Three Swing States

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We all know about the 78,000 voters in Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin who swung the election to Trump in 2016. Tonight, a Quinnipiac poll tells us some things about electability in those three states. The poll was taken just before the debate, between February 12 and February 18.

There is bad news, there is good news, and there is informative news.

Wisconsin

With X as the nominee, Democrats win/lose, and by how much?

Biden lose by 7 points
Bloomberg lose by 8 points
Buttigieg lose by 8 points
Klobuchar lose by 11 points
Sanders lose by 7 points
Warren lose by 10 points

If these data are accurate, Wisconsin is close to being a lost cause. Insofar as you want to worry about Wisconsin anyway, Biden and Sanders are tied for being the least unelectable of the lot.

Michigan

With X as the nominee, Democrats win/lose, and by how much?

Biden win by 3 points
Bloomberg win by 5 points
Buttigieg win by 1 point
Sanders win by 4 points
Klobuchar win by 1 point
Warren win by 2 points

In sum, before the debate, in Michigan Bloomberg appears to be the most electable, followed by Sanders, followed by Biden. The other three are way too close for comfort.

Pennsylvania

With X as the nominee, Democrats win/lose, and by how much?

Biden win by 8 points
Bloomberg win by 6 points
Buttigieg win by 4 points
Klobuchar win by 7 points
Sanders win by 4 points
Warren win by 3 points

In sum, before the debate, in Pennsylvania, Biden, Bloomberg, and Klotuchar stood out in electability.

That said, because Michigan is much closer than Pennsylvania, a primary voter mainly concerned with electability should place more emphasis on electability in Michigan than on electability in Pennsylvania. Using that criterion, in picking between Sanders and Biden on electability, data driven voters using this set of data should pick Sanders.

Bottom Line Conclusions

  1. Based on these data alone, an electability-driven primary voter would choose among Biden, the pre-debate Bloomberg, and Sanders. An electability-driven primary voter would not seriously consider Buttigieg, Klobuchar, or Warren.
  2. Based on these data alone, Biden’s claim to be more electable than Sanders lacks empirical support.
  3. In 2016 Trump won Wisconsin and Pennsylvania by seven tenths of one percent, each. He won Michigan by two tenths of one percent. In Michigan, based on these data, Sanders is a smidge more electable than Biden in Michigan.