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Election 2020: what the data tell us


The presidential election has been transformed by data. From key swing states and early voting to voter suppression and possible election-night chaos, Elliott Morris, our data journalist and election guru, discusses his polling predictions and answers your questions about the 2020 race for the White House.

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00:00 – An unprecedented election
00:35 – Why should we trust election predictions?
02:03 – How will the pandemic affect election predictions?
03:04 – Voter turnout in swing states
03:55 – Why we don’t use early voting data in our forecast
05:14 – Mail-in ballot rejection rates
07:38 – How long can we expect to wait for the results?
08:42 – Could the results flip after all mail-in ballots are counted?
09:39 – Will Americans accept the election result?

Further reading:

Find the Economist’s coverage of the US elections here:

Sign up to The Economist’s daily newsletter to keep up to date with our latest US election coverage:

Find The Economist’s most recent coverage of covid-19 here:

Sign up to The Economist’s weekly “Checks and Balance” newsletter to keep up to date with our coverage of American politics:

Read about concerns surrounding voter suppression in America:

Why Amy Coney Barrett’s supreme court nomination is so contentious:

Read about how religious partisanship is influencing American politics:

Read about the foreign and domestic risks that plague America’s 2020 elections:

Full story here
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  1. Nico Bruin

    No discussion of preference falsification?

  2. Tuan Pham

    Vote Trump Make American Great Again.
    Like Biden is like China Communist.
    Trump 2020

  3. Jean Peters

    Fire Trump –> Vote….
    Blue voter turnout must be
    🇺🇸 "TOO BIG TO RIG" 🇺🇸
    — Glenn Kirschner

  4. Justin Go

    If Biden doesn't win this election by fair margin, all the data companies should close down!

    1. Night Prowler

      Or stop lying

    2. AwaShinima

      mine craft

    3. Dimitri Wega

      "Fair margin" as in?

    4. Nik

      @AwaShinima mine craft

  5. Craig Keller

    Great information, well communicated.

  6. A A

    BIDEN 2020

    1. Sam195

      lock him up preferably in China

  7. JoãoLP

    It’s all a big lie.

  8. Erryday

    I've seen someone say that many of the people conducting the phone polling are Latinos and because of this Trump voters are a lot less likely to tell them that they're voting for Trump. Not sure if this could be a big effect.

  9. Lee Van Cleef


  10. wsdigest

    all the media are predominately one side story. strong bias by the media

  11. Satish Singhal

    Trump can win if impossible number of democrats do not vote. They will do that if they have certain "death wish". From early voting, I do not see that such is the case. It is foolish to think that when number of undecideds is as small, as it is this time, they will ALL vote for incumbent. All through the American history, exactly opposite has happened.

    These are the facts, that are not understood about American politics, except by few, like Prof. Allan Lichtman.

    1. Every presidential election is ONLY decided by independent voters, because they are about 41% of voters.

    2. They ONLY decide who to vote for, based on the performance of party that has been in White House in last four years. Allan Lichtman has given 13 criteria on which performance is evaluated. You can add more criteria or reduce some, but that is a fact that performance of party in White House is rigorously evaluated by those, whose vote is actually a deciding factor in the outcome.

    3. Loss of carter, George Bush senior happened because their party holding White House failed in 7 or more of those criteria. When Al Gore lost, I had predicted his loss. But, let us say, that was one year, where Lichtman's keys test may have failed, because he predicted Gore to be the winner. My analysis has shown, that if Obama had run a third term, even he would have lost white House. So, Clinton's loss was not surprising. But, I see nothing performance worthy in entire Trump four years. Independents, who actually decide presidential elections, are NOT in love or hate with Trump. They do objective analysis of performance, and Trump fails in that.

    Now my final analysis and argument. Four US presidents have been impeached so far. The fourth impeachment happened this year. But, in statistics, having three data pointing to same direction, is called a trend. The trend from impeachments is that party of impeached president ALWAYS loses the White House in the next presidential election. These are the three data points:

    1. Andrew Johnson (democrat) was impeached. In the following election, Republican Ulysses S. Grant, won the presidency, and democrats lost the white House after impeachment of president from their party.

    2. Same trend held with Nixon. Nixon, Republican was impeached, his party lost the white house in the following election.

    3. Same trend held again. Democrat Bill Clinton was impeached, and his party lost the White House in election following his impeachment.

    This trend of impeached president’s party losing White House in following election is 150 years old, and data proves it. I see no real data, that would tell me that this trend is bound to be reversed and Trump will win.

    Why does this trend exist? Reason is very simple. There are enough American, who take enough pride in their vote, that they would not vote for a candidate from a party, whose president was recently impeached. I do not know the number, but it could be as high as 15%. I do not know how many % of voter Trump is losing because of impeachment, but it cannot be a meager number like 1%. If it is in the range of even 5%, Trump is history.

    In entire 246 years on American history, only one incumbent president has overcome, the kind of poll deficit that Trump has, this close to the election. That was Harry Truman. But, case of Harry Truman was different. He came to office due to the death of Franklin Roosevelt. Thus, Truman election was not a referendum on his accomplishments. And even if was, Roosevelt- Truman four years had solid accomplishments. Dewey did get ahead in polls, but Truman erased it. Trump has tried very hard, to paint rosy picture of everything, even calling Coronavirus infection as God’s blessing. But his every attempt has failed. Independents (41% of voters), are and will till election day, will still judge, him based on his performance, and their vote (which will be election deciding), will be a referendum on what he accomplished in four years in office. If that were not the case, America would have become a horrifying banana republic long time ago. We Americans vote, hire, and fire based on performance, and not based on some silly emotions. Trump was elected by a razor thin margin, because he convinced, razor thin majority, that he will solve the problems, that Obama failed to solve. Even though Trump lied, people are in despair and believed him. That razor thin Trump majority in rust-belt swing states has already fallen apart. Democrat protest voters in 2016, came back home in 2018, and in rust-belt states, EVERY Trump supported Republican lost the election. Not only this, even in Trump states, like West Virginia, Alabama, Governorship of Kentucky, and Louisiana, everywhere else, majority of Trump supported senators and Gubernatorial candidates lost elections.

    1. Karla Watson

      Very well written and easy to digest the information. Thanks!

  12. zinocrb

    Stop and think ??? Why this guy's and others Rounds the world 🌎 Need your 🗳…they all know without your voice he or she can never be in power 🔋 to do you Harm….and lot of lies…

  13. Val Brooker


  14. Christiano Vasconcelos

    I am not even American, but can you imagine Biden winning and China finally doing whatever it wants? All the young children grabing his hairy legs while he sniff their hair.

    1. Fresh Turkey

      Hope UK can go its own way!

  15. Fresh Turkey

    Democrats proposed 7 day voting is fraudulent

  16. daniel tan

    My wish to to see trump looses and be brought to face justice for all his evils doing before he became president

    1. Sam195

      lol Trump is going to win Nobel Prizes for procuring the vaccine to beat the dreaded China virus and negotiating peace with the Middle East. The Dixiecrats want to take the right to vote away from African Americans.

  17. Tom

    If only journalists were like this we would be all better

  18. Gautam Joshi

    Every pertinent question covered, wonderfully covered and answered!

  19. Nik

    Why this guy got so many books

  20. Real Gone

    Very informative. Thank you very much

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