It's been a while since we've published a political article (regular JOTB readers may recall our groundbreaking "Politics of the Paranormal" study in 2017) and even longer since we've dipped our toes into election forecasts, but since history has consistently proven us to be more accurate than folks like Nate Silver ("Hillary Clinton has a 71% chance of winning!"), we thought we'd emerge from our psephological hibernation, put the analytical skills of our crack staff of researchers to good use (all two of us), and come up with our own prediction model for the 2020 Presidential Election based on a number of factors that the "other guys" haven't bothered to take into consideration-- such as the impact of third-party candidates, and losses and gains in state political party registrations since the last presidential election.
And what our numbers tell us is surprising, to say the least.
Although more than 70 million Americans have already cast their ballots, there will be plenty of Election Day upsets and surprises. For instance, our model shows that the outcome of the election may not hinge on the expected battleground states of Pennsylvania or Florida, but on the great state of Minnesota. And the biggest factor in the outcome of the 2020 election won't be Hunter Biden's laptop, the confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court, or Trump's handling of coronavirus-- but the ability or inability of Green Party candidate Howie Hawkins and Libertarian candidate Jo Jorgensen to obtain ballot access in several important states.
Based on our research, we make the following predictions:
-Wisconsin will flip, and its 10 electoral votes will go to Biden.
-Pennsylvania will flip, and its 20 electoral votes will go to Biden.
-Michigan will flip, and its 16 electoral votes will go to Biden.
-Minnesota will flip, and its 10 electoral votes will go to Trump.
While this seems to indicate an easy victory for Biden, our scorecard still has Donald Trump winning by a razor-thin margin, with 270 electoral votes going to Trump, and 268 going to Biden.
Here is our state-by-state breakdown:
Alabama (9 electoral votes). Trump won Alabama easily in 2016, beating Clinton 62.9% to 34.6%. He will beat Biden by an even wider margin in 2020 (T: 65% B: 31% Net result: Trump +24).
Alaska (3). Trump won by 15 points in 2016. Trump will win again in 2020, but only by 12. (T: 54% B: 42% Net result: Trump +12).
Arizona (11). While virtually every poll has Biden winning comfortably (Patinkin has Biden up by 7 points), we predict a narrow Trump victory. In fact, this will be Trump's slimmest margin of victory of the election. In 2016, Green Party candidate Jill Stein was able to siphon over 25,000 votes away from Clinton, clearing the runway for a 4-point Trump win. This time around, the Greens will have Howie Hawkins as a write-in, and Libertarian candidate Jo Jorgensen should match-- if not exceed-- Gary Johnson's 80,000 vote total from 2016. Expect Trump to beat Biden by less than 2 points. (T: 48.5% B: 47% Net result: Trump +1.5).
Arkansas (6). Easy Trump win. (T: 61% B: 32% Net result: Trump +29).
California (55). Clinton throttled Trump by 29 points in 2016. Trump takes another beating from Biden, but not as severely, as many Californians have become fed up with water shortages and blackouts. UC Berkeley has Biden up by 36, but we say it'll be closer to 25. (B: 60% T: 35% Net result: Biden +25).
Colorado (9). Trump came close in 2016, losing to Clinton by less than 3 points. Biden will widen that gap in 2020, but not by much. SurveyMonkey's poll of likely voters has Biden up by 19. It'll be less than five. (B: 49% T: 44.5% Net result: Biden +4.5).
Connecticut (7). Easy Biden victory. (B: 55% T: 41% Net result: Biden +14).
Delaware (3). Easy Biden victory, but he'll get fewer than 230,000 votes. (B: 52.5% T: 42% Net result: Biden +20.5).
District of Columbia (3). The swamp fights back, giving Biden an even larger margin of victory that Clinton's 88 points in 2016. (B: 94% T: 4% Net result: Biden +90).
Florida (29). Trump improves on his 2016 vote total, but it'll still be too close for comfort. Our hospitality industry insiders tell us that it's hard to find a hotel room because election lawyers have already snagged them up. A strong Libertarian turnout for pro-immigration candidate Jorgensen should allow her to vacuum up some potential Biden votes. We have Trump winning by 2 points. (T: 48% B: 46% Net result: Trump +2).
