2020 Election Season Articles

Will Arizona Flip?
September 29, 2020
Since the familiar red-state/blue-state walls were drawn in 2000's Bush V. Gore, Arizona has voted Republican in every Presidential election. The Grand Canyon State invariably gets marked as a swing battleground every cycle, and every cycle it lands comfortably in the GOP's corner. Once again the polling suggests that Democrats will carry the day in Arizona in this year's showdown.

Arizona is the only state that was not in the tossup category already that has shown Biden polling ahead of Trump by at least three points. For this reason, it's been added to the tally of close states in the forecast map. The forecasters who think Arizona is going blue this year nearly unanimously cite a singular factor: demographics. Hillary Clinton won roughly eight out of ten Latino votes in Arizona in 2016, and the Democrats are hoping that ever-shifting demographics away from "old and White" to "young and Latino" will translate into a blue Arizona.

However, given Arizona's history of the actual vote coming in considerably more Republican than early polling would indicate, the GOP has a strong case to make for once again carrying the state. Nationwide, Donald Trump won 28% of the Latino vote in 2016, and his numbers with the demographic have only improved over the last four years. If the historical early polling inaccuracies repeat, and Trump wins at least a quarter of the Latino vote in Arizona, then it will be another easy win for the GOP.

Which way will Arizona break? Watch for quickly narrowing polls in late October. If Trump moves rapidly to match Biden's polling right near Halloween then you can assume 2016 is repeating itself and the GOP had nothing to worry about once again. If Biden's current three point lead widens, however, it could finally be the flip the Democratic Party has seen on the horizon for the last twenty years. If Biden carries Arizona, odds are he is the next President.

Biden Goes Anti-Riot
September 9, 2020
Three weeks ago, Joe Biden had a commanding lead in the polls and was keeping his mouth shut, and largely staying out of public view -- the traditional strategy of a frontrunner with a wide margin. However, public sentiment rapidly shifted against the ongoing violence taking place in America's urban areas. ANTIFA rioting in Portland entered its 100th consecutive day, there were high profile killings in Kenosha, Wisconsin and Portland, Oregon, and the overall death toll from BLM and ANTIFA rioting surpassed 30, with injuries in the thousands, hundreds of businesses burned to the ground, and property losses projected to top $2 billion. As riot-fatigue set in, Joe Biden's poll numbers began to plummet, and the RCP betting-odds average fell right along with them. Just as the betting odds fell to coin-toss territory, Biden finally made public statements against the rioting -- and it seems to have helped.

Biden's public statements that he condemns violence across-the-board "no matter who it is" appear, for now, to have stopped his precipitous fall in the polls. The betting odds are now bouncing back in Biden's favor -- sitting at around 53/47 as of today. There remains a large disconnect between state-by-state wagering on PredictIt and the contract for overall-winner, which technically represents an arbitrage opportunity, but one that is very hard to exploit because market participants can't be sure which states are wrong -- but the current contract on the overall winner signals that they know some of the state-by-state contracts surely are. For example, PredictIt participants believe that Biden has a 65% chance of Winning PA and WI (and AZ!), and a 70% chance of winning MI -- but only a a 59% chance of winning the election. If those state contracts are accurate, Joe Biden's chances of winning the election are closer to 85%. Talk about serious 2016 Déjà vu vibes.

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