June 24, 2020

Polling shift is bad news for president Trump

Since I first published my thoughts on the 2020 race for the presidency, there has been a slight shift and it is not good news for president Trump. Then again, it's not really what I would consider a significant shift. The one state that has changed has moved to Joe Biden's column and it's a state that president Trump won in 2016 - Michigan.

Here's the situation, every swing state for which I have assessed the polls, and there are 14 of them, none of them have run polls that have met a reasonable criteria for inclusion in predicting the state as an electoral college win for either candidate Trump or Biden. The polls are polling registered voters instead of Likely Voters, or they are too small of a sample or they may have a large margin of error or be a polling outfit that FiveThirtyEight deems untrustworthy or having a failing grade due to the standards applied or the polls are simply too old to be relevant. And my criteria right now are looser than they would be come October.

The main point to take away is that most every poll so far is useless. But there has been one change as I mentioned, Michigan has swung to Joe Biden's column. Now that said there were only two polls that were worth keeping: Trafalgar Group and EPIC-MRA. The former, and most recent (and a Republican affiliated pollster) had Biden ahead by one point. The latter is 3 weeks old which is not too old, but it had Biden ahead by 16 points. I have not seen the internals on the polls - how it was weighted between Republicans, Democrats and Independents - but I am very suspicious of the polls, despite it otherwise meeting my inclusion criteria.

Because there is more than one poll for the state the weighted average of the two polls was applied and I have Biden at 53% of the votes, and thus winning the state and putting him over 200 electoral college votes. But common sense says to discount that result. Two polls with a 15 point swing clearly indicate a problem somewhere. Conversely both polls have Biden ahead, and despite being more recent, the Republican poll of likely voters still had Joe Biden ahead. It's a concern, but it's not a crisis at this point.

For what it's worth, here's what it looks like to me right now:

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