Georgia (16). Recent polls show a Biden surge (Civiqs had Biden up by 5), but expect Georgia's 16 electoral votes to go to Trump. (T: 52% B: 48% Net result: Trump +4).
Hawaii (4). Easy Biden win as expected. (B: 61% T: 31% Net result: Biden +30).
Idaho (4). With never-Trumper Evan McMullin MIA (he got nearly 7% of the 2016 vote), Trump eviscerates Biden. (T: 65% B: 33% Net result: Trump +22).
Illinois (20). Comfortable Biden victory. (B: 52% T: 42% Net result: Biden +10).
Indiana (11). Barrett's confirmation ought to sit well with Notre Dame alum, allowing Trump to cruise to a comfortable victory. (T: 58% B: 38.5% Net result: Trump +19.5).
Iowa (6). Latest RABA Research poll has Biden up by 4, but we say it'll be Trump by 2. (T: 50% B: 48% Net result: Trump +2).
Kansas (6). Easy Trump win. (T: 59% B: 37% Net result: Trump +12).
Kentucky (8). Easy Trump win. (T: 63% B: 34% Net result: Trump +29).
Louisiana (8). Biden's threat to kill the oil industry allows Trump to run up the score. Trump won by nearly 20 points in 2016; he'll do even better in 2020. (T: 60% B: 38% Net result: Trump +22).
Maine (3). Trump earned 1 of Maine's 3 electoral votes in 2016. Expect the same in 2020. (B: 48% T: 45% Net result: Biden +3).
Maryland (10). Easy Biden win, as many Baltimorons haven't forgotten Trump's characterization of Charm City as a rat-infested shithole. (B: 62% T: 35% Net result: Biden +27).
Massachusetts (11). Easy Biden victory. (B: 62% T: 33% Net result: Biden +29).
Michigan (16). The latest Reuters poll has Biden up by 9 in this state that Trump won in 2016. Biden will win, but the margin will be much, much slimmer, thanks to a crowded ballot with Hawkins and Jorgensen. Look for this one to be decided in court. (B: 46% T: 45% Net result: Biden +1).
Minnesota (10). Our numbers show that Trump will lose the election if he doesn't win Minnesota-- a state Clinton carried in 2016 by fewer than 44,000 votes. Fortunately for Trump, he'll have both Jorgensen and Hawkins to plunder Democrat votes; third-party and independent candidates received over 150,000 votes in 2016. Of these, slightly more than 53,000 went to never-Trump uber-conservative Evan McMullin. Since Hawkins and Jorgensen lean left, it's a safe bet that most McMullin voters have migrated to Camp Trump, thereby giving him the support he needs to close the gap. And his bromance with Mike Lindell just might give Trump the three inches of wonderful he needs to win. Despite the latest Gravis poll having Biden up by 14, we believe Trump will squeak out a narrow victory. (T: 46.5% B: 44.5% Net result: Trump +2).
Mississippi (6). Big Trump win. (T: 61% B: 37% Net result: Trump +24).
Missouri (10). Big Trump win. (T: 58% B: 38% Net result: Trump +20).
Montana (3). Trump win. (T: 55% B: 37% Net result: Trump +18).
Nebraska (5). Big Trump win. (T: 59% B: 34% Net result: Trump +25).
Nevada (6). Clinton eked out a 26,000-vote victory in 2016, even without Stein on the ballot. Once again there won't be a Green Party candidate to play spoiler, so the results should be eerily similar-- even if the latest Siena College poll of likely voters has Biden up by 6. The margin will be less than 3. (B: 47% T: 44.5% Net result: Biden +2.5).
New Hampshire (4). Trump's promise to end the state's opioid epidemic allowed him to get within 2,800 votes of Clinton in 2016. Considering he didn't make good on that promise, look for Biden to carry the Granite State. (B: 48% T: 46% Net result: Biden +2).
New Jersey (14). Clinton carried the Garden State by 13 points in 2016. We don't believe much will change in 2020. (B: 55% T: 42% Net result: Biden +13).
