State Analysis: Michigan and Georgia
State Elasticity Analysis: Michigan
|Michigan Elasticity by county (click to expand)|
The state’s most inelastic and populous area is the Detroit metropolitan area, with Oakland (E 27.0) and Wayne (E 23.9) counties making up a key Democratic voting block. Michigan's more elastic areas, like St. Clair (E 54.8) and Shiawassee (E 54.9), are ones that Republicans have tended to win of late. This indicates a high potential for improvement for Democrats in 2020, as they can bank on gaining votes in an environment far more favorable for them, and should prove a major source of worry for Republicans. This is because highly elastic counties, in general, should raise alarm bells for the party holding them in the face of an unfriendly national mood, as a high proportion of voters could break unfavorably and drive down their statewide margin.
2016 represented the absolute nadir of Democratic performance in the Wolverine state, and elasticity must be viewed in this context when assessing the state’s winnability in 2020. Looking at Michigan’s counties, Kent (E 32.9) and Macomb (E 35.3) are the two largest Trump 2016 counties, and both have a slight degree of elasticity, which is excellent news for Democrats as they continue to make gains in suburban counties. With these suburban counties having trends and elasticities that indicate a continued swing since 2016 towards Democrats, simply holding Clinton's margins in the other counties and gaining votes here would be enough to win back the state.
This, however, is not their only path to victory in the state. The upper parts of the Lower Peninsula and the “thumb” of Michigan are reliably Republican but are quite elastic – Obama came close to winning them in 2012, and while Democrats lost a lot of ground in 2016, they clawed a fair amount back in their 2018 races, especially in Gretchen Whitmer's resounding gubernatorial victory; for example, while Clinton lost Lapeer (E 60.4) by 38 points, Whitmer only lost it by 21. A similar gain in the 2016 margins in these areas would be enough to offset Trump's victory margin of 11,000 votes by itself.
Democrats have multiple avenues that they expect to win votes back in, and this leaves a cash-strapped Trump campaign fighting battles on multiple fronts in an attempt to plug the vote holes and tamp down their losses in these areas. Even a slight gain in any individual region would be enough for Biden to win the state back; the sheer number of areas that he has avenues to pull votes back in, however, makes the state incredibly tough for Trump to hold. The combination of increased turnout and the prospect of Democrats being primed to capitalize on the state's elasticity in an incredibly favorable environment for them makes this state a solid pickup bet for them and a near-unwinnable state for Trump.
Rating: Likely D
State Elasticity Analysis: Georgia
Georgia is turning blue faster than any other swing state. This would have happened eventually, but Donald Trump has accelerated its movement up by arguably a decade. For the first time in a generation, the Peach State is a true toss-up and could play a pivotal role in the 2020 election.