In less than 36 hours, Election Day 2016 will be upon us. Of course, by that time a great many Americans will have already voted. In an election that could either reshuffle political allegiances for decades or be regarded as a curious departure, prediction may be a dangerous game to play. I am going to try and play it.
As I am sure you all know, there is not a single Presidential election but 51 of them, contested in each of the 50 States and the District of Columbia. These statewide contests determine how each state’s Electoral votes will be allotted. With a couple of exceptions, all of a state’s votes go to the candidate in that state with the most votes.
There are 538 total Electoral votes and a candidate must win a majority to be elected. To do that, they must reach 270. By my calculations, with a great assist from the 538 Website, which you should definitely check out, Hillary Clinton has a minimum of 198 votes and Donald Trump a minimum of 158. There are 15 states and 1 Congressional district still potentially up for grabs.
Of the remaining states, I looked at past elections(mostly 2012,) as well as three key demographic features, in making my picks. Those were the size of the Latino vote, the size of the “old white folks” vote and the number of suburban women voters. I believe it is those three groups that will decide the outcome.
There are 5 or 6 states where the Latino vote could be decisive and those states are likely to move in the direction of Mrs. Clinton. There are also at least 5 states where the “old white folks” vote may be decisive and they are likely to favor Mr. Trump.
As to the Latin American vote, it will be heaviest in New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, Colorado and Florida. And it could be a factor in Utah if the 3rd party vote there is high. Of those states, Republicans won only Arizona and Utah in 2012 so they would seem unlikely to make gains this year. However, Mountain west states have shown much higher levels of support for Gary Johnson and Jill Stein, both of whom would be more likely to pull votes from Clinton. I think it is mostly a wash and that the Democrats take New Mexico, Colorado and Nevada and that Republicans hold Utah and Arizona but by very narrow margins. We will get back to Florida in a minute but our updated vote tally is now: Clinton 218 Trump 175.
The “old white folks” vote is pretty significant in most of the Northern and Midwestern states but is also a pretty big factor in Florida. I think that factor is going to give Trump Iowa, New Hampshire and the 2nd District of Maine and will put him in play in a number of other places you might not expect him to win. I now have it: Clinton 218 Trump 186.
That seems awfully close, doesn’t it? But, with just a couple of exceptions, the states I still have in play were won by Democrats the last time around and have leaned that way in most polling this time. Trump has to pull a number of upsets in states where he is usually shown to be running at least 5 % behind in the polls. And maybe he could. Here’s why.
Trump’s unique appeal is to older voters who feel like life has not given them a fair shake and who blame the elites in government and the media for their fate. There are a lot of people like that in places like Pennsylvania, Ohio and Michigan and a fair number in places like Wisconsin and Minnesota. With the exception of Ohio, these should be Democrat states. However, polling still shows a lot of undecided voters and, traditionally, late deciders tend to end up voting against the incumbent. Clinton is the closest thing we have to an incumbent and so Trump may be the beneficiary of that vote.
I think that vote is going to give Trump Ohio and I believe he will also hold Georgia. I don’t think it will be enough to keep Clinton from winning Minnesota and Wisconsin. Updated total: Clinton 238 Trump 220.
There are now 4 states in the balance holding 80 Electoral votes. Trump must win 3 of them and Clinton has to win at least 2. The states are Florida (29 votes) Pennsylvania (20 votes) Michigan (16 votes) and North Carolina (15 votes.)
Keep in mind there is a scenario here where the candidates tie at 269 and another in which Trump gets 271 votes. Given the possibility of a “faithless elector” or even several, those numbers could lead to a constitutional crisis.
So who wins? Well, I think it will be Clinton and I will tell you exactly why and how in Part 2 of my predictions tomorrow. Don’t miss it and don’t forget to share this blog with your friends!