Straw Puppy’s POTUS Polls: OCT20-21

Those drapes really bring the room together.

Every Wednesday morning (Au/NZ)/Tuesday evening (other places), Straw Puppy presents a post for people to provide their startling insights, general commentary and pleas of ‘please let this horror show be over soon’ about the United States Presidential Election.

Also, you don’t HAVE to talk about the election. There are no rules here only the arbitrary whims of a cat’s dream of a dog.

More sensibly the current FiveThirtyEight aggregate of polls is here

30 thoughts on “Straw Puppy’s POTUS Polls: OCT20-21

  1. (Profile: American, Gen X, center-left Democrat)

    Right now on Twitter, many Democrats are looking back to 2016 and suffering a fearful wave of deja vu, because Hillary looked like a lock to many people four years ago in October until she was defeated the next month. This fear is not necessarily a bad thing, since it it is keeping Dems sharp until there is a victor in 2020 (and perhaps beyond).

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I’m not convinced that this kind of fear is serving any useful purpose. Does anyone really think that anyone who actually cares about the outcome of this election is going to become so complacent that they stop doing helpful things they otherwise would have done? In THIS election?


    2. I mean, there’s no way to tell people they shouldn’t wordy at all – it’s natural. It may not even be worth pointing out that the 2020 polls have never been anywhere near as close as the 2016 polls, or other ways that 2020 doesn’t resemble 2016, because there’s always the “yes but what if they fix the vote” type of fear. But I think it is worth distinguishing between psychologically inevitable anxiety and some kind of duty to be constantly scared, or to superstitiously avoid ever saying that any apparent good signs might be good signs. And I’m seeing a lot of that.


    1. Off to be his Big Daddy Vladdy’s pet, safely out of extradition. I wonder if the kids are going too?

      Russian oligarchs have the same terrible taste in decor he does, and the same lack of vegetables in the diet, so he’ll fit right in. Except for the booze. But I’m sure they also do his favorite drugs.


  2. At this point, I’m pretty confident Biden will win, but i really, really, want to see a big enough win that we get a peaceful transfer of power. I want that more than I want a Democratic Senate, and I want that a whole lot too. 🙂

    Liked by 4 people

  3. I guess with the polling looking good the question is a philosophical one about probability. Were the forecasts last time basically correct ie Hillary had a high chance of winning but essentially rolled a 4 on a D20 when she had to roll at least a 5 or were the forecasts basically wrong and confused Hillary’s marginally greater popularity with a higher chance of winning when in reality Trump had outplayed her campaign at the state level?

    Part of what makes me hopeful is that Trump has shown no skill at anything other than getting away with things. Also, his 2016 campaign was replete with reprehensible but skilful election cheats (Manafort, Stone, Bannon) who are with Trump anymore for a multitude of reasons. I’m sure they have been replaced with equally appalling people but are they equally skillful?


    1. If Hillary rolled a D12, she had to roll 5 or better to win, and she rolled something like a 3. Biden just needs to not roll a 1. (Based on Nate Silver’s numbers at

      I just worry that if Biden rolls 6 or less, the opposition won’t accept defeat peacefully.

      Liked by 2 people

    2. IIRC the Comey letter probably shifted quite a few votes towards the very end. And I think that kind of shift is less likely this year – because the engagement and polarization is so strong that it would take a bigger bombshell to make people change their mind.

      But there may come a bigger bomshell. Or they polls may simply be wrong. Pollsters may be weighing respondents incorrectly. Respondents may be shy enough about declaring themselves Trump voters that they say “undecided” instead. Or something.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Yeah, I think the polls are massively undercounting people who are going to vote for the Cheater-In-Chief, because his less-rabid supporters have just enough of a sense of shame to be embarrassed to tell a pollster who they’re voting for. It happened last time.

        (Anyone who’s actually undecided at this point needs to have their vote taken away for being too willfully stupid.)

        Liked by 1 person

      2. lurkertype: I’ve never seen a good case made for the idea that there are significant numbers of “embarrassed” Trump supporters who lie in polls. I could maybe imagine that more in 2016, when he was considered kind of a crass joke, than in 2020 when he’s the president and has a very vocal and unapologetic cult of personality. But I haven’t seen reason to believe that that’s what happened in 2016 either.


      3. Not saying there isn’t any, just that whenever I’ve seen this argument, it’s been backed up mostly by hand-waving. What’s the basis for “massively”?


