With so much uncertainty in the upcoming US presidential election, the O’Colly reached out to faculty within the Oklahoma State University Department of Political Science asking them to predict the winning candidate.
Three faculty members were asked the same question, “who do you think is most likely to win the 2020 US presidential election?” Here’s what they said,
Glen Krutz, dean of the OSU College of Arts and Sciences, has a history in university research in political institutions and public policy and administration:
“I would lean that Biden is in a stronger position than Trump with only six days left, especially when looking at the electoral college. Biden leads in more battleground states than Trump. However, in 2016 Hillary Clinton was a couple weeks out and looked pretty strong, though not as strong as Biden looks now, and Trump pulled it out then. And with the new turnout and all the new registrants for voting this year, really anything could happen.
“Who knows what news stories are going to break in the next six days? I do think in 2016 that James Comey’s FBI revelation hurt Hillary Clinton late and so there’s still the possibility that something might happen this last six days that might affect how people on Election Day would vote. If I had to guess, I would predict Biden but would not be surprised if it was closer or broke the other way just because it’s such a weird year.”
Matthew Motta, OSU Assistant Professor of Political Science, has particularly focused his studies on polling:
“I’ll just say a couple of things because this is something I get asked about all the time: didn’t pollsters and forecasters get it wrong in 2016? As I talk about in a couple of my classes here at Oklahoma State, I don’t think so. When you look at the national polls in 2016 compared to previous election cycles, they were actually better at gauging the popular vote than national polls in previous cycles. National polls don’t tell us very much about the electoral college and it is the electoral college, not the popular vote, that picks the president in the United States.
“Were the polls wrong in 2016? Not really. They were more accurate than ever when it comes to the popular vote. The problem is we didn’t do nearly enough state-level polling and didn’t know how some of those battlegrounds were ultimately going to go on Election Day. That is something that the polling community has done a great job of remedying in this election cycle. There is a lot more polling going on in the battlegrounds. There’s a lot more polling going on even outside of the battlegrounds.
“The pollsters who are doing it are investing...more in getting good, high-quality results and as a result we have better insights into how some of these battlegrounds might shake out. I’m feeling pretty confident in the projection so far that if nothing were to change, Joe Biden would win, but it’s 2020. There are still six days until Election Day. Something could change theoretically and that would influence up to...80 million people. I wouldn’t rule out the possibility that something could happen, but it’s becoming increasingly more unlikely by the day.”
Kristin Oloffson, OSU Assistant Professor of Political Science, has primarily focused on public policy and political behavior:
“I think this is really hard. I think it’s going to be close. It’s either going to be a landslide for Joe BIden or it’s going to be very very close and it will come down to nuances in the electoral college. I think that no matter what Joe Biden is going to win the majority of the popular vote. I think Trump’s path to winning is similar to what happened in 2016 where he pulled an inside straight in that he won just exactly the right combination of states and electoral votes. My prediction would be that it is either a landslide for Joe Biden or that it’s a long drawn out battle over some electoral college votes.”
Dean Krutz, Professor Motta and Professor Oloffson all seemed to agree that Joe Biden is the most likely candidate to win, but held various reservations for the unknown due to the unique nature of the election. As has been the case with every other election, no one will know for certain who the next president will be until after the polls close on Election Day.