, the obvious reason being that many newly enfranchised women had not yet registered or else felt pressure not to exercise the privilege. The only other elections to have less than 50% turnout (beyond the ones from 1824 and prior, for which we have no data) were 1920 (49.2%) and 1996 (49.0%).
5. (e) "They Said He's a Peach, and He Turned Out to Be the Pits" (1980; used by Ronald Reagan against Georgia's Jimmy Carter). We made that one up, though it is the kind of thing the Gipper might have said.
6. (e) Ohio, and it's not even close. They've backed the winning candidate in every election since 1964, a streak of 14 consecutive winners (though that streak may be broken this cycle). Florida is in second place, having backed 6 straight winners, and Iowa is in third with 4. Every other state has missed at least once in the 21st century. Missouri was once known as "the" bellwether, but they missed in both 2008 and 2012. And Nevada had a streak going back to 1976, but it was snapped last cycle, when they gave their electoral votes to Hillary Clinton.
7. (a) They have all declared Election Day to be a public holiday.
8. (d) The first interracial kiss on American television, on the show "Star Trek." It was Captain Kirk (William Shatner), and Lieutenant Uhura (Nichelle Nichols) in the episode "Plato's Stepchildren." And yes, we are aware that there are arguments for other TV shows and against this one, but we find them unpersuasive, since this is the interracial kiss that made national headlines (and caused many Southern stations to boycott that episode). As to the other answers, computers were used to project election results for the first time in 1952, the first televised press conference was in 1961, "Doctor Who" debuted in 1963, and "I Spy" debuted in 1965.
9. (d) Edith Bunker, from "All in the Family"/"Archie Bunker's Place." She died in the episode that aired Nov. 2, 1980. J.R. Ewing never died (they just made it seem that way in 1983), Spock died in 1982 and came back to life in 1984, Mr. Hooper died in 1983, and Henry Blake died in 1974.
10. (e) "Parasite" (2020), because "We've got enough problems with South Korea, with trade." Trump also admitted he hadn't actually seen the movie, making it one of the rare occasions where he's run his mouth while having absolutely no idea what he's talking about.
It's a pretty tough quiz; any score of 5 or higher and you've done well. (Z)
Donald Trump has Indiana, Missouri, and South Carolina nailed down, but Michigan is a lost cause for him. Probably Wisconsin, too. We have eight polls of Pennsylvania and Joe Biden is leading in all of them, by more than 4 points in six of them. Anything is possible today, but Trump's only real hopes here are for: (1) an incredible polling error across the board and/or (2) court rulings that invalidate tens of thousands of votes and/or more than 100,000 naked (and thus invalid) ballots from Pennsylvania Democrats who were proud of their vote and wanted the election workers to see it.
