So What Will Happen Next Week?

“What you plan and what takes place ain’t ever exactly been similar.” – Jayne Cobb

As I write this, we’re five days away from November 3. The last potential turning point in the election – the release of 3rd quarter GDP numbers – has come and gone, largely without apparent impact.

Does that mean we know what we’ll see on election night and after, based upon present polls? Maybe, maybe not, it depends in part on the poll aggregator one prefers (I go with 538 myself), as well as what one thinks regarding momentum and late-breaking voters. Mix it all up and you can have a pretty decent picture of what’s going to happen …

… or, you can have mine.

Disclaimers done, here we go.

President: Contrary to the concerns of many, all sorts of states can be projected on the evening of 3 November or the wee hours of 4 November. They’re just not “swing” states.

By dawn on Wednesday, I suspect we’ll know that Joe Biden has won every state carried by Hillary Clinton in 2016 except Maine (I think Democrats are being under-polled in Nevada and the COVID spike in the upper Midwest will push Minnesota well out of contestable territory).

By contrast, Trump will have locked down the following: Alaska, Idaho, Wyoming, Utah, the Dakotas, Nebraska (except for Omaha’s district), Kansas, Oklahoma, Indiana, Kentucky, West Virginia, South Carolina, Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee, Arkansas, and Louisiana.

Some of the states not mentioned (Texas, North Carolina, Ohio, Florida, Georgia, and Arizona) have been processing mail-in ballots for at least a couple weeks, which means their results should come in fairly quickly. As much as I’d like to see Biden win Texas, I can’t bring myself to see it. The rest are another matter.

Biden is moving in the right direction in Georgia, while the Monmouth poll in Florida was his best in some time. They’re both tricky, but I see Biden winning them. North Carolina and Ohio will be closer, and thus take longer to sort out. Arizona won’t be. It moved strongly towards the Democrats in 2018 and I see nothing to show it’s slowing down.

For Biden that would mean 286 Electoral votes and victory, with Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania able to finish their counts in relative peace (under state law, they can’t process their mail-in ballots yet).

Florida is, of course, the key factor here. If I’m wrong on that one, we’re in for a longer ride, although Biden would still be at 241 even without Florida or Georgia, and I do think Michigan, Wisconsin, Maine (At-large and Coastal), and Omaha (30 electoral votes in total) will easily go his way. It’s just a matter of getting the ballots counted (or, in Maine’s case, sorting out second preferences).

Senate: I see Democratic pick-ups in Colorado, Arizona, and North Carolina on election night, while the GOP regains Alabama. I’m not sure who wins in Iowa (either at the presidential or Senatorial level), but I think Trump’s isolationism will be just enough to pull the GOP across the line in both races. Susan Collins will lose in Maine, but it’ll take longer to be made official due to the second preference counting. Neither Georgia seat will be declared, meaning we’ll have a double runoff in January with a 50-48 Democratic Senate.

House: Nationally, this is obvious: the Democrats maintain their majority. Do they increase it? That’ll be decided in part by Virginia’s Congressional elections. I see Luria and Spanberger holding their seats. The real question is if Good can hold the 5th. Despite his best efforts, I say he does.

In other words, I suspect this election will be more definitive – and boring – then many others think.

Please note, however, I said “suspect” – not “predict.” There’s a reason for that.

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