Don’t Be Fooled By Tonight’s Numbers – The Election Isn’t Over YetBy Rita Pike
Nov. 3 2020, Published 7:34 a.m. ET
Election Night is always fraught with high emotions on every side of the political realm, but this year, especially, it’s predicted that chaos may ensue, thanks to the exceptionally energized hype raised by politicians, media, and the ardent followers of given candidates.
We want results and we want them tonight, but the reality is, the election won’t be confirmed for potentially several days to come. In Illinois, for example, mail-in ballots may be received as late as Tuesday, November 17, a full two weeks after Election Day.
So, here’s what you can expect as the days fall this week and next.
Election Night Numbers And What We Will Likely Hear
Beyond the worldwide pandemic, rioting, and so-called “murder hornets,” 2020 will go down in history as an unprecedented election year. Before this morning, there were already nearly 100 million votes cast, an unusually high number of early votes compared to all previous presidential election years this century. Eleven states have reported their early voting numbers have come in at 90-percent of the total votes cast in the previous presidential election.
These enormous numbers sound hopeful for a quick election count. The final poll from NBC/Wall Street Journal shows that Biden leads 61-percent to 35-percent among early voters, but that Trump leads 61-percent to 32-percent among voters intending the cast their ballot today.
Experts, however, are warning that these early votes – creating what’s called a blue mirage as the votes are breaking heavily for Biden – are not the election. In person-voting today is predicted to turn out more red voters than blue in Sun Belt battleground states such as Florida, Texas, and North Carolina.
In the northern battleground states, such as Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Michigan, the tides could turn just as easily by nightfall. In these states, officials were not permitted to begin counting early votes and mail-in votes until today. Trump-heavy numbers will likely rise as numbers are turned in due to these rulings, creating the “red mirage.”
Ultimately, we should all be aware that the numbers will be skewed today as the tallies roll in from coast to coast.
Advice For Tonight
1. Manage your expectations
As major polls begin closing in Florida, Ohio, North Carolina, and Georgia between 7 and 7:30 p.m. EST exercise caution for your expectations. The numbers won’t roll in accurately, and likely will swing back and forth throughout the night. The same can be said of the other states as polls close gradually by 11 p.m. EST.
Be patient and don’t anticipate a victory at every upswing for your candidate. The experts don’t really even know how to administer this election, thanks to the changes in voting patterns due to COVID-19 and the massive rise in voting numbers.
2. Focus your attention on the right places
As you watch the election news. If you focus on county results, make sure you’re looking to counties where all of the votes have already counted. The voting methods this year are skewing early numbers, so partial results are extremely unreliable for basing your expectations on. There is one potential exception, however, which is when partial results strongly favor the unexpected candidate in a county.
3. Look at states where officials began counting early voting and mail-in ballots before Election Day.
These states are the most likely to wrap up their results before the night is over.
4. Remember that outstanding votes from many states have yet to be counted.
You may be able to exercise some cautious optimism if many key states – such as traditionally red states leaning left by the end of the night and specific swing states – are have wrapped results by the end of the night. Check election maps and expectations from election predictors to see what that might look like.