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Polls Are Wrong: Trump Will Deliver Another Stunning Upset

Inan Dogan, PhD
·8 mins read

Who will win the presidency? I love data. I look at it and try to predict the future. You probably don't know much about me, so let me introduce myself. I am Insider Monkey's research director. I have a PhD in financial economics and I try to predict the direction of individual stocks and the entire market to make trade recommendations for our subscribers. I usually share 1-2 free trade ideas every year.

I shared this year’s first free trade idea on February 27th in an article titled “Recession Is Imminent: We Need A Travel Ban NOW!“. At the time of the publication of that article the U.S. COVID-19 death toll stood at zero and we had only 1 confirmed COVID-19 case of community transmission. It is an amazing article. I predicted that the S&P 500 Index will decline by 20-30% by the end of the year and told you to short the market (I told our subscribers to short the market a few days before that article was published).

The second time I shared a stock pick this year was in the middle of March when the total U.S. COVID-19 deaths was fewer than 200. In this article I predicted that the U.S. death toll will surpass 20,000 in less than 4 weeks and told our readers to buy hospital stocks, specifically Tenet Healthcare (THC). Those predictions were very accurate.

On March 25th, I told our subscribers to cover their short positions and go long the market. So, our market bottom call was also very accurate. Because of accurate market timing and stock recommendations our subscribers were able to return 112% since March 2017 vs. 54% gain for the S&P 500 Index ETF (SPY). I am really good at analyzing data and not a very humble person.

So, one of the most important questions we have to answer right now is the outcome of the presidential election. Who will win the presidency?

The best tool we have to determine the outcome of elections is polls. Each poll has its own bias and we have get rid of some of the bias in individual polls by combining the results of each individual poll in one giant poll. Fivethirtyeight is a website that does this for us. Its method isn't fool proof though. We can get rid of some of the bias, but not all of it. Right before the 2016 presidential election, on November 7th, Fivethirtyeight estimated that Hillary Clinton had a 67% chance of winning the election. Yet, Donald Trump crushed Hillary. There are several reasons why this happened. I am not going to waste your time to discuss these. The most important factor was that voters didn't reveal their true intentions when asked by pollsters. As a result, polls failed to predict the outcome of the 2016 elections. Take a look at this screenshot of Fivethirtyeight's website from November 7, 2016 (the day before the 2016 election):

Who Will Win The Presidency?
Who Will Win The Presidency?

Today, Fivethirtyeight thinks Biden has an 85% chance of winning the election. An almost slam dunk case. I disagree.

In this article I am going to assume that the current polls in each state have the same bias as they had in 2016 and I will adjust the current poll results to estimate the true intentions of the voters. At the end of this article, we will have a better idea about who will win the presidency.

