Everyone will watch the results come in with an eye on something specific. Below are some insights from FIPRA USA / Alpine Group‘s vantage point about what we will have in our sights on election night.

  • Biden likely will get a boost from the absence of a viable third-party candidate on the ballot, particularly in MI, PA, and WI, where Jill Stein’s vote total exceeded Trump’s margin of victory in each of those three states in 2016.
  • The results in the key swing states may be tighter than current polling suggests. Pollsters still have difficulty getting a true sense of the percentage of non-college white males who actually will vote. These guys just don’t answer the phone when pollsters call.
  • Nate Silver’s 538 gives Joe Biden a 96 in 100 chance of winning the popular vote. If he does, but then loses the electoral college, that sound you hear will be Democrats’ heads exploding. This would be the 6th time a Democrat won the presidential popular vote, but failed to win the Presidency.
  • Watch Florida. The Sunshine State will report results quickly, and if the President doesn’t win Florida, it’s likely over.
  • My home state of South Carolina has the balance of the Senate riding on a young upstart in Jaime Harrison hoping to upset a wily veteran in Lindsey Graham. In 2016 with 67% voter turnout, Trump won SC by 300k votes or 15%. Expect voter turnout to be even higher in 2020 so even if Graham underperforms Trump by 3-4%, he still cruises to a 4th term. It’ll be a valiant effort by Harrison, but close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades.
  • If there is a “Blue Wave” I expect Democrats to take control over the Senate with a 52-vote majority. But, this year, who knows. The “wave” could be anything from a sprinkle that shrinks the margin but keeps Republicans in charge, to a flood of biblical proportions that could see 56 seats as the Dems new high-water mark.
  • I’d give Biden better odds at flipping Ohio than Georgia. Ohio is set to break its 2008 election record with likely 5.8 million voters. 1.9 million are registered as Republicans and 1.6 are registered as Democrats, and a whopping 4.5 million are unaffiliated, meaning they have never voted in a primary. These unaffiliated voters are the key to both campaigns. If Biden can pull over disaffected Trump voters and the independents in this group he will win. If they are the “shy” Trump voter they will go his way.
  • In Texas, National Democrats are looking to break the statewide drought and have targeted a low key down ballot race for the Texas Railroad Commission. Billionaire Michael Bloomberg made a late donation of $2.6 million to the Democratic nominee for railroad commissioner, Chrysta Castaneda. The contribution has enabled Castaneda to launch much needed TV commercials in every major Texas market. If there is a chink in the armor of Texas’ 26 year statewide GOP domination, keep an eye on the Chrysta Castaneda [D] vs Jim Wright [R] for Railroad Commissioner race on election night.
  • President Trump is an unconventional candidate and pollsters may be missing the so-called social-desirability bias from respondent’s (again) in the vast majority of their polling. That, and the fact that national polls do not always predict or reflect election day outcomes — since the presidency is won state by state, means we could be looking at another Trump presidency – but this time with a Democratic House and Democratic Senate. If that’s the outcome, an emboldened President Trump, and a truly divided government, buckle-up because there’s even more turbulence ahead.
  • An “Infrastructure Investment Jobs Bill” will be a top bipartisan priority for a Biden Administration and the 117th Congress. But, being a priority doesn’t guarantee rapid movement of legislation. President Trump has had nearly four years to press a proposal and Vice President Biden will likely be overtaken by issues of higher priority to his base. Infrastructure is likely to advance next year, but we should look to the summer and not the first 100 days. If the focus is there, an infrastructure bill could be on the President’s desk by Memorial Day 2021.

About FIPRA USA / Alpine Group

The Alpine Group is a government affairs consulting firm located on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C, with decades of experience in serving in senior positions in the U.S. Congress, and assisting a wide range of clients with their advocacy and government affairs needs. To know more about FIPRA in the USA, click here.

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