2020 Election Forecast

Updated: 1-03-18

This page features my latest predictions for whether President Donald Trump will be re-elected to a second term in the November 3, 2020 General Election.

These predictions are based on a comparison of Trump’s latest job approval numbers with historical data from prior administrations, stretching all the way back to 1945 and the Presidency of Harry S. Truman.

All historical job approval numbers come from Gallup and were obtained from The American Presidency Project.


Model Predictions

The predictions shown below come from three statistical models, though two are very similar and differ only in terms of the data they use to generate prediction estimates.

The two “Bayesian Models ” compare current and historical job approval ratings and use Bayes Theorem to try to determine whether Trump’s latest numbers seem characteristic of a president who will later go on to be re-elected.

One of the Bayesian Models is is based solely on job approval numbers from the Gallup daily tracking poll (referred to as the “Gallup-Only Model”) and the other is based on aggregate data from many polls in addition to Gallup (referred to as the “Aggregate Polling Model”).

The third model is a simple “Logistic Regression Model” with two predictor variables, namely approval ratings from Gallup tracking polls and the number of days prior to Election Day each poll was conducted.

You can read more about how these models work, and their limitations at this point, here in this post. And for a discussion of the limitations in using job approval ratings this far out from Election Day, check out this post. In a nutshell, job approval ratings are only weakly related to re-election chances early on in a president’s first term. So, take the above predictions with a grain of salt for now.

Approval ratings become a better, much more reliable predictor of re-election chances about 300 days prior to Election Day, or around the start of the last year of a president’s first term in office.

So, although I’ll be updating these forecasts regularly throughout the remainder of Trump’s first term in office, stay tuned particularly for what these predictions have to say come January 2020.



Brian Kurilla is a psychological scientist with a Ph.D. in cognitive psychology. You can follow Brian on Twitter @briankurilla