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Defying the Odds

Defying the Odds
New book about the 2016 election.

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

COVID, COVID, COVID

IDefying the Odds, we discuss the 2016 campaign. The 2019 update includes a chapter on the 2018 midterms. The 2020 race, the subject of our next book, is well underway.   It unfolds  as Coronavirus presents unprecedented challenges to public policy and the electoral process.   

The latest news is bad, both for the country, as well as Trump's prospects in the election next week.

 Thomas Beaumont at AP:

And now the virus is getting worse in states that the Republican president needs the most, at the least opportune time. New infections are raging in Wisconsin and elsewhere in the upper Midwest. In Iowa, polls suggest Trump is in a toss-up race with Biden after carrying the state by 9.4 percentage points four years ago.

Trump's pandemic response threatens his hold on Wisconsin, where he won by fewer than 23,000 votes in 2016, said Marquette University Law School poll director Charles Franklin.

“Approval of his handling of COVID is the next-strongest predictor of vote choice," behind voters' party affiliation and their overall approval of Trump's performance as president, Franklin said. “And it's not just a fluke of a single survey.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Sunday that among U.S. states, Wisconsin had the third highest rate of new cases for the previous seven days. Iowa was 10th

Trump won Wisconsin's heavily blue-collar Winnebago County, which includes Oshkosh, in 2016, after Democratic nominee Barack Obama had carried it in 2012. Today, Winnebago is among the top 10 counties where new Wisconsin COVID cases are being reported, according to data collected by Johns Hopkins University and compiled by The Associated Press.

The trend is similar in Iowa. Blue-collar Dubuque County was among the state's 10 counties with the fastest-growing number of cases per capita over the past two weeks. Trump won the county narrowly after Democrats had carried it since the 1950s.

Linley Sanders at YouGov:

In the last few days, the United States has set new daily records for the number of positive COVID-19 tests reported. Recent infection levels have been higher than they were even during the July peak.

The latest Yahoo News/YouGov poll shows that the increase has not gone unnoticed by voters. The percentage of registered voters who say "the number of cases is increasing" in the United States jumped nine percentage points over the last week, from 63% to 72%.

That number has been steadily rising throughout October, and across party lines. At the beginning of the month, a quarter (24%) of Republicans saw the case count rising. This week, that recognition has doubled (48%). Two-thirds (68%) of Democrats in early October said coronavirus cases were increasing; this week, 90% believe this to be the situation.