Election 2020: What I Think Will Happen Tonight

Look at that! We somehow made it to election day without a gigantic meteor blasting the world into oblivion. I had my doubts, because 2020, but here we are. After months (and years) of waiting, we finally get to start seeing how this is all going to play out.

A few disclaimers before I go into talking about what I personally think will happen tonight. First, I am far from an expert. I’m not a political scientist. I have no formal training in statistics or the intricacies of polling. On the other hand, I *am* a trained information professional, so I consider myself pretty good at identifying quality information and sifting through that information to reach conclusions. And I am also very, very well read for this election. I’ve regularly been on a variety of sites since January, including FiveThirtyEight, CNN, Fox News, Drudge Report, and everything in between. In other words, I have not only been reading articles I already would tend to agree with.

And from everything I’ve read, there are basically a few ways tonight will go down. Biden is up significantly in the polls, but the polls are typically off by a bit, sometimes a fair bit. So let’s run through the possibilities one at a time:

  • The polls this year are accurate. In that case, Biden has a strong win: 319 to 219 according to RealClearPolitics.
  • The polls this year are skewed in Trump’s favor, meaning the reality favors Biden even more. If that’s the case, then this is a landslide victory for Biden. 375 electoral votes or more wouldn’t be out of the question.
  • The polls this year are skewed in Biden’s favor. But even if they’re off by 2016 proportions, that’s still not enough for Trump to win. I think Biden would squeak out a win with around 275 electoral college votes.
  • The polls are just plain wrong. Either the pollsters significantly underestimated how many Republicans would turn up to vote, or the “shy Trump voters” are really a thing and have been consistently lying to pollsters. This is the one way Trump wins at this point. It will take something much more than typical polling errors.

Of course, there’s been a lot of fuss made over just how long it’s going to take us to find out who won. Weeks or months have been bandied around. The good news is that in most scenarios, I don’t think that’s going to be the case, and we should know fairly early on which scenario we’re in, since the polling has been so steady. Many of the states are well into counting their absentee ballots, and so we’ll have pretty solid totals within a few hours of polls closing. Those results will point to which reality we’re dealing with. If the polls are accurate or skewed a normal amount, Biden wins, though it may take a while to get there if they’re skewed more.

Just look at this map and play around with the results for a bit. (This page gives you an overview of when to expect final results for each state, and CNN has a guide for when polls close and what sort of results we’ll have for them.) On that first map I linked to, you can check off who’s won each state and see what that does to the probabilities overall for Trump or Biden. Kentucky and Indiana close their polls first, but they’re both heavily favored to vote for Trump. If he takes them both, his odds just go from 10% to 11%. Georgia closes at 7pm, and that’s a much bigger horse race. The good news is that they’ve already been counting absentee ballots, and so we’ll have pretty reliable numbers out of them quite quickly. If Trump wins Georgia, his odds jump up to 24%. Not a disaster for Biden, but still significant. If, on the other hand, Biden wins the state, then his odds jump to higher than 99%.

Why is that? Going into tonight, 538 only gives Biden a 58% chance of winning Georgia. He’s slightly favored, but not by much. He’s up by about 1% in poll averages on 538, and down by 1% over on RealClearPolitics. If he actually does win, that will indicate polling is generally accurate or in Biden’s favor this election cycle, which shows us which of the options we’re dealing with above.

Of course, if it’s really really close in Georgia, then we won’t be able to have a real result to rely on, and it will provide us with no insights one way or the other. So are there other states we can watch? Sure. North Carolina or Ohio. Florida (obviously). The list goes on. All it takes is to get reliable numbers in any one of the closer states for the rest to likely snap into focus. If we see the picture remaining hazy, that’s a bad sign for a quick decision.

Personally, I think we’ll see some toss ups go to Biden tonight, and I don’t think it’s going to end up being that close. Trump managed to eke out a win in 2016 primarily by being a political unknown and by racing against a very unpopular woman. This year, he’s anything but unknown when it comes to his politics, and Biden is much more likeable, and a male. I think the only thing keeping everyone on the edge of their seat is 2016 and the shock many felt when Trump won. The pollsters don’t want to get caught with their pants down, and so they’re taking pains to remain cautious.

I remember in 2012 when it was Romney vs. Obama that the Republicans were saying all the same things they’re saying now. Republicans were supposedly being underrepresented in the polls. It was all skewed to Obama. Romney would win easily. All of that, of course, turned out to be hogwash, and that was in a much closer election. The thought that there are legions of “shy Trump voters” strains the imagination. I drank the Kool-aid in 2012. I’m passing on it today.

Some of this might be because I want this over and done with. If it’s not close, there’s no prolonged legal battles. No basis for wild accusations of cheating. (Though I anticipate those regardless.) The odds say I’m right, but this is 2020, so . . . I’m probably wrong. Either way, it should be an interesting evening.


Like what you’ve read? Please consider supporting me on Patreon. Thanks to all my Patrons who support me! It only takes a minute or two, and then it’s automatic from there on out. I’ve posted the entirety of my book ICHABOD in installments, and I’m now putting up chapters from PAWN OF THE DEAD, another of my unreleased books. Where else are you going to get the undead and muppets all in the same YA package? Check it out.

If you’d rather not sign up for Patreon, you can also support the site by clicking the MEMORY THIEF Amazon link on the right of the page. That will take you to Amazon, where you can buy my books or anything else. During that visit, a portion of your purchase will go to me. It won’t cost you anything extra.

Leave a comment