How 2020 is different from 2016

Kelly Scaletta
5 min readOct 31, 2020

You can’t say the word “polls” without someone bring up 2016. But there’s a lot that is very from 2016, and we need to understand that when we talk about the polls.

From the outset, let me say I’m not saying that your behavior should be in anyway be affected by this, and I’m not advocating for some sort of complacency by saying this.

Even if there were a 100 percent chance that Joe Biden beats Donald Trump, I’d still say that because that’s not the only race on the ballot. State legislatures are up for election too, which means there’s a chance to end gerrymandering.

So go and vote, and vote for the entire ballot.

That said, actually voting doesn’t exclude knowing what the polls say or how they are different from 2016.

There are two things that are really important to consider here. They’re what I’m calling the two 50s.

The first 50

The first 50 is the percent of the total vote in the polls.

We look at the difference more than we should and not the actual numbers as much as we should. A 52–48 lead with a 3 percent margin of error is far more meaningful than 48–44 lead with a 3 percent margin of error.

What we forget is that if you have 50 percent-plus-one, you win the state, regardless of what your opponent has.

Let’s ignore Trump’s numbers for a second. Biden is averaging 50.2 percent in Pennsylvania, 51.9 percent in Wisconsin and 50.9 percent in Michigan.

If Biden hits those numbers, then the election is out of reach for Trump. There is no path for him without at least one of those states.

The other part of this equation is late movement. The late movement in 2016 came because James Comey announced he was reopening the investigation into Hillary Clinton and that turned out to be a nothing burger. But it did affect the election.

This time around, the stock market is plunging and the covid numbers are exploding as President Super Spreader runs around the country holding super spreader rallies.

Polling shows that 75% of Americans oppose Trump’s rallies while 64% agree with Biden’s “drive-in” style of campaigning.

Kelly Scaletta

I write for several outlets as an NBA analyst, including Bleacher Report, FanRag, Dime, BBallBreadown and RealBallInsiders. My political views are my own.