New Mexico (5). Comfortable Biden victory. (B: 47% T: 43% Net result: Biden +4).
New York (29). Biden will underperform Clinton, but it'll still be enough to cruise to victory. (B: 55% T: 40% Net result: Biden +15).
North Carolina (15). Although pundits and pollsters are keeping a close eye on this one (Trafalgar has Trump up by 3, while CBS has Biden up by 4), it'll be no contest. Trump wins by a safe margin. (T: 51% B: 47% Net result: Trump +4).
North Dakota (3). Big Trump win. (T: 65% B: 30% Net result: Trump +35).
Ohio (18). Recent polls show Trump pulling away from Biden, and we agree. We don't even see this as a battleground state anymore. Biden will receive fewer votes than Clinton did in 2016. (T: 54% B: 44% Net result: Trump +10).
Oklahoma (7). Only two things come from Oklahoma-- steers and Republicans. And since Biden doesn't look like much of a steer to us, we predict a 40-point Trump rout. (T: 67% B: 27% Net result: Trump +40).
Oregon (7). One might think the Antifa problem in Portland would give Trump a fighting chance, but it won't. If liberal Oregonians sat on their duffs in 2016, they won't do it again in 2020. Biden will outperform Clinton. (B: 53% T: 41% Net result: Biden +22).
Pennsylvania (20). We see the Keystone State flipping from red to blue in 2020. We ought to know-- we live here. The problem for Republicans is a federal court ruling earlier this year which effectively made it impossible for third-party candidates to obtain ballot access (see Libertarian Party of PA v. Gov. Wolf). While the Libertarians somehow managed to obtain the petition signatures necessary to secure Jorgensen's spot on the ballot, the Green Party wasn't so lucky. Green party candidate Jill Stein stole 49,000 votes from Hillary Clinton in 2016. The result? Trump won Pennsylvania by only 68,236 votes. And while the Libertarians have a candidate on the ballot, the Constitution Party does not. In 2016, Darrell Castle managed to nab 20,896 votes. Since the 2020 candidate, Dan Blankenship, failed to secure ballot access we're predicting a slim Biden win, bolstered by what we predict will be record-setting Democrat turnout. And, for the record, there are more registered Democrats in Pennsylvania than Republicans. (B: 48% T: 47% Net result: Biden +1).
Rhode Island (4). Easy Biden win. (B: 57% T: 39% Net result: Biden +18).
South Carolina (9). Convincing Trump win. (T: 56% B: 41% Net result: Trump +15).
South Dakota (3). Trump wins hugely. (T: 63% B: 31% Net result: Trump +32).
Tennessee (11). Biden loses bigly. (T: 63% B: 32% Net result: Trump +31).
Texas (38). Hold onto your ten-gallon hats because this one will be closer than you think. Trump won by 9 last time around, but this time he won't. (T: 51% B: 45% Net result: Trump +6).
Utah (6). Will Mitt Romney's feud with trump affect the outcome? Nope. Turns out, many Utahans can't stand Romney, either. And now that McMullin's 207,000 supporters from 2016 have crawled back to the ranch with their tails between their legs, expect a Trump blowout. (T: 67% B: 27% Net result: Trump +40).
Vermont (3). Big Trump win. Just kidding. (B: 59% T: 33% Net result: Biden +26).
Virginia (13). Close, but Biden pulls it off. (B: 48% T: 46% Net result: Biden +2).
Washington (12). Big Biden victory. (B: 56% T: 38% Net result: Biden +18).
West Virginia (5). After the last debate, Biden couldn't win here with a black lung diagnosis and a dulcimer. (T: 70% B: 25% Net result: Trump +50).
Wisconsin (10). Trump bested Clinton here by 1 point in 2016. This time around, the script will be flipped. The latest SurveyMonkey poll shows Biden leading by 13, but we say it's going to be another 1-point decision. Why? Because Howie Hawkins will not be on the ballot. Count on those 31,000 Green Party voters to vote for Biden. (B: 48% T: 47% Net result: Biden +1).
Wyoming (3). Trump will have a field day here. (T: 77% B: 21% Net result: Trump +56).