Another state to watch is North Carolina. Four polls today have Biden ahead and he has maintained a small but consistent lead for weeks. Our map scores it as Biden +2 based on 15 polls. Could they all be wrong? Seems very doubtful. (V)
|Arizona||48%||45%||Oct 10||Oct 13||Redfield and Wilton Strategies|
|Arizona||48%||46%||Oct 22||Oct 31||Morning Consult|
|Arizona||48%||48%||Oct 29||Nov 01||Marist Coll.|
|Arizona||50%||46%||Oct 26||Oct 29||Redfield and Wilton Strategies|
|Arizona||50%||48%||Oct 27||Nov 02||Ipsos|
|Colorado||54%||41%||Oct 22||Oct 31||Morning Consult|
|Florida||45%||43%||Oct 30||Nov 01||AYTM|
|Florida||47%||42%||Oct 28||Nov 01||Quinnipiac U.|
|Florida||50%||44%||Oct 10||Oct 13||Redfield and Wilton Strategies|
|Florida||50%||46%||Oct 27||Nov 01||Ipsos|
|Florida||50%||46%||Oct 27||Oct 28||Redfield and Wilton Strategies|
|Florida||52%||45%||Oct 22||Oct 31||Morning Consult|
|Georgia||49%||46%||Oct 22||Oct 31||Morning Consult|
|Georgia||52%||48%||Oct 30||Nov 01||AYTM|
|Iowa||49%||48%||Nov 01||Nov 02||PPP|
|Illinois||54%||38%||Oct 26||Nov 01||Victoria Research|
|Illinois||55%||38%||Oct 31||Nov 01||Research Co.|
|Indiana||42%||53%||Oct 22||Oct 31||Morning Consult|
|Massachusetts||62%||28%||Oct 23||Oct 30||MassINC|
|Michigan||50%||43%||Oct 31||Nov 01||Research Co.|
|Michigan||51%||42%||Oct 10||Oct 13||Redfield and Wilton Strategies|
|Michigan||52%||45%||Oct 22||Oct 31||Morning Consult|
|Michigan||54%||41%||Oct 26||Oct 29||Redfield and Wilton Strategies|
|Minnesota||52%||42%||Oct 22||Oct 31||Morning Consult|
|Minnesota||52%||43%||Oct 31||Nov 01||Research Co.|
|Missouri||43%||52%||Oct 22||Oct 31||Morning Consult|
|North Carolina||49%||46%||Oct 10||Oct 13||Redfield and Wilton Strategies|
|North Carolina||49%||47%||Oct 26||Oct 29||Redfield and Wilton Strategies|
|North Carolina||49%||48%||Oct 22||Oct 31||Morning Consult|
|North Carolina||49%||48%||Oct 27||Nov 01||Ipsos|
|New Jersey||56%||38%||Oct 31||Nov 01||Research Co.|
|New York||61%||33%||Oct 31||Nov 01||Research Co.|
|Ohio||45%||49%||Oct 31||Nov 01||Pulse Opinion Research|
|Ohio||47%||43%||Oct 28||Nov 01||Quinnipiac U.|
|Ohio||47%||47%||Oct 31||Nov 01||Research Co.|
|Ohio||47%||49%||Oct 22||Oct 31||Morning Consult|
|Ohio||47%||50%||Oct 29||Oct 30||AtlasIntel|
|Pennsylvania||50%||44%||Oct 31||Nov 01||Research Co.|
|Pennsylvania||50%||45%||Oct 26||Oct 29||Redfield and Wilton Strategies|
|Pennsylvania||50%||47%||Oct 31||Nov 01||Pulse Opinion Research|
|Pennsylvania||51%||43%||Oct 10||Oct 13||Redfield and Wilton Strategies|
|Pennsylvania||51%||44%||Oct 28||Nov 01||Monmouth U.|
|Pennsylvania||51%||46%||Oct 29||Nov 01||Marist Coll.|
|Pennsylvania||51%||49%||Oct 30||Nov 01||AYTM|
|Pennsylvania||52%||43%||Oct 22||Oct 31||Morning Consult|
|South Carolina||45%||51%||Oct 22||Oct 31||Morning Consult|
|Texas||48%||48%||Oct 22||Oct 31||Morning Consult|
|Wisconsin||50%||42%||Oct 31||Nov 01||Research Co.|
|Wisconsin||53%||40%||Oct 10||Oct 13||Redfield and Wilton Strategies|
|Wisconsin||53%||41%||Oct 26||Oct 29||Redfield and Wilton Strategies|
|Wisconsin||54%||41%||Oct 22||Oct 31||Morning Consult|
Click on a state name for a graph of its polling history.
