It’s a tight race

The winner won’t be known for at least a day or more, but it is clear it is a far tighter race than projected as once again Trump has exceeded the polls in at least some states. It is unclear if this is due to local issues (large increase in support from Cuban Americans in Florida) or is more across the board.

I thought it would be useful to look at the states declared, and see how these have impacted the projected chance of victory for Trump in the 538 model.

  • Start of night: Trump 10%
  • Trump retains Florida: 33%
  • Trump retains Iowa: 37%
  • Trump retains Ohio: 42%
  • Trump retains Texas: 44%
  • Biden flips Arizona: 20%
  • Biden retains Minnesota: 15%

Trump was well ahead in Georgia and North Carolina. But it has tightened The NYT has Trump at 82% to win North Carolina and only 36% for Georgia.

If Trump wins North Carolina his odds move to 19% and Georgia to 21%.

If he wins Michigan his odds hit 89%. Or Wisconsin takes him to 83%. Or Pennsylvania to 54%.

Biden has three paths to victory:

  1. Win Michigan and Wisconsin
  2. Win Pennsylvania and one of Michigan or Wisconsin
  3. Win Georgia and one of Michigan or Wisconsin

A lot of the votes not yet counted are early votes, and are thought to favour Biden. So just because Trump leads in the four states above at present, it doesn’t mean he is sure to win them because the votes counted to date are not representative of all votes. He may, but we simply won’t know until all the votes are counted.

Trump, as expected, is claiming it is stealing the election to count votes after tonight. That is mad. These are votes cast and received before the polls closed. There is a legitimate debate about whether votes that get received after election day should or should not be counted (some states say they have to arrive by election day, others that they must be postmarked by election day) but you don’t throw out early or advance votes just because they take longer to count and tabulate.

The chance of an electoral college tie is non trivial. It is as high as 6% based on states won to date. If that happens, then the election would go to the new Congress.

The House would elect the President and the Senate the Vice-President. It is possibly you could end up with a Biden-Pence or Trump-Harris administration which would be sort of hilarious.

The Senate is looking quite good for the GOP to retain control. Not certain, but fairly good. If the Senate is tied 50-50, the VP Pence would be the deciding vote if they have to elect a VP.

The House will overall be controlled by Democrats again but in the event of electing a President they vote by congressional delegation. All 50 delegations get a vote, and you need a majority to win.

The current House is:

  • Republican majority delegations: 26
  • Democrat majority delegations: 23
  • Tied delegations: 1

So Trump would be elected by the current House but if just two delegations flip then Biden would win in the House.

Anyway unlikely the House decides, but one worth keeping an eye on.

We’ll see where the key remaining states go tomorrow, or later this week.

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