We should know relatively quickly whether it’s going to be a bad night for Trump or a bad night for pollsters.
Polls close at 7 pm Eastern time (5 pm local time here in Montana) in Kentucky, Indiana, Georgia, South Carolina, Vermont and Virginia.
Kentucky, Indiana and South Carolina should be safely in the Trump column, while Vermont and Virginia are safe for Biden.
Georgia is the state where pollsters (and Democrats) have placed their first bet against Trump. Last week Biden was supposedly up by 4; now he is down by 4. If Trump wins by more than 4 points, it is a sign that the older polls were badly over-inflating Biden’s support. That will be a clue for how the night will go.
If Biden were to actually win Georgia, I think it’s pretty much over for Trump. That is a tiny probability however. Chances are the older polls were wildly skewed in Biden’s favor, and the pollsters jiggered them back to reality over the last week. I’d guess that if Trump only wins Georgia by 1-2 points, it’s going to be a long night.
Polls close at 7:30 ET in North Carolina and Ohio, two states which Democrats had hoped to steal out of a Trump’s column from 2016. No Republican can afford to lose Ohio, so it’s crucial. Two polls out on Monday were mirror opposites. One had Trump up by 4, and one had Biden up by 4. My guess is it’s probably a lock for Trump. If the poll favoring Biden turns out to be out of whack, then we can chalk it up as more evidence the pollsters have been lying all along. But if Trump is winning by less that 4, it could be a sign of trouble in battleground states later in the evening. Trump won by 8 last time around.
North Carolina could be the bellwether among the early states. Democrats are slobbering over this great big prize, and if they pull ahead, it’s a very dangerous sign for Republicans. Trump needs to win by 4 to have a chance to pull Sen. Thom Tillis across the finish line in a hotly contested race with philanderer Cal Cunningham for control of the Senate.
Florida polls close at 7 pm in the bulk of the state as well. Biden should have a lead with the Miami-Dade vote, but when the conservative Panhandle comes in at 8, you can bet Trump’s percentage will surge.
Polls close at 8 pm ET in the rest of Florida, Pennsylvania and New Hampshire, among other states, and these could settle the night. Florida again is a must-win for Trump. If he wins by 2 points or more, it’s a very good sign. The Trump team hopes to pull NH out of the Dem column. I’m skeptical that can happen, but if it does, Katie bar the door! That fabled Trump landslide might really be within reach.
Of course everyone knows how important Pennsylvania is, but we may not have a result for days, as late counting is legal in the Keystone State. Still if early results show anything less that a 4 point lead for Biden, I think there is reason to hope for Trump. GOP voters traditionally vote on Election Day, so they might be able to overcome any Biden lead from early voting.
Of course, that brings up the vital caveat of the night. States count there votes in different ways, and there will be no way to be sure whether early votes are skewing the results or not, so take all the results before the 80-percent-counted mark with a grain of salt.
I’ll check back in later tonight when we get some real trends, but in the meantime, this is what to look for.
Fingers crossed for that Trump landslide!
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