Even with the 2018 Midterms and Donald Trump’s 40% or so approval numbers…..
— Our initial Electoral College ratings reflect a 2020 presidential election that starts as a Toss-up.
— We start with 248 electoral votes at least leaning Republican, 244 at least leaning Democratic, and 46 votes in the Toss-up category.
— The omissions from the initial Toss-up category that readers may find most surprising are Florida and Michigan.
— Much of the electoral map is easy to allocate far in advance: About 70% of the total electoral votes come from states and districts that have voted for the same party in at least the last five presidential elections….
We close with the final 46 electoral votes, the Toss-ups. They come from four states — Arizona, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin — as well as one congressional district, Nebraska’s Second, which is based in Omaha. Clinton carried New Hampshire by less than half a point in 2016; Trump won the rest, by less than a point in the case of Pennsylvania and Wisconsin and by 3.5 points in Arizona. If it seems like we’re splitting hairs by rating Michigan as Leans Democratic and Pennsylvania and Wisconsin as Toss-ups, we have to admit that we are. But Trump’s margin in the latter two were a tiny bit bigger than his margin in Michigan, and we think the Democrats’ path to victory in Michigan is more solvable based just on slightly better turnout, whereas the Democrats may have a little more persuasion work to do in the other two former “Blue Wall” states. Also, Democrats have generally done a little bit better in Michigan than in the other two over the past couple of decades.
Arizona, to us, is the best target for Democrats among the usually Republican Sun Belt states that have been becoming more competitive (a group that also includes Georgia, North Carolina, and Texas). Arizona’s voting is dominated by Phoenix’s Maricopa County, one of the nation’s only very populous counties that is gettable for a Republican presidential candidate. But the trendlines for Republicans in such counties are generally poor, a factor that can’t be discounted in a country where local political eccentricities are increasingly being overtaken by one-size-fits-all trends.
Indeed, these national patterns, and how they manifest themselves at the local level, will help determine this election. Larger anti-Trump trends in the big cities and suburbs could be canceled out by even bigger Trump landslides in the vast rural and small-city swathes that cover much of the most competitive states. Voting within these states is becoming more polarized on urban vs. rural grounds, but the sum total of those changes add up to an Electoral College battleground that can tilt either way.
It’s the electoral college that chooses an American President….
NOT the popular vote….
It’s WERE the votes come from ….
NOT how many…..