Ahead of the US Presidential election, the opinion polls have predicted that in the presidential race Democrat candidate Joe Biden has an upper hand. The major reason behind Biden’s lead is the support from three states–Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin, that US President Donald Trump won in 2016.
However, despite the opinion polls showing Biden leading in the polls, a possibility of Donald Trump pulling a surprise cannot be ruled out. Experts argue that there are certain hidden factors that might lead to a surprise victory of Trump.
They are–1) Republican registration has ticked up in key states at a time when Democrat volunteers became largely inactive;
2) The efficacy of voter suppression efforts of Republicans might impact voting. Democrats fear that pro-Trump gangs could forcefully prevent the Democrat supporters on the voting day;
3) Besides, a large number of shy Republican supporters who rejected to talk about their preferences in the predication might turn out in large numbers;
4) Though the majority of early voters who have already cast their votes support Biden, it is believed that a number of Republican voters are yet to register themselves in states like Florida, where Trump is rapidly narrowing the gap with Biden;
5) The validity of mail-in votes is a problem for the Democrats as Republicans in few states have been successful in preventing mail ballots from being counted that arrive after the election day;
6) Besides, there is also a huge possibility of a large number of mail votes being rejected as thousands of mail-in votes have been rejected in the past. Pennsylvania Supreme Court recently ruled that the votes mailed without the proper envelope cannot be counted;
7) The increasing registration of white, non-college-educated voters, the group forming the largest support base of Trump, could very well turn the tables in Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, states that have been predicted to go with Biden;
8) Most importantly, the abandonment of door-knocking a campaign by Bidden due to the pandemic might have provided a massive advantage to the traditional field campaign of Trump supporters;
9) Despite opinion poll predictions, it shall be the turnout and vote-counting process that shall eventually decide the winner. Already 27 million votes have been polled in this election.
Breakup of opinion polls: The breakup of opinion polls on 538 votes of the Electoral College is–Donald Trump: Solid chance- 97, Likely chance-28, Lean chance-54; Joe Biden: Solid chance – 176, Likely chance- 36, Lean chance- 67 and Undecided: 80.
As per the opinion polls, Trump needs to win in the undecided states to pocket 80 electoral votes including Florida, North Carolina, Ohio, Arizona, and Iowa.
As the Democrats have accelerated their fundraising, they are likely to retain control over the House of Representatives (HOR) total of 435 seats. Currently, Democrats have 233 seats and Republicans have 196 seats in the HOR.
“As per opinion polls, the breakup for 435 HOR seats is–Republicans: Solid chance -127, Likely chance -34, Lean chance-22; Democrats: Solid chance -168, Likely chance-27, Lean chance -25; Undecided: 32.”
The prediction on 35 out of 100 Senate seats going into elections suggest that both parties would end up with an equal number of total seats after elections-50 each. Currently, the Democrats have 47 seats and the Republicans have 53 seats in the Senate.
Electoral process of US Presidential Elections: US President is selected through an indirect voting process. The President is voted to power by the ‘Elector’ of the ‘Electoral College’. The total number of Electors in the Electoral College is 538.
Electoral College- 435 HOR seats+100 Senate seats (50 states*2) + 3 seats from Washington D.C. Total = 538. Each state is entitled to the same number of Electors in the Electoral College as it has seats in the US Congress (HOR plus Senate).
Each party chooses its Elector ‘state’ or panel for a state while choosing their Presidential candidate. It implies that while selecting Donald Trump as their candidate for the 2020 Presidential Elections, the Republican Party has also selected its Elector slates/panels for every state. And so has the Democratic Party, while declaring Biden as its candidate.
Though practically the voters vote for the Presidential candidate, in the principle, they actually vote to elect the Electors of their state. During the campaign, the Electors seek a vote in the name of Presidential candidate and pledge to vote them, if selected. Whichever Presidential candidate wins the state by securing a maximum share of votes, gets all of its electoral slate/panel elected.
For example, the victory of Trump in Texas in the 2016 elections meant that entire Electors (38) of the Republican Party got selected in the state. Similarly, the victory of Hillary Clinton in California in 2016 meant that all the Electors (55) of the Democratic Party got elected in the election. This implies that the victory of a Presidential candidate in a state helps him to bag all the votes of the Electoral College in the state.
Once Electors get selected, they gather in respective state capitals and vote for the Presidential candidate whom they had pledged to vote,i.e. candidates of their respective parties. Generally, party cadres are appointed as electors by respective parties. Electors are the people who remain less-known and do not enjoy any representative of legislative powers.