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Will the pandemic have partisan effects on voter turnout?

Election forecasts will probably err systematically in some way, given the unique shock of the pandemic. But in which direction might the forecasts err?

I see a few possibilities.

Trump voters are likely more passionate voters (many Biden voters see him as a necessary evil). Learning about mail-ins and state laws can be pretty annoying. So maybe at some margin, Biden voters don’t bother.

On the other hand, if Biden voters are a bit higher-IQ on average, it’s possible they may be more likely to navigate state policies and mailing-in.

Yet if higher-IQ Biden voters are more fully adapted to digital life, mailing-in could be more annoying. I’m so fully digital that when I need to snail-mail something, I feel retarded and I procrastinate like crazy (avoidance behavior).

So it’s possible the average Trump voter is more accustomed to snail-mail. This might seem like a minor point, but seriously, when I have to snail-mail things, it feels like a 10-step task I’ve never done before. I have to Google, like, how stamps work.

I also wonder if Biden’s relatively high standing in the forecasts right now (72% vs Trumps 28%) interacts with both pandemic voting confusion and Biden’s enthusiasm deficit. In short: “He’s already going to win and I’m not that fired up, so I’m done Googling how stamps work.”

Finally, Trump voters are probably less worried about in-person voting. So Trump voters may be more likely to turn out in person.

These points make me wonder if the pandemic may ultimately favor Trump, but I’m sure I haven’t exhausted the matter. What do you think?

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