As the days wind down to November 3, people who are following this election closely can be excused for getting more tense. In general, opinion polls tend to tighten as election day approaches. The media likes an exciting race so they will greatly highlight any new poll result that shows the underdog gaining ground and the gap closing. For the campaigns, they have to strike a delicate balance between warning their supporters against the danger of complacency with being too alarmist so that their supporters get depressed and think it is hopeless and decide it is not worth voting.
This manifests itself in different messaging depending on who is ahead in the polls and who is behind. For the candidate who is ahead you will get increasingly alarming emails saying that things are going badly. The goal seems to be to ward off any complacency about the outcome that might cause some people to not bother to vote. Right now, the emails I am getting from the Biden camp are almost hysterical in their tone of how they might lose the election and the dire consequences if that were to happen. These alarming calls can resonate with those who remember the loss in 2016.
I have unfortunately stopped getting emails from the Trump campaign (Donald, Donald, why hast thou forsaken me?). They are behind in the polls but their public messaging is to show confidence so as to boost the morale of their supporters. The large rallies he is holding, although a danger to public health, are part of that strategy since he needs to project public enthusiasm to fire up his people to vote and encourage others to vote.
Finally, I am not a big fan of indicators such as crowd sizes, lawn signs, hats, and other paraphernalia. In a system dominated by two well-established parties, neither one’s support is going to drop below 40% whatever happens, and will likely not go below 45%. With 140 million voters, that suggests a floor of about 56 million people who support the losing candidate even if the loss is by a landslide. It is not hard to turn out large crowds or sell merchandise.
So the best thing is to do what you can in support of your candidate and of course vote, but otherwise try to just chill out.