Less than a month to go and the race is still in play
In 2016, I was convinced Hillary Clinton would win. Her losing forced on some needed humility about my perspective on politics. Now I'm routinely accused of saying Donald Trump will lose or of betraying my values by saying I'd vote for the guy. There's not really any winning, or even fun to be had, by doing what I perceive as calling balls and strikes. But I want to do that anyway and give you my honest take on all of this.
In 2016, I relied mostly on myself to get a sense of things. Over the past few years, I've spent a lot more time talking to other people actively involved in campaigns, from the presidential level to state races, to help shape my view of the race and where things stand.
Based on these conversations, I think there is a lot of muddiness and there are a lot of unknowns but we can also paint a bit of a picture of the race to get a sense of it.
For example, it is not really disputed at this point that the President has more enthusiasm from his voters than Joe Biden. The President's voters are more fired up. You don't see Biden's supporters doing boat parades.
The President's team is also going door to door, while Biden's team is not, though in some states, I am told there has been a falloff in volunteers over the past month in both door-to-door efforts and phone banking. But they're still doing it.
At the same time, women, including registered Republican women and some who voted for Trump in 2016, have turned more antagonistic to the President over the course of just this year, and there is some evidence they are turning against the GOP as a whole.
Concurrently, the President's message has found a home in the Hispanic community at strengths no Republican has seen. The message has penetrated in ways other Republicans have failed to achieve. Likewise, a portion of Black male voters are connecting to the President's message.
While that is happening, senior citizens are drifting away from the President, particularly in the northern states. Additionally, voters who voted for Barack Obama and then Trump appear to be going to Biden now.
Lastly, Democrats have requested more absentee ballots than Republicans this time, but that may be because of a proactive approach to avoiding in-person voting on Election Day due to the virus and not a surge of voter enthusiasm.
All of this raises important questions for the state of play.