…quoting from my final forecast of the outcome of Election 2016:
Most aggregations of polls give Clinton a narrow lead, which (according to the polls) has increased in the past few days. Some reliable, independent polls tell a different story….
Trump’s momentum may have slowed, but it won’t take much to push him over the top.
If Trump ekes out 51 percent of the two-party vote, he’ll win upwards of 300 electoral votes. (That estimate is based on my model of the relationship between the popular-vote and electoral-vote outcomes in elections since World War II.) How would he get there? Here’s a scenario that fits the demographics of the various States:
- Obama beat Romney 332-206 in the electoral-vote tally four years ago.
- Clinton could take two States won by Romney in 2012: Georgia (16 EVs) and Utah (6).
- Trump could more than offset those 22 EVs by taking several States won by Obama in 2012: Florida (29), Iowa (6), Maine (4), Michigan (16), Nevada (6), New Mexico (5), Ohio (16), Pennsylvania (20), and Wisconsin (10).
That would leave Clinton with 240 EVs to Trump’s 298. There are many plausible variations on the scenario that would leave Trump with a majority of EVs, or result in a tie.
It looks as if I was too cautious. At this moment (5:18 a.m. CST, 11/09/16), Trump and Clinton are practically 50-50 in the two-party vote, and Clinton probably will end up ahead. But, as I (and many others) have noted, a GOP candidate can win the electoral vote with less than 50 percent of the two-party vote because the electoral vote count is weighted toward smaller States, which tend to vote Republican.
In any event, Trump held Georgia and Utah, and so far has taken Florida, Iowa, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. He’s leading in Michigan, and may even take New Hampshire.
Clinton has conceded to Trump, which probably settles matters, though Gore conceded to Bush in 2000 and then withdrew his concession. But that was all about Florida. Trump seems to have unquestionably won. (Fingers tightly crossed.)
The even better news is that the GOP has held the Senate, and will end up with a majority of 52 or 53 to 47 or 48 (counting so-called independents as Democrats). Scalia’s seat on the Supreme Court won’t be filled by another Scalia, but it also won’t be filled by a Clinton appointee.
My fondest hope is that Trump will stick to his word about the kind of Supreme Court justice he would appoint. If he does that, it will be good news if and when Ginsburg, Breyer, Sotomayor, Kagan, Kennedy, and even Roberts dies or retires. In fact, I’d like to see Kennedy go first, followed quickly by Ginsburg and Breyer.