As of approximately 7 p.m. Eastern time on Saturday, more than 90 million Americans have voted in the 2020 presidential election, according to the University of Florida’s U.S. Elections Project.
The exact number: 90,604,711. That’s a combined 57.6 million mail-in ballots returned and 33.4 million in-person early votes cast.
While several states have come close to matching their 2016 “total turnout,” two states have exceeded those totals. Voters in Texas have cast 9.6 million votes, and voters in Hawaii have cast 484,000 votes—107.7% and 110.6% of their 2016 totals, respectively.
Other states that have come close to matching their 2016 totals are Montana (95.8%), Washington (93.8%), Georgia and New Mexico (both at 93.2%), and North Carolina (91.1%).
Some states, however, appear to be holding back, possibly waiting for Election Day proper. Pennsylvania (of particular note as a swing state) has only hit 38.4% of their 2016 total, while Ohio, also considered a swing, stands at 48.8% as of Saturday.
The three states that have racked up the most early votes are California (9.7 million), Texas (9.6 million), and Florida (8.2 million).
Looking at the polls in battleground states, it appears to be an increasingly tight race, though incumbent Republican Donald Trump lags slightly behind in key areas.
According to the RealClearPolitics (RCP) polling averages, Democratic nominee Joe Biden is up by small margins in several classic and newer swing states:
- Pennsylvania: +3.7 points
- North Carolina: +2.1 points
- Florida: +1.6 points
- Iowa: +1.2 points
- Georgia: +0.8 points
- Arizona: +0.1 points
In three swing states, Biden has a more substantial polling lead:
- Michigan: +7.3 points
- Wisconsin: +5.7
- Minnesota: +4.7
- Nevada: +4 points
In Ohio, RCP has Trump and Biden tied.
The polls, however, have increasingly been called into question, with some pollsters and commentators citing an alleged contingent of “shy Trump voters” who are either afraid to reveal their pro-Trump position to pollsters on the phone, or who simply lie about it when asked.
A survey released in August by CloudResearch sought to detect if there truly is an undercurrent of alleged shy voters who are going unnoticed. Their results were intriguing.
According to the survey:
Instead of simply asking voters whom they will vote for — and then ask whether they just lied — we centered our research around a general question: “Are you comfortable in truthfully disclosing the presidential candidate you intend to vote for in a telephone poll?”
CloudResearch found that “10.1% of Trump supporters said they were likely to be untruthful on phone surveys — double the number of Biden supporters (5.1%) reticent to share their true intentions.”
Additionally, a few polling firms have been countering the mainstream polling-advantage narrative.
Appearing on Fox News, Trafalgar Group Chief Pollster Robert Cahaly said that he expects a Trump Electoral College win, adding:
There is a clear feeling among conservatives and people that are for the president that they’re not interested in sharing their opinions so readily on the telephone. We’ve seen people be beat up, harassed, doxed, have their houses torn up because they expressed political opinions that are not in line with the politically correct establishment. And so, these people are more hesitant to … participate in polls. So if you’re not compensating for this, if you’re not trying to give them a poll that they can participate in … you’re not going to get honest answers.
Susquehanna Polling and Research’s Jim Lee expressed a similar sentiment recently, saying: “There are a lot of voters out there that don’t want to admit to a live telephone agent they’re voting for a guy that’s been called a racist; so that submerged Trump factor is very real—and we’ve been able to capture it, and I’m really disappointed others in our industry have not.”
Some, however, have dismissed the notion of the “shy Trump voter” as nothing more than wishful thinking on the part of the president’s supporters.
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