Sunday, November 6, 2016

2016 - Hillary to Win by a Comfortable Margin, but not a Landslide

Well, it's that time again for The Prof to encapsulate in stone (or cyber-ware) predictions for what we will see in the next 72 hours. Election 2016 is finally upon us. In fact it has been upon us for several weeks if one factors in the early voting in a number of states. As of November 5, just shy of 40 million early votes have been cast. This election will (hopefully) be concluded by the wee hours on Wednesday morning and I predict the nation will (sort of) welcome President-Elect Hillary Clinton.

Clinton is going to win due to the following factors.
  • A unified Democratic Party (Bernie supporters have come home) and a far less unified Republican Party with multiple prominent Republicans either publicly supporting her candidacy or not endorsing Trump. Clinton is likely to garner the support of 90% or more of Democrats. If Trump manages only 85% of Republican voters it will give her enough of an edge in the swing states to win the majority of them.
  • Independents who usually lean to the GOP appear to be breaking slightly to Clinton. More bad news for Trump.
  • Superior Clinton ground game in all respects. This is important in driving key supporters to the polls in both early voting and on election day. Data on early voting suggests that it is on par with 2012 which produced Obama victories in almost all of the swing states. by contrast, Trump has publicly shown his disdain of data and organization. This will cost him dearly.
  • Clinton's policy positions (overall) are more in-line with the majority of voters. This varies of course with Trump's positions on the economy and jobs being preferred by a large number of voters - but the urban, college-educated, female, and minority coalition that form the backbone of the Clinton candidacy will outweigh that of the Trump coalition of white, male, religious, and less educated voters.
  • Expanding on the aforementioned point, Trump is getting hammered with female voters by over 20 points who have both a chance to make history and reject Trump's perceived chauvinism. Trump leads among men, but by a far smaller margin than Romney did four years ago.
  • The economy, while not booming, is perceived as being good enough to keep the Democrats in power. There are large pockets where the economy is doing poorly mainly in large segments of the Midwest (Ohio, Michigan) and this benefits Trump. But it is not going to be enough to win enough electoral votes in the end.
  • In an ordinary election year the base factors would tilt slightly to a GOP win after eight years of a Democratic administration. But this year Trump has alienated and has made himself unqualified as act as President to a vast segment of the electorate and suffers from very high disapproval ratings. Hillary suffers high disapproval as well, but she is seen as being qualified for the job by more voters. This is very important as it gives wavering Republicans a place to go to if they cannot bring themselves to support Trump.
  • As predicted, the third party candidacies of Johnson and Stein have faded and they will have little overall effect on the election.
  • There is going to be a very powerful anti-Trump wave in the Hispanic community. It will put tossup states like Nevada and Florida in Clinton's corner, will keep states that lean Democratic like Colorado in Clinton's column and  and will diminish Trump victories in Arizona and Texas. This is a major and existential problem for the GOP going forward. If Hispanics solidify 80% or more support for the Democrats, the Republicans will be hard pressed to win another presidential election in the foreseeable future.
  • Finally, the Democratic "blue wall" of states that give them a comfortable base in the Electoral College appears to be largely holding. This gives them a base of over 250 EVs which means that only one or two of the swing states needs to be won to ensure victory. The GOP literally needs to run the table to win.
Electoral College - Base states for each party and swing states
(all maps courtesy of

As you can see, the Democrats enjoy an advantage of 89 EVs looking at the states each party is nearly guaranteed to win. The likelihood of Trump winning Massachusetts or Clinton winning West Virginia are a faction above absolute zero. So lets look at the swing states and assign them based on polling, demographics, and historical voting patterns.

Arizona - Typically a GOP stalwart, Hillary has made a play due to it's growing Hispanic population. AZ is trending more purple of late, but it is probably a bridge too far - this year. Prediction: Trump by 5

Florida - This is a must-win for Trump as the 29 electoral votes are critical for any chance he may have. Both candidates have poured money and resources into the states. Results from the bellwether counties of Hillsborough and Polk in central Florida will give an early indication of who will prevail. There is a large white rural demographic in northern Florida and the Panhandle that will run up the score for Trump. Clinton will clean up among the growing Puerto Rican community. Elderly voters will favor Trump, but the margins may not be enough. My sense is that this may look a lot like 2012 where Obama squeaked out a 0.9% victory. This is a knife's edge and will be decided who has the better ground operation. Thus I am calling it for Clinton. Prediction: Clinton by 2

Georgia - Like Arizona, Georgia is trending more purple as the Atlanta metro area has a large population of college-educated whiles and there is a sizable African-American community that will swing strongly to Clinton. But also like Arizona, it is still a fundamentally Republican state with demographics that favor a Trump victory. Prediction: Trump by 5

Iowa - This state voted twice for Bush by a close margin and was won by Obama twice by comfortable margins. However, the demographics favor Trump and he is leading in all of the late polling. Prediction: Trump by 4

Maine - Using the District plan for apportionment of Electoral Votes, Maine splits its EVs by the winner of each congressional district. The statewide winner receives 2 EVs  and then the winner in each of Main'es two districts receives one EV per district won. Clinton will win statewide in Maine easily based on a victory in relatively wealthy CD 2 in southern Maine. But Trump is striving for a slim victory in CD 1 in poor and rural northern Maine. Prediction: Clinton by 6 statewide (3 EVs); Trump by 2 in CD 2 (1 EV)

Michigan - Michigan has become a state that both candidate are working in over the past two weeks. Clinton has ramped up operations in this usually-blue state as a struggling economy and large white and blue collar population are making possible a Trump pickup.  Unfortunately for Trump, Clinton will win a massive victory in minority Detroit and the educated white Detroit metro area which will outweigh his vote elsewhere. Prediction: Clinton by 4

Nebraska - Like Maine, Nebraska uses the District Plan to allocate EVs. Obama won the single urban congressional district around Omaha in 2008 to steal that electoral vote. Clinton is making a play for it, but I think Trump squeaks it out to carry all 5 of Nebraska's EVs. Prediction: Trump by 12 statewide; Trump by 2 in CD 3.

