Bernie or Biden: Who has a better chance to win from an Electoral College standpoint?
At this point reasonable people should want Trump gone from office. Right now a few things stand in the way of that, like gerrymandering, the Electoral College, democratic infighting, and lots of other things!
I wanted to go look at the data on the Democratic primary results in 2016 and in 2020 so far, and also look at the results of the presidential elections. I think this same analysis done in about a month in a half as well (once the swing states finish their primaries) will provide some instructive information for the Democratic party.
Given that the president is chosen by the electoral college, and given that many of the states are already “safe blue” or “safe red” states, there are really only a handful of “swing states” that determine the election. I think this is extremely dumb, but this is the current state of affairs. I would get rid of the electoral college if it was up to me. I’d also probably do a one day national primary but anyways.
My hypothesis would be that the best democratic candidate to win would be the one who is most likely to get the most swing state votes. While it seems whoever gets all the votes overall could have the most voters, these effects will be masked by a Democratic primary win in a state that goes Republican (like Alabama) or a Democratic primary win in a state that reliably goes Democratic (like California).
For example a Biden win in Alabama, which has gone Republican in the last 10 presidential elections, isn’t really the main difference-maker in a general election.
Similarly a Bernie win in California, which has gone Democratic in the last 7 presidential elections, isn’t the main area to focus either.
So, I pulled the data based on the states that can be considered “swing states” (and this definition is in flux):
Here is my data sheet:
I collected the data for the number of electoral college votes, the 2020 primary date if it has not happened yet, the winner of the Democratic primary if it has happened. I also added the 2016 Democratic primary winner, the party winner of the 2008, 2012 and 2016 presidential election, and also an indicator if it flipped from Democratic to Republican in 2016.
What you see if you look today is that most of the states that have voted are likelier to go Democratic. Additionally, I think the main states that would need to be won for a Democratic win are the ones that flipped from Democrat to Republican in 2016. These are: Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.
Now it would seem to me that from an electoral college standpoint, if Biden or Bernie wins more of those states, or more potential votes from those states, that would suggest they would be the better candidate for the general election. Many of these still have to vote so we will see, but I think the results from Michigan this week, then Florida and Ohio next week would be important to see.
If one of them wins the nomination but loses these states, that is a tough scenario because then in the key states that decide the election they have less support even within the Democratic primary.
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