Four years ago I was convinced that Romney was going to win in a landslide so take what follows with a boulder of salt.
We are coming to the end of a very odd campaign. In Trump and Clinton we have the two most unpopular major party candidates for President in US history. During the course of the campaign we have had Trump accused of sexual assault by a baker’s dozen of women. Clinton is currently under renewed criminal investigation for her using non-secure civilian e-mail servers as Secretary of State in order to protect her business of selling access and influence to the highest bidders. WikiLeaks has revealed various unsavory aspects of the Clinton campaign and Project Veritas has shown the Democrats engaging in plots to incite violence at Trump rallies. Trump is on audio as praising physical assault as a means of sexual success. Clinton has jealously guarded her health records although there is demonstrable evidence that she is suffering from some malady. Her secret paid speeches to Goldman Sachs revealed by Wikileaks underline that she routinely, as a matter of deliberate policy, says one thing in public to the people and another thing in private to the powerful. I suspect that most Americans would wish to have as little to do personally as possible with either candidate. In short, it has been a contest between two skunks.
This in part explains why the polls have been all over the place throughout the campaign. Having said that, the national polls currently tend to show either a dead heat or Clinton with a very slight advantage. The state polls indicate that Trump may be surging, with the most recent polls showing him ahead in the blue stronghold of New Hampshire, and extremely close in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania. He seems to have beaten off threats in Arizona and Georgia. Early voting indicates that the black vote may be down from 2008 and 2012 while the Hispanic vote is up. Overall, the Republicans seem to be holding their own in early voting in most states.
The above are the states I view as currently safe for each side. This gives Clinton 182 electoral votes to 164 for Trump.
Next let’s add states that are almost certain to fall to each side: for Trump, Arizona and Georgia, for Clinton, Minnesota and New Mexico. This ties Clinton and Trump at 197 electoral votes each.
Next we have the states where it is close, but there seems to be a clear advantage to one side: this gives Trump Iowa, Ohio and one electoral vote for Maine 2 (Maine allocates one electoral vote to each of its Congressional districts), with the other three Maine electoral votes to Clinton. This gives Clinton 200 electoral votes to 216 for Trump.
Now it gets tricky with true battleground states. I give Florida, North Carolina and New Hampshire, based on the latest polls, to Trump. Florida, as usual, will be very close, but with a decrease in the black vote, Trump Democrats, and a large effort by the Cuban community, I think Trump will win. North Carolina, based on early voting, I think Trump will take it, and probably by a wider margin than that by which Romney took the state in 2012. Clinton will take Virginia, although recent polls are showing it quite close, and Pennsylvania. The Democrats who control Philadelphia will manufacture votes if they have to in order to win in the Keystone State. That gets Clinton up to 233 and Trump up to 264.
The remaining states are true coin flips. I give Nevada and Wisconsin to Clinton and Colorado and Michigan to Trump. Final electoral vote count is 249 for Clinton and 289 for Trump.
Here are some of the assumptions that I have made in coming up with these estimates:
- Trump will do about two points better than his current standing in polls due to “shy” Trump voters.
- Black turnout will be down around ten percent from 2012.
- White turnout will be up around five to ten percent from 2012 and virtually all the increase will be going to Trump.
- Trump will take about twenty percent of the black vote and thirty percent of the Hispanic vote.
- Overall participation in the election will be down from 2012 by five percent.
- Jill Stein, the Green candidate, will keep her two percent of the vote.
- The Libertarians will do about three percent at the polls, with the remaining three percent of their support breaking three to two for Trump.
- Undecideds will break three to two for Trump.
- Greater enthusiasm by the hard core of Trump voters will largely cancel out the Clinton ground advantage.
- No major events will occur between today and election day.