Opinions

Here’s who the power rankers think are going to win — everything

By

It’s Round 74 of the Post Pundit 2020 Power Ranking, and barring a meteor strike, extraterrestrial invasion or unexpected constitutional cataclysm, we made it! It’s only a few short days before voting ends in the faceoff between the Republican Trump-Pence ticket and the Democratic presidential and vice-presidential nominees, Kamala D. Harris and Sherrod Brown.

Wait, sorry, that can’t be right. Our apologies; this thing has been going on a long time. Since you started this journey with us in February 2019, a lot has changed, but now the finish line is in sight, and the Ranking Committee members have been asked to make their final bets: Will President Trump or Joe Biden take the White House? How? Which party snags control of the Senate, and by what margin? And what’s the biggest upset our rankers have got their eye on this election, at any level of government, from sea to shining sea?

Take a deep breath, rub your “I Voted” sticker for luck, and read on.

Drew Goins

The presidency

Charles Lane

Biden wins, with a 65 percent win likelihood, 319 electoral college votes and 52 percent of the popular vote

Either Biden is going to win, or public opinion polling has degenerated into an empty, erroneous exercise. I think Arizona will go blue this year, but not either Georgia or Texas, as many Democrats hope.

I suspect we will have a relatively early call because most of the key swing states are in the Eastern time zone … though Pennsylvania didn’t give itself much time to process ballots before polls close, so it could be late to report final results.

Molly Roberts

Biden wins, with an 86 percent win likelihood, 330 electoral college votes and 53 percent of the popular vote

Biden will win by enough that it’s clearly a win — eventually. We won’t “know” the result on election night, partly because race-callers are going to be more cautious than ever. Florida needs to blow out for the former VP for an easy call there, and it could very well break for Trump instead. Pennsylvania will probably go blue, but it will take a while for the count to come in. An early call in Arizona, plus strong enough results in Michigan and Wisconsin, could lead to an answer on Wednesday.

But why should we know any sooner? We obviously didn’t know in 2000, in 2004 we didn’t know until mid-afternoon on Wednesday, and we didn’t technically know until the next morning in 2016, either. In other words: Enjoy this agony a little longer!

Karen Tumulty

Biden wins, with a 75 percent win likelihood, 305 electoral college votes and 54 percent of the popular vote

Late-breaking undecideds are likely to vote Biden, but how many of them can there really be? I think the popular vote will be significantly closer than the electoral college, but this time, the two of them will align.

David Byler

Biden wins, with a 93 percent win likelihood, 348 electoral college votes and 54 percent of the popular vote

I ran a model, and those were the outputs! More seriously, though — my best guess is that Biden wins some combination of the key swing states earlier than expected (looking at Florida in particular) and we can make some inferences about the trajectory of this election well before a final race call happens. Of course, I could be completely wrong, because every scenario seems to be on the table this year.

Jennifer Rubin

Biden wins, with a 90 percent win likelihood, 342 electoral college votes and 54 percent of the popular vote

Biden sweeps the three key blue states of Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania and breaks into red territory in Florida, Georgia and Arizona.

Eugene Robinson

Biden wins, with an 80 percent win likelihood, 342 electoral college votes and 54 percent of the popular vote

I think we’ll see a robust Biden win, something closer to a landslide than a squeaker. I agree with Jen and think Biden takes the “blue wall” trifecta comfortably; the surprise is that he picks off either Florida or Ohio (but not both).

Christine Emba

Biden wins, with an 89 percent win likelihood, 339 electoral college votes and 55 percent of the popular vote

Biden wins with a comfortable — though not enormous — margin. I’m hoping for an early call (by “early” I mean within a day or two, not night-of). The mail-in and early-vote enthusiasm has been overwhelming, and I believe that more Americans are just plain tired of the current administration and ready for a change than the polls may have captured. Well, “believe” is maybe overstating it. “Hope” is more accurate.

Megan McArdle

Biden wins, with an 85 percent win likelihood, 340 electoral college votes and 54 percent of the popular vote

I’m a wisdom-of-crowds girl, so I’m just looking at the RealClearPolitics polling average and the median forecast from FiveThirtyEight, which puts Biden’s chances high, but with a relatively narrow popular-vote margin and roughly 340 to 350 electoral votes. In our partisan era, I’m not sure true blowouts are possible anymore.

Greg Sargent

Biden wins, with an 80 percent win likelihood, 305 electoral college votes and 52 percent of the popular vote

I believe Biden will win Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Arizona and either North Carolina or Georgia, while picking up Nebraska’s 2nd District. That would put Biden at 305 or 306. A surprise break in Georgia is at least possible due to the energy among African Americans there. But Florida could still go to Trump. If so, this would fall short of a landslide.

The Senate

David Byler

Democrats win, with an 80 percent win likelihood and a 52-48 majority

The race to watch is Arizona. Sen. Martha McSally (R) will lose, and it’ll be a harbinger of broader Western problems for the GOP.

Greg Sargent

Democrats win, with a 70 percent win likelihood and a 51-49 majority

Arizona may go to Democrats, in large part because it’s ground zero in the immigration wars, which seem to have become much more of a liability for Republicans in the Trump era. And that will figure big-time in the debates over the future of the GOP and the costs Trumpism has inflicted on it.

