US election – What to watch and amateur statistician’s forecast!

For those following the US Election… here are our insights.

US Election prediction model, based on adjusting the polls for the “I’m too embarrassed to tell pollsters I vote Trump” factor from the 2016 election, and using betting markets, and which way each state has been trending the past two weeks:

Expected outcome: Biden gets 320, Trump 218 electoral college votes, with Biden winning: Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Arizona, Wisconsin, Minnesota and Michigan and Trump retaining Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Texas and Ohio.  

Betting markets prediction: Biden 306, Trump 232, with North Carolina the only state that betting markets disagree with my adjusted poll forecasts.

Worst case: 278 to Trump, 260 to Biden.  To do that, Trump would need to:

  • Win of all of the five closest states: Pennsylvania, Georgia, Florida, Arizona, North Carolina
  • AND hold Texas, Iowa and Ohio
  • OR if he fails to win any of the above, make up the college votes with one of Wisconsin, Minnesota, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire
  • Because of the way the college votes system works, if he loses Florida, he needs to win all three of Wisconsin, Michigan and Minnesota; if he loses Pennsylvania or Georgia then he needs to win two of these or Michigan and Nevada or New Hampshire

Trending: Pennsylvania, Arizona, North Carolina and Florida are rapidly swinging to Trump though all but North Carolina still just in favour of Biden. Georgia, Wisconsin and Michigan rapidly swinging to Biden.

What to watch: If you are as tragic as me and watching on the day, this is the order of timing that will tell us the outcome:

  • Florida and Pennsylvania will be the big tells.  If he loses both, its all over. 
  • If he loses one, then he needs Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota. 
  • If he loses Georgia, North Carolina or Arizona, he needs Michigan, or two of Wisconsin, Minnesota, New Hampshire, Nevada.

That said, if any of these are within 3-4%, you can expect Republicans to fight on social media first, then the courts.  Which is why stores in Washington DC and New York have already started boarding up their windows….

Craig Swanger
Executive Director



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