This will be a trip around multiple aspects of the races and developments of the day. First of all, my condolences to the family of rock guitarist Eddie Van Halen, who died of cancer. Eddie was a powerful force for over a decade in rock and an innovator in playing the guitar.
Let’s start our tour in Utah, where I’m hearing from sources that Burgess Owens is running a terrific campaign against Ben McAdams and is poised to flip UT4. As with races across the nation, the Utah race sees the media (even the usually conservative Mormon media, the Deseret News, and the local TV station) totally in the bag for the Democrat. Even with that, I’m told Owens’s team is quite optimistic and internals have him ahead, in some cases, outside the margin of error. We need 17 more Burgess Owens-type seats out there and the House is ours!
Also surging is Kimberly Klacik in Maryland, where I’m hearing that (as always) despite public polls, Kim Klacik is closer than people think. This is another race that I think will shock, but still not change the actual makeup of the House.
On to Arizona, where Martha McSally came out of her shell and, by all accounts, clobbered gun-grabber “Millionaire” Mark Kelly. I wrote off McSally over a year ago but she is surprising me. First, the ads on Kelly’s connections to China have made a dent. Second, more recently, her (accurate) attacks on Kelly’s gun-grabbing were highlighted in the debate last night and are having an effect. Finally, the news of three former astronauts endorsing McSally was one of the more brilliant zings I’ve seen in any campaign. Will it be enough? Who knows. It doesn’t hurt that early voting in Arizona began today, on the heels of McSally’s solid performance.
Arizona is still rapidly re-trending red after about two years of Democrat incursions. The 2016 Republican registration lead of 150,000 shrank all the way to 85,000 by the 2018 mid-terms. But under GOP Chairwoman Kelli Ward, the Arizona Republicans have been out-registering Democrats, especially in Maricopa County, and now have bumped their margin up to 100,000. Oddly, the GOP has opposed a bid to keep registration here longer, which is probably not a good idea. Arizona Republicans stand to add more registrations with every day that voter registration is open.
In Maine—once again depending on which poll you bother with—Susan Collins is in a dead heat. I expect that she will pull it out. She is a veteran campaigner who knows her state quite well.
Now we get to the states where we have actual evidence vs. polls, Florida and North Carolina. In North Carolina early voting/vote by mail, two trends are interesting. First, it appears the black vote is lagging behind 2016 by about 5%. This is as I predicted—that the black vote would come up 5% below 2016 levels and that of the black voters who send in ballots, up to 15% of them could be voting for Trump. As of today, North Carolina Democrats have about a 400,000 registration advantage—but again seem to be losing voters by the day. (In 2016 they had a 645,000 advantage when Trump won by about three points). Of course it’s early, but so far, the vote by mails being returned in North Carolina show a shortfall compared to 2016 of about 25% in the 18-24 year old category. This is rather big: if my hypothesis is correct that on-campus voting will be way down, it means that Democrats must make this up in vote by mail. My estimate was that nationally the “yuts” would turn out at a rate of about 30%, down from their 40% high of 2018, or down by at least 25%. They have to make up in additional 18-24 year-old voters in the VBMs to equal necessary student numbers. So far, not only is this not happening, but they are short another 1% in the VBM returns. Watch this carefully, as “Freeper” bort puts it “The current Democrat lead in VBM ballots requested and returned is akin to a Corvette equipped with a Pinto rebuilt engine. On the surface, it looks great, but underneath the hood the Democrats know they have problems.”
Another interesting development in North Carolina early voting is that men are outpacing women by about 2.5% (this courtesy of “Freeper” bort). In Georgia, men are also a full point ahead of women in early voting. Oh, and speaking of Georgia? Out of 300,000 VBM ballots returned, only 7,000 were from 18-25 year olds. Georgia doesn’t send out ballots by R/D designation, but if we apply our college standard of 60% 18-24 year olds are Democrats, that means only 4,200 of these 300,000 ballots (1%) are from da “yut” Democrats.
Just as in Arizona, Florida Rs continue to gain voters by the day. The state’s final numbers don’t come out til October 20, but the unofficial closing in the Sunshine State is the Democrats with a (for them, pathetically tiny) 142,000 edge. One writer at www.freerepublic.com, “Ravi,” expect that based on the daily trends, Florida Democrats will have a lead of under 140,000 on election day—this in a state where they once led by four times that much. One estimate I have seen is that Florida Democrats must go into election day with an early vote/VBM lead of 640,000. This is just to break even. Any analysis here is relatively meaningless because Democrat ballots were sent out on September 24, but some of the bigger Republican counties (including Brevard) didn’t mail their ballots until a full week later. As of today, the Democrats have a lead of 227,507—but Republicans haven’t even gotten on the field yet, so this is to be expected. Their lead is 52.4% to 28.5%, whereas in 2016 their lead was 58,000 (40.5% to 38.4%)—but that was when both D and R ballots went out at the same time. Until the GOP voters actually get their ballots (late last week) and start to return them, we can’t do much more with Florida trends.
Moving to Wisconsin, here is an interesting factoid: Wisconsin has over 30,000 fewer registered voters in 2020 than at this point in 2016. Is this part of the Great Student Shortfall? Possibly. It is highly likely that fewer students have registered for the University of Wisconsin than in the past, or if they have, they are “attending” remotely and have not moved their registration. Increasingly it seems Wisconsin will be decided by the ground game. (Psst: Joe Biden has none).
Finally, Trump has pulled ad funding in Iowa and Ohio. If you’re a whackadoodle pollster, this is because, you know, “Joe Biden is up 10 there.” In reality, this suggests that Team Trump has both Iowa (which Trump won by 3.4% in 2016) and Ohio, which Trump carried by 8.9, in the bank. Remember in 2016 Ohio polls had Trump leading by only four in Ohio—when he won by more than double that. And in both Iowa and Ohio, the GOP has a registration lead—Ohio’s could be as high as 300,000 when “unaffiliated” voters are factored in.
If the slow Democrat returns from North Carolina and the (expected) slow returns in Florida are indicators, Trump has those states in control as well. That means that the battlegrounds as of October 7 are Arizona, Nevada, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Minnesota, New Hampshire, and Maine. Joe Biden is campaigning in Pennsylvania, a state where he supposedly leads big.
It’s early. Too early to draw any definite conclusions. But the trends in every one of these states so far is our friend. The Democrats pinned their hopes on VBM and it appears to be a leaky balloon.
Larry Schweikart is the co-author with Michael Allen of the New York Times #1 bestseller, A Patriot’s History of the United States; the author of Reagan: the American President, and the founder of the Wild World of History curriculum site with full US and World History curricula for grades 9-12 including teacher’s guide, student workbooks, tests/answer keys, maps/images/graphs, and video lessons for every unit (www.wildworldofhistory.com).