Friday, November 04, 2016

This Election Still Looks Like a Trump Win to Me


Donald Trump speaking at CPAC 2011
in Washington, D.C. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
My prediction since some time ago (August I think, but possibly July or September) has been that Donald Trump will carry every state that Mitt Romney carried, plus Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Florida for 289 electoral votes.

Right now the RealClearPolitics "no tossups" map -- where they call the race in each state for whichever candidate is currently ahead -- has Hillary Clinton winning with 297 electoral votes to Trump's 241.

Now, remember what I've been saying lately -- I think Trump will almost certainly carry any state where he polls within 5% of Clinton. Why? Two reasons:


  • I think that a non-trivial fraction of Trump voters won't say they're voting for Trump. Not even to a pollster. They don't want their family, friends and neighbors to know, so they're not telling anyone.
  • Even though this is an "open" election with no incumbent, there's an extent to which it is a referendum on Barack Obama's presidency and the Democratic Party. That makes Trump the challenger. Voters who wait until the last minute to decide vote for the challenger, not for the incumbent. That effect may be a little muted since it's the incumbent party, not person, we're talking about here, but it's still the way things tend to go. This means that Trump is going to be gaining, not losing, over the next few days.

Note that neither of those things are really depending on e.g. some kind of massive Wikileaks bombshell than ends with something like Hillary Clinton being perp-walked in leg irons and orange coveralls on Monday. Not saying that couldn't conceivably happen. Just saying that my prediction doesn't depend on it happening.


Now, have a look at that RCP "no tossups" map and think about the non-Romney states I said Trump would carry. RCP's "no tossups" calls three of them -- Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Florida -- for Clinton, with only Ohio going for Trump (as I think it will, and he is 5 points up there).

BUT:

  • The two Michigan polls done since Tuesday, the first of the month,  have Trump within either 3 or 4 points of Clinton -- 3 if Jill Stein is included.
  • The only Pennsylvania poll done since Tuesday has Trump and Clinton tied.
  • The only Florida poll done in November has Clinton 4 points up on Trump. That's toward the edge of my formula and right at the edge of Margin of Error, but I'm fairly confident in Trump winning the state.

So, Clinton was at 297 and Trump was at 241 in the "no tossups." Looking at those three states and assuming the rest of the map is in fact correct:

If Trump wins Florida but not Michigan or Pennsylvania, he wins the election with 270 electoral votes.

If Trump wins Michigan and Pennsylvania but not Florida, he wins the election with 277 electoral votes

If Trump wins Michigan and Florida but not Pennsylvania, he wins the election with 286 electoral votes.

If Trump wins Pennsylvania and Florida but not Michigan, he wins the election with 290 electoral votes.

If he wins Michigan AND Pennsylvania AND Florida, he wins the election with 306 electoral votes.

Unless there's some massive fundamental shift between now and Tuesday, I believe Trump will win that round of voting and, barring faithless electors or personal incapacity of some sort (i.e. severe illness or death), will be the next president of the United States

No, I don't like that any more than you do.

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