The Democrats are going to pick up Arizona and Colorado for sure, and probably North Carolina. In fact, Cal Cunningham, who seems to have recovered from his scandal, may help Biden rather than vice versa. Iowa is going to be a barnburner. Maybe South Carolina too, but in the end in South Carolina it is Jamie Harrison (B) vs. Lindsey Graham (W) and we know how that generally ends there. (V)
|State||Democrat||D %||Republican||R %||Start||End||Pollster|
|Alabama||Doug Jones*||39%||Tommy Tuberville||51%||Oct 22||Oct 31||Morning Consult|
|Arizona||Mark Kelly||48%||Martha McSally*||44%||Oct 22||Oct 31||Morning Consult|
|Arizona||Mark Kelly||52%||Martha McSally*||46%||Oct 29||Nov 01||Marist Coll.|
|Arizona||Mark Kelly||53%||Martha McSally*||44%||Oct 27||Nov 02||Ipsos|
|Colorado||John Hickenlooper||52%||Cory Gardner*||44%||Oct 22||Oct 31||Morning Consult|
|Georgia||Jon Ossoff||47%||David Perdue*||46%||Oct 22||Oct 31||Morning Consult|
|Iowa||Theresa Greenfield||48%||Joni Ernst*||47%||Nov 01||Nov 02||PPP|
|Illinois||Dick Durbin*||52%||Mark Curran||30%||Oct 31||Nov 01||Research Co.|
|Kentucky||Amy McGrath||40%||Mitch McConnell*||51%||Oct 22||Oct 31||Morning Consult|
|Massachusetts||Ed Markey*||60%||Kevin O`Connor||29%||Oct 23||Oct 30||MassINC|
|Michigan||Gary Peters*||49%||John James||43%||Oct 22||Oct 31||Morning Consult|
|Michigan||Gary Peters*||52%||John James||37%||Oct 31||Nov 01||Research Co.|
|Minnesota||Tina Smith*||50%||Jason Lewis||39%||Oct 31||Nov 01||Research Co.|
|North Carolina||Cal Cunningham||47%||Thom Tillis*||43%||Oct 22||Oct 31||Morning Consult|
|North Carolina||Cal Cunningham||48%||Thom Tillis*||46%||Oct 27||Nov 01||Ipsos|
|New Jersey||Cory Booker*||55%||Rik Mehta||32%||Oct 31||Nov 01||Research Co.|
|South Carolina||Jaime Harrison||44%||Lindsey Graham*||46%||Oct 22||Oct 31||Morning Consult|
|Texas||Mary Hegar||43%||John Cornyn*||47%||Oct 22||Oct 31||Morning Consult|
* Denotes incumbent
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---The Votemaster and Zenger
Nov02 Trump Could Still Pull It Off
Nov02 Trump Holds Rallies in Five States, Biden in One
Nov02 Five Factors That Help Joe Biden
Nov02 Early Votes Have Passed Two-Thirds of the 2016 Total
Nov02 Scoop: Trump Will Declare Victory Tomorrow Night
Nov02 COVID-19 Is Surging in the Midwest
Nov02 The Election Could Make or Break State Trifectas
Nov02 The Lawyers Are Gearing Up
Nov02 GOP Loses a Round in the Voter Suppression Wars, but Fights on
Nov02 Tillis Is Everywhere, Cunningham is Nowhere
Nov02 Forget Nikki Haley; Maybe Liz Cheney Is the Future of the Republican Party
Nov02 Today's Presidential Polls
Nov02 Today's Senate Polls
Nov01 Sunday Mailbag
Nov01 Today's Presidential Polls
Nov01 Today's Senate Polls
Oct31 Saturday Q&A
Oct31 Today's Presidential Polls
Oct31 Today's Senate Polls
Oct30 Courts Get Involved Again, This Time in Minnesota
Oct30 Things for the Democrats to Worry About
Oct30 More on "Shy Trump" Voters
Oct30 Right-wing Media Try to Salvage Hunter Biden Story
Oct30 On Your Marks, Get Set, Go!
Oct30 The Delicate Art of Question Dodging
Oct30 Donald Trump, Flight Risk?
Oct30 Today's Presidential Polls
Oct30 Today's Senate Polls
Oct29 Biden Continues to Lead in the National Polls
Oct29 Early Voting Has Hit 51% of the 2016 Total Vote
Oct29 Anonymous Isn't Anymore
Oct29 Where Are the Candidates?
Oct29 Democrats Are Now with Trump
Oct29 A New Front in the Voting Wars: The Order of Counting Ballots
Oct29 Overseas Military Ballots Could Be Crucial in Florida
Oct29 Whose Fault Is It?
Oct29 Senate Rundown
Oct29 Schumer's Relationship with McConnell Is in Tatters
Oct29 Whither the Supreme Court?
Oct29 Today's Presidential Polls
Oct29 Today's Senate Polls
Oct28 Melania Trump Hits the Campaign Trail
Oct28 Jared Kushner Is Not Helping His Father-in-Law
Oct28 Biden Decides to Do a Little Swinging
Oct28 The Ballots Are Pouring In
Oct28 Abbott Wins the Ballot Box Battle, But Appears to be Losing the War
Oct28 Trump Campaign Backs Off in Florida
Oct28 One Last Funny Feeling
Oct28 Today's Presidential Polls