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2020 Path to Victory

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  • 2020 Path to Victory

    Explore The Ways Trump Or Biden Could Win The Election
    .
    How this works: We start with the 40,000 simulations that our election forecast runs every time it updates. When you choose the winner of a state or district, we throw out any simulations where the outcome you picked didn’t happen and recalculate the candidates’ chances using just the simulations that are left. If you choose enough unlikely outcomes, we’ll eventually wind up with so few simulations remaining that we can’t produce accurate results. When that happens, we go back to our full set of simulations and run a series of regressions to see how your scenario might look if it turned up more often.

    In simplified terms, the regressions start off by looking at the vote share for each candidate in every simulation and seeing how the rest of the map changed in response to big or small wins. So let’s say you picked Trump to win Texas. In some of our simulations, Trump may have won Texas very narrowly and also have narrowly lost some toss-up states. But in simulations where he won Texas by a big margin, he may also have won big in toss-up states and pulled some Democratic-leaning states into his column, while the reverse may be true in simulations where he lost the state. We figure out how every other state tended to look in that full range of scenarios, tracking not just whether the candidate usually won other states but also how much he generally won or lost each one by.

    After all that, we take some representative examples of scenarios that include the picks you made and use what we learned from our regression analysis to adjust all 40,000 simulations, and then recalculate state and national win probabilities. Finally, we blend those adjusted simulations with any of the original simulations that still apply and produce a final forecast.

  • #2
    Yeah, 538 has been increasingly predicting a Biden win for a month now. These numbers are more heavily skewed in Biden's direction since the last time I looked, too.

    I still don't place much stock in any of this, though - and I'm including literally every poll/pundit/analysis I've seen so far. I wont rest until the election is called officially.

    ps. I expect there to be some last minute drama, such as the election being tied up in the courts, Drumpf to do something stupid in his last lame-duck days, people refusing to accept the election results, etc. I'm actually not too worried about any of that; the official vote count is what matters (in my head, at least).

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    • #3
      538 has Biden favored to win the election, currently projecting 346 electoral college votes for Biden against Trump's 192 with a popular vote margin of 53.4 percent to 45.2 percent, a projected difference of 9.1 percent, far beyond the normal polling error that separated Trump from Clinton at the end of the 2016 campaigns. In the event her projected margin of 3.3 percent became a 2.2 percent popular vote margin on election day. Trump has a negligible chance of winning the popular vote in 2020.

      But he's still got about a one in eight chance of winning the election a week and a half out because it's the votes of the electoral college that determine the winner. Smaller states that benefit from overweighting were enough to overcome Clinton's popular vote margin in 2016. More than that, other than Maine and Nebraska, presidential elections in the states are winner-take-all.


      The interactive in a nutshell lets you look at the results of systemic polling errors.

      The interactive doesn't let you choose truly crazy scenarios like Biden winning West Virginia or Trump winning California because there aren't enough simulations with that result to make predictions. But it lets you look at some crazy scenarios, like Biden winning Montana, or Trump winning Oregon. Of course, it also lets you look at reasonable or reasonably unlikely scenarios like Trump winning Georgia, or Biden winning Texas.

      But the real utility is in letting you pick the sliding-color-coded swing states in order to see what victory paths are reasonable, or at least less unreasonable than most. For example, if Trump loses Florida, as projected, it's over, and that result will be known on election night. If Trump wins Wisconsin, because that says something, by regression, about his chances of winning Florida and other swing states, a Wisconsin miscalculation of that size by itself would project to a narrow Trump win in the electoral college.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Whateverman View Post
        Yeah, 538 has been increasingly predicting a Biden win for a month now. These numbers are more heavily skewed in Biden's direction since the last time I looked, too.
        There was a marked uptick in Biden's support following the first, hmm, not sure what to call it, but it was billed as a debate.

        I still don't place much stock in any of this, though - and I'm including literally every poll/pundit/analysis I've seen so far. I wont rest until the election is called officially.
        Doubt about the results of polling aren't organic, they're designed and encouraged by those with a vested interest in disputing the results and propagated when the results themselves can't be disputed. You might want to read Naomi Oreskes' The Merchants of Doubt or watch the documentary currently available for rent on Amazon Prime or even the associated talk on YouTube.

        Statistics is an actual science, based on provably valid mathematics. When the results are inaccurate, they're inaccurate for reasons we can examine, and have, and have corrected, resulting, e.g., in structural improvements in the polling based on systemic errors discovered in the 2016 election.

        The largest identifiable systemic error in 2016 tracked back to an underrepresentation of adults without college degrees. In response, because that demographic is naturally less likely to participate in polling, projections are re-weighted by educational level to remove associated errors. This is a trivial mathematical operation that's been in regular use since the beginning of commercial polling, well researched and universally accepted. There are demographics that predict much larger skews in responses beginning with race, gender, and age, but they have long since been accounted for.

        Prior to 2016, there wasn't a large enough skew by educational level to affect results, so weighting by education wasn't necessary.

        ps. I expect there to be some last minute drama, such as the election being tied up in the courts, Drumpf to do something stupid in his last lame-duck days, people refusing to accept the election results, etc. I'm actually not too worried about any of that; the official vote count is what matters (in my head, at least).
        I ask my friends not to mock anyone's name or any other characteristic over which they have limited control in my presence, going so far as to insist on avoiding the use of "Karen" as an epithet.