Charles Lane

Democrats win, with a 55 percent win likelihood and a 51-49 majority

Sen. Susan Collins (R) vs. Sara Gideon (D) in Maine is the most interesting race just because of the Shakespearean quality of Collins’s predicament. However, there is more suspense here than there may appear; everyone seems to be assuming Collins will lose, but in fact she is still within a few points — and that’s based on the very scant numbers of public polls that have been taken.

Jennifer Rubin

Democrats win, with a 90 percent win likelihood and a 53-47 majority

Sen. Joni Ernst (R) loses in Iowa. Sorry, gotta know crop prices!

Eugene Robinson

Democrats win, with a 70 percent win likelihood and a 52-48 majority

There is no way Ernst should lose. But I think she’s going to.

Christine Emba

Democrats win, with a 60 percent win likelihood and a 56-44 majority

Jaime Harrison (D) vs. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R) in South Carolina is what I’m glued to. I think it will actually break for Harrison, thanks to high Democratic turnout and an inescapable “sweep them out” energy.

Molly Roberts

Democrats win, with a 50.01 percent win likelihood and a 51-49 majority

Maine goes for Gideon. Everyone with a “Bye Bye, Susan” bumper sticker rejoices. Collins just isn’t able to draw a distinction between her and her party anymore, and the populous southern part of the state is simply too blue for the win she’ll probably secure up north to compensate.

Megan McArdle

Democrats win, with a 60 percent win likelihood and a 52-48 majority

Minnesota seems interesting to me, simply because I feel like a Democrat shouldn’t have to fight so hard. But I expect the Democrats ultimately pull it out.

Karen Tumulty

Democrats win, with a 60 percent win likelihood and a 51-49 majority

I’m keeping an eye on the Georgia special. It is likely to go into overtime with a January runoff, and the Senate majority could be on the line.

The upsets

Karen Tumulty

I’m interested in whether the Texas legislature’s House flips. That would have huge implications for redistricting and could possibly set my home state (after many years of hype) on the long-predicted road to turning blue.

Greg Sargent

Georgia’s electoral votes going to Biden is a real possibility. And this is fascinating, because Biden’s last-minute trip there was surely driven by what the campaign was able to learn from the enormous level of early voting we’ve seen — which in turn shows how much this level of early voting may be transforming our politics.

David Byler

In Georgia, Rep. Doug Collins (R) advances to the runoff and beats the Rev. Raphael Warnock (D). Democrats everywhere are heartbroken.

Eugene Robinson

Graham-Harrison is one Senate race I’ll watch closely. Conventional wisdom says Harrison will fall just short, despite all his money. So my calculations don’t include this as a gain for the Dems. But I just have a hunch this one isn’t over yet. Trump will win the state, but there’s very little love for Graham in South Carolina right now.

Charles Lane

I actually don’t think you can really call anything an upset in a year like this with so many true toss-ups. I could see Democrats surprising everyone by running the table on the Senate, for example. Meanwhile, I think it would be a huge upset if Colorado voters were to reject the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact in a referendum. That would be a rare vote in favor of the current electoral college system, but polls show it’s possible.

Jennifer Rubin

Toto, I’ve got a feeling we’re not in red Kansas anymore. The state’s up-for-grabs Senate seat goes to Democrat Barbara Bollier.

Christine Emba

Jon Ossoff upsets Sen. David Perdue (R) in Georgia’s run-of-the-mill non-special Senate race. Could a traditionally red state go young and blue? Yes! This could be one of the races in which disgust with how things are going leads to new levels of turnout, and shocking debate moments really matter.

Molly Roberts

D.C.'s Initiative 81, also known as the Entheogenic Plant and Fungus Policy Act of 2020, also known as the “magic mushrooms” referendum, will pass to make enforcing the ban on certain psychedelic ’shrooms and psychedelic flora among local police’s lowest priorities. This won’t exactly be a surprise, in that polling is positive, but it will be a surprise in that a lot of voters have absolutely no idea this exists!

Megan McArdle

If I could predict upsets, they wouldn’t be upsets!

Previous ranking: Round 73 | Here’s how Trump and Biden scored in the final debate

… and all the rest of them: Rounds 1 through 74 (74!!) of the Post Pundit 2020 Power Ranking

Agree? Disagree? Share your thoughts in the comments. Oh, and as for the House of Representatives? Your friendly neighborhood rankings wrangler feels pretty comfortable calling that one himself: Democrats keep control … but 2022 is just around the corner. And, who knows, perhaps we’ll see you then — if we can wait that long. Until next time!

Watch Opinions videos:

Read more on 2020:

Eugene Robinson: America is changing. Joe Biden can help us through the transformation.

Fernanda Santos: The real reason Arizona will turn blue this year

George F. Will: The coming decade of Democratic dominance

Marc A. Thiessen: Trump is one of the greatest conservative presidents in modern history — if you turn the sound off

Jennifer Rubin: Despite Trump’s efforts, democracy is flourishing

We noticed you’re blocking ads!

Keep supporting great journalism by turning off your ad blocker. Or purchase a subscription for unlimited access to real news you can count on.
Unblock ads
Questions about why you are seeing this? Contact us