Polls: A 2016 Comparison
All major national polls show Vice President Biden ahead in the presidential race. However, many are hesitant to put any trust in the statistics, citing the incorrect predictions in the 2016 race. Although we can’t be certain about the election outcome, there are a few things that should boost confidence in the polls this time around. First, Biden has been leading Trump in polls for far longer than Clinton did in 2016. He has maintained a steady lead since early June, widening the point gap as the election nears. Another big difference is the wide margin Biden has compared to Clinton. Late October polls had Clinton at 50% at most, while polls now have Biden sometimes even hitting 53%, but remaining consistently above 50%. While Clinton led Trump in polls, it was usually only about 3 points ahead, while Biden regularly leads Trump by over 6 points. Lastly, one can look to job approval polls. Previous elections show the final electoral vote corresponds very closely with approval ratings. President Trump has never broken the 50% approval mark during his entire term, and right now it is at 44.2%, according to FiveThirtyEight statistics. The association is logical—the more people like the job the president is doing, the more likely it is they will reelect him.
Local Spotlight: The Race For The House
While the presidential race has dominated our attention, much more is on the ballot than the White House. Here in Port Jefferson, Lee Zeldin, our Representative in the House of Reps is up for reelection. His main opponent is political newcomer Dr. Nancy Goroff. Zeldin, a Republican, has held office since 2015, becoming a vocal ally of President Trump in Congress. He is opposed to cashless bail, and strongly supports law enforcement. His campaign is focused on supporting first responders and solving environmental issues. He is a veteran of the Army and has a J.D. from Albany Law School. His challenger, Dr. Goroff, is a Harvard and UCLA graduate, now teaching chemistry at Stony Brook University. Motivated by the pandemic, she is running a campaign centered around her professional experience and ability to help boost a science-based approach to curbing COVID-19. In an email to supporters, she expressed interest in lowering minimum age requirements for Medicare and building up public health infrastructure. She has attacked Republican response to the pandemic calling it “reckless." Both candidates declined to comment.
Election Night: Uncertain Results
Official election day is this Tuesday, November 3rd. Early voting for states like New York has been open for around 2 weeks and mail-in ballots have been cast in record numbers. This has raised concerns over processing times due to a weak counting framework that may be overwhelmed. However even during regular circumstances, we never immediately know the results of the election on election day. It takes a considerable amount of time to count ballots, and usually counting doesn't start until a few days before actual election day. Although it is clear who has won by the end of election day, we never have true results until days after. This year especially could take a little longer to get a solid result. Mail-in ballots take longer to process than in person votes. In order to count them as valid, they must be removed from their envelopes and authenticated before they are able to be counted. Because of Covid-19, more people than ever are voting by mail in ballots. The voters choosing to vote by mail are overwhelmingly Democratic, so immediate results will be swayed. On the night of, news outlets put out vote counts after the polls close, even though they are still being tallied. Although most of the time the outcomes stay pretty much the same after election day, not all of the information news organizations put out is completely accurate. Essentially, we’ll have to wait a bit to know for sure who our next president is.