Trump / Biden prediction: How Donald can pull off a shock victory

Up until now, predictions for the presidential election had Joe Biden beating President Donald Trump, but that could be changing. Polls are now starting to suggest a prediction that Trump could come away with a surprise victory over Biden.

Get The Full Seth Klarman Series in PDF

Get the entire 10-part series on Seth Klarman in PDF. Save it to your desktop, read it on your tablet, or email to your colleagues.

Q3 2020 hedge fund letters, conferences and more

For weeks, polls have been making the prediction that Biden would win over Trump. However, many polls show that even though Biden may be ahead, it's a very close race. It's clearly too early to make any firm predictions about whether Biden or Trump will win.

Should You Go All In On Water Like Michael Burry?

Water investments? Michael Burry was one of the first institutional investors to bet against the US subprime mortgage market in the mid-2000s, and today he’s concentrating all of his investment efforts on one commodity: water. Burry’s focus on water has attracted plenty of attention to the commodity in the investment community but trying to profit Read More


Prediction: Biden with a win over Trump?

Reuters and Ipsos polled voters in the key battleground states of Arizona, Florida, Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin earlier this month. Those polls do suggest Biden could be ahead of Trump, but it is a very close race. Whoever wins the majority of those battleground states could end up prevailing in the entire election.

In Arizona, Biden had 50% of those surveyed, compared to 46% for Trump. The previous week, the two were neck and neck at 48% and 46%, respectively. In Florida, Biden was at 49% versus 47% for Trump. The previous week, Biden had 49% of those polled, compared to 45% for Trump.

In Michigan, Biden has a somewhat comfortable lead over Trump in the Reuters/ Ipsos poll at 51% versus his 43%, and the result was the same as the previous week. In North Carolina, the two candidates are neck and neck with Biden at 48% and Trump at 47%. The previous week, they were tied with each at 47%.

In Pennsylvania, Biden was a bit further ahead of Trump at 49% for Trump's 45%. The previous week, Biden was ahead with a 51%/ 44% split. In Wisconsin, Biden also had a comfortable lead over Trump at 51% for Trump's 43%. Biden's lead increased one point from the previous week.

Who's leading in Michigan?

The problem with using polls to make a prediction in the Biden / Trump race is the fact that there is a margin of error, which becomes a huge problem in races as close as this one. A key case in point is Michigan.

TopTradeGuru reports that Trump actually has the lead over Biden, using data from TargetSmart, a Democratic firm. Already 25% of the ballots have been submitted in Michigan, and most Republicans are largely expected to vote in person on Nov. 3, which could mean that Trump will take Michigan.

There is a clear discrepancy between TargetSmart's data and the Reuters/ Ipsos poll, so it's unclear which candidate has the lead there.

 Prediction 2020: How Trump could pull out a surprise win

Politico also explains how Trump could pull out a surprise win over Biden in the presidential election. Many Democratic voters are voting by mail, but it's expected that Nov. 3 will bring a surge in ballots from Republican voters. Further, voter registration among Republicans has ticked upward while Democratic field operations were sleeping.

Democrats are apparently anxious because the numbers show that a clear Biden victory is no longer being predicted. For now, the one variable that seems to be going well for Democrats is voter turnout as more than 27 million people had voted already as of Sunday, based on data from the United States Elections Project.

However, that factor could shift significantly on election day when more Republicans are expected to turn out to vote. It's still unclear just how much of a lead Biden will build in the early voting or whether it will be enough to prevent a Trump victory.

One other factor is the number of mail-in ballots that will be rejected and which states they are rejected in. Since more Democrats are expected to vote by mail than Republicans, this could be a significant factor.

Too early to tell

It's obviously too early to make a prediction about whether Trump or Biden will prevail in the election. The polls are just too close, and there are too many factors. We should also point out that in 2016, the polls all suggested that Hillary Clinton would win, but Trump managed a surprise victory.