1. Alabama

Fivethirtyeight 2016 prediction: Trump wins by 21.6 points

Actual result: Trump won by 27.7 points

Fivethirtyeight 2020 prediction: Trump wins by 19.4 points

Insider Monkey Prediction: Trump wins by 25.5 points

Trump: 9 - Biden:0

2. Alaska

Fivethirtyeight 2016 prediction: Trump wins by 7.3 points

Actual result: Trump won by 14.7 points

Fivethirtyeight 2020 prediction: Trump wins by 7 points

Insider Monkey Prediction: Trump wins by 14.4 points

Trump: 12 - Biden:0

3. Arizona

Fivethirtyeight 2016 prediction: Trump wins by 3.3 points

Actual result: Trump won by 3.5 points

Fivethirtyeight 2020 prediction: Trump wins by 2.7 points

Insider Monkey Prediction: Trump wins by 2.9 points

Trump: 23 - Biden:0

4. Arkansas

Fivethirtyeight 2016 prediction: Trump wins by 19.8 points

Actual result: Trump won by 26.9 points

Fivethirtyeight 2020 prediction: Trump wins by 19.5 points

Insider Monkey Prediction: Trump wins by 26.6 points

Trump: 29 - Biden:0

5. California

Fivethirtyeight 2016 prediction: Trump loses by 22.5 points

Actual result: Trump lost by 30.1 points

Fivethirtyeight 2020 prediction: Trump loses by 30.7 points

Insider Monkey Prediction: Trump loses by 38.3 points

Trump: 29 - Biden:55

6. Colorado

Fivethirtyeight 2016 prediction: Trump loses by 3.4 points

Actual result: Trump lost by 4.9 points

Fivethirtyeight 2020 prediction: Trump loses by 10.6 points

Insider Monkey Prediction: Trump loses by 12.1 points

Trump: 29 - Biden:64

7. Connecticut

Fivethirtyeight 2016 prediction: Trump loses by 11.1 points

Actual result: Trump lost by 13.6 points

Fivethirtyeight 2020 prediction: Trump loses by 21.8 points

Insider Monkey Prediction: Trump loses by 24.3 points

Trump: 29 - Biden:71

8. Delaware

Fivethirtyeight 2016 prediction: Trump loses by 12.2 points

Actual result: Trump lost by 11.4 points

Fivethirtyeight 2020 prediction: Trump loses by 25 points

Insider Monkey Prediction: Trump loses by 24.2 points

Trump: 29 - Biden:74

9. District of Columbia

Fivethirtyeight 2016 prediction: Trump loses by 70.8 points

Actual result: Trump lost by 86.8 points

Fivethirtyeight 2020 prediction: Trump loses by 83.2 points

Insider Monkey Prediction: Trump loses by 88 points

Trump: 29 - Biden:77

10. Florida**

Fivethirtyeight 2016 prediction: Trump wins by 0.1 points

Actual result: Trump won by 1.2 points

Fivethirtyeight 2020 prediction: Trump loses by 3.6 points

Insider Monkey Prediction: Trump wins by 1 vote (Even though Biden has the edge right now, I think this is temporary and Trump will close the gap in the next 3 weeks. I think Trump has a 50.1% probability of winning Florida)

Trump: 58 - Biden:77

11. Georgia

Fivethirtyeight 2016 prediction: Trump wins by 4.7 points

Actual result: Trump won by 5.1 points

Fivethirtyeight 2020 prediction: Trump loses by 0.7 points

Insider Monkey Prediction: Trump wins by 1.1+ points

Trump: 74 - Biden:77

12. Hawaii

Fivethirtyeight 2016 prediction: Trump loses by 24.5 points

Actual result: Trump lost by 32.2 points

Fivethirtyeight 2020 prediction: Trump loses by 35 points

Insider Monkey Prediction: Trump loses by 42.3 points

Trump: 74 - Biden:80

13. Idaho

Fivethirtyeight 2016 prediction: Trump wins by 21.1 points

Actual result: Trump won by 31.8 points

Fivethirtyeight 2020 prediction: Trump wins by 25.8 points

Insider Monkey Prediction: Trump wins by 36.5 points

Trump: 78 - Biden:80

14. Illinois

Fivethirtyeight 2016 prediction: Trump loses by 12.8 points

Actual result: Trump lost by 17.1 points

Fivethirtyeight 2020 prediction: Trump loses by 19.2 points

Insider Monkey Prediction: Trump loses by 23.5 points

Trump: 78 - Biden:100

15. Indiana

Fivethirtyeight 2016 prediction: Trump wins by 11.9 points

Actual result: Trump won by 19.2 points

Fivethirtyeight 2020 prediction: Trump wins by 11.3 points

Insider Monkey Prediction: Trump wins by 18.6 points

Trump: 89 - Biden:100

16. Iowa

Fivethirtyeight 2016 prediction: Trump wins by 3.3 points

Actual result: Trump won by 9.4 points

Fivethirtyeight 2020 prediction: Trump loses by 1 point

Insider Monkey Prediction: Trump wins by 7.1 points

Trump: 95 - Biden:100

17. Kansas

Fivethirtyeight 2016 prediction: Trump wins by 13.2 points

Actual result: Trump won by 20.6 points

Fivethirtyeight 2020 prediction: Trump wins by 10 points

Insider Monkey Prediction: Trump wins by 17.4 points

Trump: 101 - Biden:100

18. Kentucky

Fivethirtyeight 2016 prediction: Trump wins by 18.9 points

Actual result: Trump won by 29.8 points

Fivethirtyeight 2020 prediction: Trump wins by 19.8 points

Insider Monkey Prediction: Trump wins by 30.7 points

Trump: 109 - Biden:100

19. Louisiana

Fivethirtyeight 2016 prediction: Trump wins by 16.4 points

Actual result: Trump won by 19.6 points

Fivethirtyeight 2020 prediction: Trump wins by 14.4 points

Insider Monkey Prediction: Trump wins by 17.6 points

Trump: 117 - Biden:100

20. Maine

Maine isn't a "winner-take-all" state. The winner of the popular vote will get 2 electoral votes and the winner of each of two districts will get 1 electoral vote. It is near certain that Biden will win the statewide race and the first district. The only competitive race is in the second district. Fivethirtyeight thinks Trump will win this district by 0.9 points. We agree. Here are the stats for the entire state:

Fivethirtyeight 2016 prediction: Trump loses by 6.2 points

Actual result: Trump lost by 3.0 points

Fivethirtyeight 2020 prediction: Trump loses by 12 points

Insider Monkey Prediction: Trump loses by 8.8 points

Trump: 118 - Biden:103

21. Maryland

Fivethirtyeight 2016 prediction: Trump loses by 26.6 points

Actual result: Trump lost by 26.4 points

Fivethirtyeight 2020 prediction: Trump loses by 31.2 points

Insider Monkey Prediction: Trump loses by 31 points

Trump: 118 - Biden:113

Click to continue reading see the rest of the estimates.

Disclosure: This article is originally published at Insider Monkey.