      4. Also, the place were Trump voters would be most shy would be in safe Democratic states – that may artificially deflate his predicted popular vote total but not impact the EC


      5. Also, if the idea is that they’re falsely claiming to be undecided – many of the polls are showing such a wide gap that Biden could win even if every “undecided” voter went for Trump (and even assuming they all voted, which most don’t).


    3. “Part of what makes me hopeful is that Trump has shown no skill at anything other than getting away with things”

      Although elsewhere I’ve talked about why various things aren’t (to me) the best reasons to worry, I’d say this one is not really a great reason *not* to worry.

      I believe that the greatest risks, possibly the *only* significant risks at this point, do not involve politics in the usual sense or even political dirty tricks of the kind Stone and Bannon practiced. It’s voter suppression and fraud. Trump and his direct hires, who are indeed pretty incompetent, aren’t the drivers for that; it’ll be about state-level government, and possibly to some degree private would-be brownshirts (though I don’t know that the latter have anywhere near the numbers to be broadly effective). And that’s not only about loyalty to Trump – they’re highly motivated to hold onto Congress and state legislatures.


      1. Eli: OK, not massive. I stand by the stupidity, though.

        They are really worried about the slight possibility of losing control of the Senate, no matter who wins the presidency. And since state legislatures do the redistricting for House seats, and Democratic state legislatures tend to get rid of a lot of egregious gerrymandering, there are a lot of down-ticket righties who need some dirty tricks and thuggery to keep on the gravy train.

        Abolishing the Electoral College would sure help balance things more towards We the People. I’d also like to see Senate seats allocated by population, not land area. And Santa to bring me a pony.


      2. @lurkertype:
        Of course they are. Mitch McConnell’s ability to control the Senate is, if anything, far more of an advantage to those Republicans who still think long-term than Trump is. McConnell himself gives every impression of considering Trump a useful idiot; his primary goal is the permanent Republican control of the government and stripping of any useful regulatory apparatus, which would definitely help his wife’s family as well.

        Trump is all about ‘me!’ McConnell is all about power and pulling the ladder up after him so nobody else can be at his back.

        Liked by 1 person

    4. Are you just being polite about Manafort, Stone and Bannon? There aren’t a “multitude of reasons” they aren’t with trump anymore. The reason is that they’re all in jail, or have been arrested.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. According to the only person I know who works on electoral campaigns as a professional, the tightening of the polls is real (as in, it tracks with the campaign’s internal polling).

    As we all know, prediction is hard—especially about the future. That said, I am less optimistic than I was a couple days ago.

    (To be clear, this is second hand. My friend is not working on the Biden campaign, and does not live in a swing state, but if that’s what his contacts are saying, then I believe him.)


  5. From what I understand, the last formal step in declaring the new president is that Congress holds a joint session of both chambers. In that session, they tally the electoral college votes from the states, and if everything is normal they declare the candidate with more than 270 votes the winner.

    But: Members of Congress can raise objections to the votes from a state. If that objection gets enough votes, the votes from that state is rejected. The last time this actually happened was after the Civil War, so it’s not normal, but there’s a procedure for it. There where also objections in 2000 and 2004, but they didn’t lead to any votes being rejected.

    (And if enough votes are rejected, it’s possible for no candidate to get more than 270 EC votes, and if that happens the election rules changes considerably.)

    So my questions for people with a better understanding of US civics than me is: Is it possible that this procedure becomes an issue this year? Does Republicans have any chance at all of getting EC votes for Biden rejected?


    1. 100 senators split 53 R, 47 D & 2 independents. 435 Reps split 197 R, 232 D, 1 L. 268 needed for a majority of both houses which the D’s have.
      I don’t know how the rules work but the D’s would have the advantage numerically.


      1. The current procedure involves separate votes in each House. But it’s the new Congress that does the voting, so it’s too soon to say what the Senate composition will be. (If Democrats have control of both chambers they can broadly overrule Republican objections.)

        Liked by 1 person

      2. @Martin Pyne:
        It occurs to me that having the new Congress voting on whether or not there was fraud in the same election that put them into power has some inherent problems if there actually was party-organized voter fraud, because they’d have reason to cover it up.

        Granted, having the old Congress voting on this has inherent problems as well because they have more reason to claim there was voter fraud even if there wasn’t.

        And this sort of thing is why most civilized countries have a civil service-level election office that is deliberately not staffed by anybody from any of the actual parties. (And also why Ruth Bader Ginsburg, to the howling of lots of America First-ers, said back in 2012 that new countries writing their constitutions should look to more recent and better examples than the American one.)

        Liked by 1 person

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