Is it too early to predict which states will decide the 2020 Presidential Election? Fivethirtyeight.com examined the Cook Political Report’s June predictions for the last four presidential elections to see how accurate they were five months out from the election. The picks were mixed.
In June 2004, Cook correctly predicted IA, MN, NH, NM, NV, OH, and WI would be toss-ups, incorrectly rated FL and MO as toss-ups, and missed CO, MI, OR, and PA, which ended closer than thought. In June 2008, Cook correctly rated OH as a toss-up, incorrectly rated CO, IA, MI, NV, and PA as toss-ups, and missed FL, IN, MO, MT, and NC. In June 2012, Cook correctly rated FL, NC, OH, and VA and incorrectly rated CO, IA, NH, NV, and PA. Finally, in June 2016, Cook correctly pegged NC and NH as toss-ups, while they incorrectly rated IA and OH, and missed AZ, CO, FL, ME, MI, MN, NV, PA, and WI.
Today, most observers offer a very narrow list, mainly Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin and sometimes Arizona, as being 2020’s deciders. But as Cook’s track record shows, states not on the radar now could very well be the decider states come November.