        I don't expect any graciousness in defeat from Trump or from those who support him. I would be unsurprised if Trump found himself otherwise engaged and unavailable to attend the inauguration, preferably at the request of a series of grand juries with questions about his business practices as revealed in recent reporting based on his tax filings. I expect there'll be sufficient representation from our other living ex-presidents. I expect any resulting civil unrest to be highly disorganized with a lack of discipline almost guaranteed to result in incidents that will further marginalize the movement.

        The country will move on.

        And I'd add that even in the worst conceivable scenario, any disorder is sure to be less shattering than the proverbial civil war descendant from the actual civil war we've already proven we can survive and re-emerge further devoted to the founding ideals of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness under a government embracing the democratic will of its people.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Juvenal View Post
          I ask my friends not to mock anyone's name or any other characteristic over which they have limited control in my presence, going so far as to insist on avoiding the use of "Karen" as an epithet.
          I will respect that. Please remind me if I do it again.

          Originally posted by Juvenal View Post
          I don't expect any graciousness in defeat from Trump or from those who support him. I would be unsurprised if Trump found himself otherwise engaged and unavailable to attend the inauguration, preferably at the request of a series of grand juries with questions about his business practices as revealed in recent reporting based on his tax filings. I expect there'll be sufficient representation from our other living ex-presidents. I expect any resulting civil unrest to be highly disorganized with a lack of discipline almost guaranteed to result in incidents that will further marginalize the movement.

          The country will move on.

          And I'd add that even in the worst conceivable scenario, any disorder is sure to be less shattering than the proverbial civil war descendant from the actual civil war we've already proven we can survive and re-emerge further devoted to the founding ideals of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness under a government embracing the democratic will of its people.
          Optimism is refreshing. Thanks :)

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          • #6
            That is a very interesting simulation. Doing something as simple as giving Biden the one electoral college vote in Nebraska District 2 (where Biden is currently +7.1) raises the probability of Biden winning from 87% to 96%. Giving Biden either Florida or North Carolina raises the probability to 99%. Although, like Whateverman, I won't rest easy until a victor is declare, I'm hopeful that enough states will declare a victor on election night that we should know the winner by midnight Pacific Daylight Time.
            "The Republicans are the party that says government doesn't work and then they get elected and prove it." - P. J. O'Rourke

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Reepicheep View Post
              Although, like Whateverman, I won't rest easy until a victor is declare, I'm hopeful that enough states will declare a victor on election night that we should know the winner by midnight Pacific Daylight Time.
              This part is important, as it's likely Trump and his minions will attempt to force ballots not counted by midnight to be thrown out and not included- particularly important this year due to covid disrupting normal proceedings and more people mailing in this year. I fully believe they're try to push this and win through the courts, no doubt to the cheering of the usual suspects in here.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Reepicheep View Post
                That is a very interesting simulation. Doing something as simple as giving Biden the one electoral college vote in Nebraska District 2 (where Biden is currently +7.1) raises the probability of Biden winning from 87% to 96%. Giving Biden either Florida or North Carolina raises the probability to 99%. Although, like Whateverman, I won't rest easy until a victor is declare, I'm hopeful that enough states will declare a victor on election night that we should know the winner by midnight Pacific Daylight Time.
                There are way too many absentee ballot this year for most states to declare a winner on election night. (I call CA and NY for Biden right now but that's about it.) I predict of the states called on election night at least one will change when all the votes are counted.
                "For I desire mercy, not sacrifice, and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings." Hosea 6:6

                "Theology can be an intellectual entertainment." Metropolitan Anthony Bloom

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by EvoUK View Post

                  This part is important, as it's likely Trump and his minions will attempt to force ballots not counted by midnight to be thrown out and not included- particularly important this year due to covid disrupting normal proceedings and more people mailing in this year. I fully believe they're try to push this and win through the courts, no doubt to the cheering of the usual suspects in here.
                  That would require changes in the individual states' election laws which are not under any form of federal jurisdiction. He certainly can disrupt the election process, and arguably already has, but to date those disruptions have evinced his usual incompetence. The constant drumbeat against mail in voting from the president has put his party at a major disadvantage in a category of votes where they previously had a huge advantage.

                  https://www.npr.org/2020/08/31/90709...-party-s-chanc

                  https://www.politico.com/news/2020/0...g-trump-398774

                  https://www.nytimes.com/2020/09/22/u...ing-trump.html

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Reepicheep View Post
                    I'm hopeful that enough states will declare a victor on election night that we should know the winner by midnight Pacific Daylight Time.
                    Okay, but the rest of us will be on standard time by then.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Polling 101: What Happened To The Polls In 2016 — And What You Should Know About Them In 2020
                      .
                      The results of the 2016 election came as a shock to many Americans. How could Donald Trump win the presidency when he was behind in the polls? As Election Day approaches in 2020, it once again looks like the Democratic candidate is in the lead. But can we really trust what pollsters are telling us? FiveThirtyEight database journalist Dhrumil Mehta explains why you shouldn’t give up on polling.

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