One week before the election, and with more than 25 million votes already cast, we are in the final stretch of the 2020 election cycle. In the past month, Democrats have continued to widen their lead, with former Vice President Joe Biden generally leading by double-digits in national polls and Democrats predicted to have a significant chance of securing a majority in the Senate. NACM’s lobbyist, PACE LLP, offers its breakdown on current expectations, although as with any election, things can change very quickly.
Biden is currently projected to win the presidency by a comfortable popular vote margin, as well as an Electoral College margin. Based strictly on current polling, Biden is projected to win the Electoral College by a 347-191 margin, and it would take an eight-point flip (in President Trump’s favor) in polling to see the former VP dip below the 270 electoral votes needed to win, whereas just a two-point swing in the other direction (in Biden’s favor) would bring Biden’s total votes above 400.
The main question is how the significant increase in absentee/mail-in voting might impact turnout. Expectations are that it will be difficult to determine the winner of the election on election night because of how many mail-in ballots will need to be counted. The actual results of the election may not become official until as long as two weeks after Nov. 3.
There is a small possibility that legal challenges against the validity of some mail-in ballots may result in a large number being declared invalid, due to minor technical errors or other issues caused by improperly filling out the ballot. This is an outcome that Democrats especially are concerned about because the majority of early votes and absentee ballots in the past have leaned Democratic. While this is a very unlikely outcome, it is one that would invite significant controversy, and is being frequently covered by news outlets.
In the past month, Democratic Senate candidates have held their leads and increased it in many states, and as a result, are projected to secure a majority in the Senate. Republicans currently hold a 53-47 majority in the Senate. Polling averages show this flipping to a 51-49 or 52-48 Democratic majority. The seats considered most likely to shift to Democratic representation include:
- Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO)
- Sen. Martha McSally (R-AZ)
- Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC)
- Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME)
Many of these races are close, within several points, so the final result is likely to be less predictable than the presidential race, where margins are significantly wider.
Democrats took the House in 2018, and 2020 is not expected to significantly change the current 233-202 makeup. Since August, polls have indicated Democrats may net another three to four seats. Because of the highly polarized nature of many congressional districts, these results are very unlikely to differ much from the polls, making it extremely unlikely that Republicans will regain control of the House in 2020.
Legislative Outlook for the Year
The Republican-controlled Senate confirmed Supreme Court Nominee Amy Coney Barrett on Monday night, wrapping up the legislative session before the election. After the election, if Biden wins, it is most likely that Congress will act on the next COVID relief package after he takes office on Jan. 20, 2021. The last major items that Congress must pass before the end of the year are:
- A government funding bill prior to Dec. 11 (we are anticipating another continuing resolution)
- The 2020 National Defense Authorization Act
- The 2020 Water Resources Development Act (not a must-pass, but already has significant bipartisan support)
If Democrats take control of the Senate and the White House, we can expect additional scrutiny and action on collections issues, with a focus on protecting consumers. With that said, even with Democrats in control, there are many Democrats who understand the need to balance business-to-business debt collection needs and act carefully in this area. We will continue to educate Members and Senators in this area to protect the ability for NACM members to recoup losses.