Nevada - Won by Obama twice, this formerly red state is trending blue due to demographic changes. The Hispanic vote will seure a victory for Clinton as Nevada follows New Mexico away from the GOP due to a declining white population, Trump's stance on immigration certainly does not help here either. Prediction: Clinton by 4

New Hampshire - New Hampshire is always in play and Trump over-performed  in the February Primary. Sanders pummeled Clinton here as well in February...but my gut and the polling is indicating a modest Clinton win here. Prediction: Clinton by 4

North Carolina - Another red state that is turned purple in recent years, the 15 EVs in North Carolina are being bitterly fought over. Like Florida, this is a close call and wont be decided until late in the evening or the next day. Clinton will barely squeak it out with high minority turnout and the winning northern Whites with college degrees who have relocated to this booming state. Prediction: Clinton by <1 font="">

Ohio - Ohio is tailor made for Trump (blue collar, white, and smaller percentage of college grads) and usually is a must win for either party. Luckily for Clinton, she can afford to lose Ohio due to her strength elsewhere. Watch the vote totals late in the evening from Cleveland and Cincinnati to see if she can catch Trump who will build a large lead in the more rural and blue collar regions. My belief is that the cities won't be enough o put Clinton over the top. Prediction: Trump by 3

Wildcards - states that are not likely to swing, but one never knows:

Pennsylvania - Described by pundit James Carville as "Philadelphia and Pittsburgh on the ends with Alabama in the middle" Pennsylvania has long been sought after by the GOP who have not won here since 1988. Romney made a big push here in 2012 and lost by 5 points. Philly and the suburbs will be a lonely blue island in an otherwise red sea, but the suburban female vote will be so overwhelmingly pro-Clinton that she should not be too worried here. Prediction: Clinton by 6

Virginia - Yet another solid Republican state which has gone blue due to the booming and highly educated DC suburbs. If Clinton's running mate Tim Kaine was not a sitting Virginia senator it may have been marginally in play. Prediction: Clinton by 7

Texas - What?! Yes, this GOP anchor is slowly eroding as the Hispanic population continues to grow. Trump will win, but his margin will not be close to Romney's 16 point win in 2012. Prediction: Trump by 9

Wisconsin - Narrowly won by Gore and Kerry, Obama won here easily despite local Congressman Paul Ryan being on the GOP ticket in 2012. However, Wisconsin is lily white and blue collar. Look for the cities of Madison and Milwaukee to propel Clinton to victory, but it will be closer than Obama's 7 point win in 2012. Prediction: Clinton by 4

Utah - Another shocker that Utah is even in play. The GOP typically racks up victories of 25% plus. Trump's unpopularity in the Mormon community and conservative local boy turned presidential candidate Evan McMullin are making this closer than expected. Closer between Trump and McMullin that is! Clinton runs a real risk of coming in third place in Utah. Prediction: Trump by 9 over McMullin with McMullin and Clinton in a near tie.

Colorado - Closely divided between rural conservative and urban, educated, and liberal regions Colorado seems to be swing state. Yet again, a Hispanic wave is going to sink Trump's chances despite some poll tightening. Prediction: Clinton by 6

Missouri - This former swing state keeps drifting to the GOP. Clinton will keep it fairly close, but Trump should not have a major problem in holding here. Prediction: Trump by 7

Final Prediction Map for 2016

Popular Vote Breakdown
Clinton wins the popular vote by 5 points, but fails to break 50%.

Clinton      49
Trump       44
Johnston    5
Stein           1
Other          1

Does Trump have a path to Victory?

Trump can win if all of the following factors play out. This will be the equivalent of an inside straight, but it is not impossible though very unlikely.

  • Clinton's GOTV operation does not match that of Obama's thus flipping the closest tossup states FL and NC.
  • Depressed African-American turnout in the Rustbelt diminishing Clinton's vote in PA, MI, and OH.
  • A hidden Trump vote (Bradley effect) adds a point or two for Trump in some swing states.
  • Very high white blue collar turnout in the Rustbelt flipping states like MI and possibly PA.
A winning Trump map would likely look like this.

Again, I believe that this is unlikely, but not impossible.

The Prof's Home State of Massachusetts

Clinton      65
Trump       29
Johnston    6
Stein           2

All incumbent Democratic Congressional Representatives cruise to 20 point plus victories. Only 4 out of the 9 districts have even token opposition.

Massachusetts Ballot Questions

#1 Casino/Racetrack

Yes 33
No  67

#2 Charter School Expansion

Yes 47
No  53

#3 Be Nice to Farm Animals

Yes 79
No  21

#4 Legalization of Marijuana for Recreational Use

Yes 52
No  48

Other Fun Predictions

Top 5 Clinton States

Massachusetts +36
New York +34
Vermont +34
Maryland +32
California +29

Top 5 Trump States

Oklahoma +26
Alabama +24
Wyoming +21
Arkansas +21
West Virginia +19

Gary Johnson breaks 10% in his home state on New Mexico and gets nearly 10% in Libertarian-friendly Colorado.


The House remains Republican albeit with a reduced majority.

The Senate flips to the Democrats with pickups in IL, WI, PA, NH, and MO. This puts it at 50/50, but the new VP Tim Kaine will be the tiebreaker.


This will be addressed in my post election entry, but suffice to say that nearly 50% of the nation will be disappointed/angry should either candidate win. Maybe out long national nightmare is only beginning...


The Prof

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