With numerous national and battleground-state polls pointing to a supposedly decisive victory for Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, some progressive pundits seem to be — like in 2016 — prematurely celebrating an Election Day victory.
Two weeks before ballots are counted, however, numerous factors are causing anxiety among Democratic Party operatives that President Donald Trump could again surprise the so-called experts with a win over his heavily favored opponent, as reported by PJ Media.
“Anything but a normal election”
There are several issues reportedly being discussed behind the scenes that could spell trouble for the Biden campaign, including GOP gains in voter registrations and party affiliation.
Among the other potential pitfalls is early evidence that Trump is keeping pace with Biden in early and mail-in ballot counts despite an expected surge of Trump voters at the polls on Election Day.
Politico recently dedicated a lengthy piece to the possible impact of such unknown factors, despite a cautious conclusion that Biden still has a slight advantage in the final days of the campaign.
“There are more known unknowns than we’ve ever had at any point,” said Tom Bonier, CEO of the Democratic Party-aligned data firm TargetSmart. “The instruments we have to gauge this race, the polling, our predictive models … the problem is all those tools are built around quote-unquote normal elections. And this is anything but a normal election.”
In a recent conference call, Bonier cautioned Democratic Party state chairs that “small variations” in any of several predictors, particularly regarding voter turnout, could swing the election in Trump’s favor.
“Then they say we’re tied”
A long-term Gallup survey found that, as of late last month, Republicans outnumbered Democrats 28% to 27% in self-reported party affiliation with 42% declaring themselves independent.
Four years ago, Democrats were ahead of Republicans 31% to 27%, with independents making up 36%. Nevertheless, Trump defied the odds and won.
In terms of new-voter registration, an area in which Democrats have historically performed well, it is the GOP that has outpaced expectations — at least in certain key battleground states. The Baltimore Sun reported that Republicans have managed to close the gap with Democrats in places like Florida, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania.
Finally, and despite heavy Democratic Party support for mail-in voting amid the ongoing pandemic, the Washington Examiner recently reported that voting data in several key toss-up states showed the GOP competitive with Democrats in terms of returned ballots and early votes.
The president offered his own cause for optimism during a campaign rally in Nevada on Sunday: “I go out, we get 35,000. 40,000, 25,000, 15,000. We go boom, 15,000, we get the biggest crowds in the history of politics. … We get these massive crowds, he gets nobody and then they say we are tied.”