If you are a Biden voter, as I am, it is easy to be afraid of what the results of this election will be. In 2016, Hillary Clinton was widely predicted to win the election and become the next president — this obviously did not happen. But the 2020 election is not the 2016 election, Joe Biden is not Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump is not the same candidate he was four years ago.

This election is different from 2016 in many ways, but one important distinction is polling. Biden’s lead is larger than Clinton’s was at any point in the 2016 election. Biden’s lead is much more stable than Clinton’s was, as well. Polling averages show that Biden has not trailed Trump once since he became the presumptive nominee. 

But national polls aren’t what we should rely on, considering we do not elect the president with a national popular vote. We have to rely on state polling. Biden’s lead in Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin — three key states — is 5.2 points or more in each of those states, as of Oct. 29. Biden wins the election if all three of these states flip blue and the states Clinton won in 2016 remain blue. While Clinton was predicted to win each of these states, Biden’s lead is much more stable than hers was. 

In 2016, the polls made it look like Clinton was going to win easily. Even FiveThirtyEight, a widely-respected polling website, predicted with 71.4% probability that Clinton would win the election, which was a narrower margin than most other predictions. But FiveThirtyEight adjusted how they are predicting this election to allow for variance due to COVID-19 and better polling of white, working class voters who are more likely to vote for Trump. Also, FiveThirtyEight gives Biden an 89% chance of winning the election, opposed to Clinton’s 71.4% chance. This increased probability combined with better polling data gives me hope that Biden will win the election.

Beside the presidential race, there are other reasons to be optimistic at the national level: The Democrats are clearly favored to keep the House and possibly gain seats, adding to the 232-seat majority

The Democrats are predicted to pick up seats in the Senate as well, and could potentially get the majority. Arizona and Colorado are widely expected to flip blue, and the Democrats in Maine and North Carolina are favored as well. Other competitive, currently Republican seats include Iowa and Georgia’s special election. Even though Alabama’s seat is predicted to flip red, just winning the first four seats would cause the Senate to be tied, which is a much better position than at a three-vote deficit. If Biden wins, Democratic vice president nominee Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., would be the tie-breaker as vice president, effectively giving the Senate to the Democrats. 

However, Biden cannot win the presidency and the Democrats cannot take back the Senate if we don’t fulfill our civic duty and vote. While many students at the University of Michigan have already voted, most have not. For those that have not voted yet, make a plan to vote on Nov. 3. If you requested an absentee ballot but haven’t returned it yet, do not mail it in. Deliver it in-person at the clerk’s office at 301 E. Huron St. or the clerk’s office satellite pop-up in the University of Michigan Museum of Art.

If you aren’t registered yet, you can register in-person up to and on Election Day at 8 p.m. To register, you can go to the clerk’s office in downtown Ann Arbor or the UMMA, and you need to bring proof of residency and proof of eligibility. Your MCard counts as voter ID. 

Finally, make sure to vote for Joe Biden and Sen. Gary Peters, D-Mich., who is running for reelection for his seat in the Senate representing Michigan. Peters is running against John James and the race is close. James ran against Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., in 2018 and lost, but since this is a presidential election year, James is receiving more attention, especially with his endorsement from Trump. If the Democrats want to take back the Senate, reelecting Peters is not just helpful, but necessary. 

As residents of a swing state, we must do our part and vote to deliver Michigan to Joe Biden and help Peters keep his Senate seat. Based on polling and predictions, I am optimistic that Joe Biden will become the next president and that the Democrats will at least gain seats in the Senate. But that optimism is useless if we do not vote blue on or before Nov. 3. 

Lydia Storella can be reached at storella@umich.edu.

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