Polls Are Tightening: Trump Will Deliver Stunning Upset (Update 2)

Inan Dogan, PhD
·9 min read

This is my second follow-up article about the presidential election polls and predictions about the election results. You can read the last article here.

Polls are usually accurate in predicting the outcome of presidential elections. There are two exceptions. When the outcome of the election depends on the results of a single state like Florida and there are only a few thousand votes separating the both candidates. The other exception is when the respondents of a poll don't reveal their true intentions to the pollsters. This is what happened four years ago. Poll aggregators like Fivethirtyeight failed miserably in predicting the outcome of the 2016 elections.

Right before the 2016 presidential election, on November 7th, Fivethirtyeight estimated that Hillary Clinton had a 67% chance of winning the election. Yet, Donald Trump crushed Hillary. Take a look at this screenshot of Fivethirtyeight's website from November 7, 2016 (the day before the 2016 election):

Who Will Win The Presidency?
Who Will Win The Presidency?

Today, Fivethirtyeight thinks Biden has an 87% chance of winning the election. An almost slam dunk case. I disagree.

Donald Trump is a controversial figure. He doesn't come across as a nice person towards his opponents. Hi lies, he cheats, he plays dirty to win. That's why some Trump supporters don't feel comfortable admitting to anyone that they support Trump. This was the case in 2016 when we weren't really sure what kind of a person Donald Trump is. Today, everyone has a clear idea about who Donald Trump is. For some voters it is more embarrassing than ever to admit that they support Trump. So, it is very possible that the percent of Trump supporters who don't reveal their true intentions to pollsters actually went up over the last 4 years.

Right now fivethirtyeight estimates that Joe Biden has an eight point lead over Donald Trump nationally. This is an almost meaningless statistics. It doesn't matter whether 51% of California supports Biden or 99%. Biden might be increasing his lead over Trump in blue states, but there are only a handful of battleground states that'll determine the outcome of this election and these are the only states that matter today.

We have indirect evidence that Donald Trump has more supporters in these states than what the polls are estimating. First, Donald Trump draws much larger crowds than Joe Biden does. His supporters are so excited about seeing him that they don't mind taking a chance with the coronavirus. Second, I noticed that Youtube videos about Donald Trump generates multiples of the views that Biden videos generate. Third, even though Trump has numerous corruption "incidences" under his belt, the media is obsessed about Hunter Biden's laptop 9 days before the election. There’s always an October surprise. Last time it was the Comey disclosure. This time it is Hunter Biden. Yeah, I know it doesn't even compare to the way Donald Trump uses the presidency for personal profit. However, Joe Biden failed to brand Trump as the most corrupt politician ever, whereas Donald Trump's team is extremely skillful at fabricating a corruption scandal that will probably sway the election in Trump's favor.

Because of these reasons, I think polls will be proven wrong again and Donald Trump will deliver another stunning upset. Now, let's quantify this.

Florida will probably determine the outcome of this presidential election again. A week ago fivethirtyeight estimated that Joe Biden was ahead by 3.4 points. Today Biden's lead is cut down to 2.4 points. You will notice that Biden opened the margin after Trump's diagnosis at the beginning of October and it has been declining over the last couple of weeks.

Florida Poll Results October 25
Florida Poll Results October 25

Now take a look at the results of recent Florida polls below. The polls that are conducted in the last 5 days show a much tighter margin. There are a total of 4 polls during the last 5 days and Donald Trump is actually leading Joe Biden by an average of 0.75 points. Please keep in mind that these polls are still BIASED. Four years ago fivethirtyeight predicted that Trump would win Florida by 0.1 points, but Trump won Florida by 1.2 points. If we assume that fivethirtyeight's current BIAS is also 1.1 points in favor of Biden, we can see that Trump will win Florida by 1.75 points if elections were held today (last 4 polls' average is 0.75 points for Trump plus 1.1 bias points for Trump will give us 1.75 points Trump victory). That's why I currently believe that Trump will win Florida, not Biden.

In this article I am going to assume that the current polls in each state have the same bias as they had in 2016 and I will adjust the current poll results to estimate the true intentions of the voters. At the end of this article, we will have a better idea about who will win the presidency.

1. Alabama

Fivethirtyeight 2016 prediction: Trump wins by 21.6 points

Actual result: Trump won by 27.7 points

Fivethirtyeight 2020 prediction: Trump wins by 19.4 points

Insider Monkey Prediction: Trump wins by 25.5 points

Trump: 9 - Biden:0

2. Alaska

Fivethirtyeight 2016 prediction: Trump wins by 7.3 points

Actual result: Trump won by 14.7 points

Fivethirtyeight 2020 prediction: Trump wins by 7.6 points

Insider Monkey Prediction: Trump wins by 15 points

Trump: 12 - Biden:0

3. Arizona**

Fivethirtyeight 2016 prediction: Trump wins by 3.3 points

Actual result: Trump won by 3.5 points

Fivethirtyeight 2020 prediction: Trump loses by 2.3 points (A week ago this prediction was 3.1 points in favor of Biden, so polls are tightening.)

Insider Monkey Prediction: Trump wins by 0.0 points

Trump: 23 - Biden:0

4. Arkansas

Fivethirtyeight 2016 prediction: Trump wins by 19.8 points

Actual result: Trump won by 26.9 points

Fivethirtyeight 2020 prediction: Trump wins by 20.6 points

Insider Monkey Prediction: Trump wins by 27.7 points

Trump: 29 - Biden:0

5. California

Fivethirtyeight 2016 prediction: Trump loses by 22.5 points

Actual result: Trump lost by 30.1 points

Fivethirtyeight 2020 prediction: Trump loses by 29.6 points

Insider Monkey Prediction: Trump loses by 37.2 points

Trump: 29 - Biden:55

6. Colorado

Fivethirtyeight 2016 prediction: Trump loses by 3.4 points

Actual result: Trump lost by 4.9 points

Fivethirtyeight 2020 prediction: Trump loses by 12 points

Insider Monkey Prediction: Trump loses by 13.5 points

Trump: 29 - Biden:64

7. Connecticut

Fivethirtyeight 2016 prediction: Trump loses by 11.1 points

Actual result: Trump lost by 13.6 points

Fivethirtyeight 2020 prediction: Trump loses by 22.9 points

Insider Monkey Prediction: Trump loses by 25.4 points

Trump: 29 - Biden:71

8. Delaware

Fivethirtyeight 2016 prediction: Trump loses by 12.2 points

Actual result: Trump lost by 11.4 points

Fivethirtyeight 2020 prediction: Trump loses by 25.2 points

Insider Monkey Prediction: Trump loses by 24.4 points

Trump: 29 - Biden:74

9. District of Columbia

Fivethirtyeight 2016 prediction: Trump loses by 70.8 points

Actual result: Trump lost by 86.8 points

Fivethirtyeight 2020 prediction: Trump loses by 83.3 points

Insider Monkey Prediction: Trump loses by 87 points

Trump: 29 - Biden:77

10. Florida**

Fivethirtyeight 2016 prediction: Trump wins by 0.1 points

Actual result: Trump won by 1.2 points

Fivethirtyeight 2020 prediction: Trump loses by 2.4 points

Insider Monkey Prediction: Trump wins by 1.75 points (we explained above how we estimated this margin)

Trump: 58 - Biden:77

11. Georgia

Fivethirtyeight 2016 prediction: Trump wins by 4.7 points

Actual result: Trump won by 5.1 points

Fivethirtyeight 2020 prediction: Trump wins by 0.5 points (A week ago fivethirtyeight was predicting a Biden victory, so polls are tightening).

Insider Monkey Prediction: Trump wins by 1.8+ points

Trump: 74 - Biden:77

12. Hawaii

Fivethirtyeight 2016 prediction: Trump loses by 24.5 points

Actual result: Trump lost by 32.2 points

Fivethirtyeight 2020 prediction: Trump loses by 34.4 points

Insider Monkey Prediction: Trump loses by 41.6 points

Trump: 74 - Biden:81

13. Idaho

Fivethirtyeight 2016 prediction: Trump wins by 21.1 points

Actual result: Trump won by 31.8 points

Fivethirtyeight 2020 prediction: Trump wins by 23.1 points

Insider Monkey Prediction: Trump wins by 33.8 points

Trump: 78 - Biden:81

14. Illinois

Fivethirtyeight 2016 prediction: Trump loses by 12.8 points

Actual result: Trump lost by 17.1 points

Fivethirtyeight 2020 prediction: Trump loses by 18.4 points

Insider Monkey Prediction: Trump loses by 22.7 points

Trump: 78 - Biden:101

15. Indiana

Fivethirtyeight 2016 prediction: Trump wins by 11.9 points

Actual result: Trump won by 19.2 points

Fivethirtyeight 2020 prediction: Trump wins by 10.4 points

Insider Monkey Prediction: Trump wins by 17.9 points

Trump: 89 - Biden:101

16. Iowa

Fivethirtyeight 2016 prediction: Trump wins by 3.3 points

Actual result: Trump won by 9.4 points

Fivethirtyeight 2020 prediction: Trump wins by 0.1 points

Insider Monkey Prediction: Trump wins by 6.2 points

Trump: 95 - Biden:101

17. Kansas

Fivethirtyeight 2016 prediction: Trump wins by 13.2 points

Actual result: Trump won by 20.6 points

Fivethirtyeight 2020 prediction: Trump wins by 10.8 points

Insider Monkey Prediction: Trump wins by 18.2 points

Trump: 101 - Biden:101

18. Kentucky

Fivethirtyeight 2016 prediction: Trump wins by 18.9 points

Actual result: Trump won by 29.8 points

Fivethirtyeight 2020 prediction: Trump wins by 19.2 points

Insider Monkey Prediction: Trump wins by 30.1 points

Trump: 109 - Biden:101

19. Louisiana

Fivethirtyeight 2016 prediction: Trump wins by 16.4 points

Actual result: Trump won by 19.6 points

Fivethirtyeight 2020 prediction: Trump wins by 15.8 points

Insider Monkey Prediction: Trump wins by 19 points

Trump: 117 - Biden:101

20. Maine

Maine isn't a "winner-take-all" state. The winner of the popular vote will get 2 electoral votes and the winner of each of two districts will get 1 electoral vote. It is near certain that Biden will win the statewide race and the first district. The only competitive race is in the second district. Fivethirtyeight thinks Trump will win this district by 0.9 points. We agree. Here are the stats for the entire state:

Fivethirtyeight 2016 prediction: Trump loses by 6.2 points

Actual result: Trump lost by 3.0 points

Fivethirtyeight 2020 prediction: Trump loses by 11.9 points

Insider Monkey Prediction: Trump loses by 8.7 points

Trump: 118 - Biden:104

21. Maryland

Fivethirtyeight 2016 prediction: Trump loses by 26.6 points

Actual result: Trump lost by 26.4 points

Fivethirtyeight 2020 prediction: Trump loses by 31 points

Insider Monkey Prediction: Trump loses by 30.8points

Trump: 118 - Biden:114

Click to continue reading and see the rest of the estimates.

Disclosure: This article is originally published at Insider Monkey.