This is my final electoral college prediction.
It appeared that Hillary Clinton was on the verge of a large electoral college and a double-digit popular vote victory unseen in this era of hyper partisan politics. It looked like the Democrats were going to easily reclaim the Senate as well as narrow the Republicans advantage in the House to the point where it was possible to flip that chamber.
That was until FBI Director James Comey dropped a very vague letter in late October about Hillary Clinton’s e-mails. It turns out that more e-mails related to Hillary Clinton’s tenure as Secretary of State were discovered on a computer that once belonged to Huma Abadeen, a senior aide to Clinton, and her now ex-husband Anthony Weiner in relation to the investigation over Weiner sending inappropriate pictures to a 15-year old girl.
On Sunday, Comey sent another letter declaring that the e-mails were in fact duplicates and that the conclusion that Comey reached in July remains: that no sensible prosecutor would bring charges against Clinton.
In regards to the e-mails, the press has made this a bigger deal that it really is creating an aura of false equivalence as explained best by Seth Meyers.
They just don’t love the two choices. I mean (picture of Clinton) do you pick someone who is under federal investigation for using a private e-mail server or (picture of Trump) do you pick someone who called Mexicans rapists, claimed the president was born in Kenya, proposed banning an entire religion from entering the US, mocked a disabled reporter, said John McCain wasn’t a war hero because he was captured, attacked the parents of a fallen soldier, bragged about committing sexual assault, was accused by 12 women of committing sexual assault, said some of those women weren’t attractive enough for him to sexually assault, said more countries should get nukes, said he would force the military to commit war crimes, said a judge was bias because his parents were Mexicans, said women should be punished for having an abortion, incited violence at his rallies, called global warming a hoax perpetrated by the Chinese, called for his opponent to be jailed, declared bankruptcy SIX times, bragged about not paying income taxes, stiffed his contractors and employees, lost a BILLION DOLLARS in one year, scammed customers from his fake university, bought a six-foot tall painting of himself with money from his fake foundation, has a trial for fraud coming up in November, insulted his opponent’s looks, insulted his opponent’s WIFE’S looks, and bragged about grabbing women by the pussy!
How do you choose…?
There also seemed to be some connection between the FBI and the Trump campaign. In an interview with Fox News, Trump surrogate Rudy Giuliani slyly hinted that there was going to be some big news breaking about Clinton.
How could he have known that something was going to happen?
And also, Utah Congressman Jason Chaffetz had suddenly changed from not voting for Trump to voting for Trump. He denounced Trump after the reveal of the Access Hollywood tape in October and said that because of his kids he could not vote for Trump.
There is also reports of a strong anti-Clinton faction within one of the FBI field offices in New York that was motivated to investigate the Clintons over their foundation due to the revelations in the book “Clinton Cash,” a right-wing publication that has been debunked several times over.
For Comey to have inserted himself at this point in the campaign was highly inappropriate. If he was to have issued the letter explaining that there were more e-mails he could have waited until the investigation was complete to announce his department’s findings. Certainly, Comey is under pressure from his fellow Republicans to find anything on Hillary Clinton and to try to beat back the cries from Trump that the electoral system is rigged against him (when in reality it is not).
There was also the natural tightening of the polls that has been taking place, but in the final polls released Clinton still has a lead in the national popular vote which translates to an electoral college victory for her.
NBC-Survey Monkey has also shown a reliably stable race. Not once in their tracking poll has Clinton trailed Trump. The poll shows Clinton with a 47-41 advantage. The last NBC-Wall Street Journal Poll shows Clinton leading by 4 in both the 4-way match-up and head-to-head.
But you have to look at the state-by-state polls as well because it is about who can get to 270 electoral votes. Again, there is some tightening, but no surprises. As expected Florida, North Carolina, and Ohio are going to be close.
Despite all of these factors, Clinton still retains her advantage in the electoral college while Trump needs some help.
Her path to victory is to hold the states that Kerry won in 2004 giving her a total of 242 electoral votes.
I am unsure about Maine’s 2nd Congressional District as well as the possibility of two Washington state electors becoming “faithless electors.” The last time that happened was in 2004 was due to a clerical error in Minnesota, a state that the Kerry-Edwards ticket carried. That instance had no impact on the final electoral result. Due to the risk of a close electoral college result, this could possibly impact the election and send it to the House for the first time since 1824.
So… Let’s say she has 239 electoral votes based on those conditions.
She will carry Virginia on the basis of Kaine being her vice-presidential choice as well as there are sizable portions of black voters and whites with college degrees in the state. Trump is not doing so well with those demographics. Clinton is on pace to win whites with a college degree for the first time in almost forever while I will be shocked if Trump receives 5% of the black vote.
New Mexico is going for Clinton despite it is the state where Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson was governor. This state has a high Latino population and Trump’s comments have certainly mobilized those voters. The same thing is taking place in Nevada. According to Jon Ralston, Trump would need a surge to break through the Democrats early vote statewide lead to win the state. Along with the presidential, it is looking like Democrats will keep the senate seat, claim two House seats, and flip the Nevada legislature based on those numbers.
Republicans have taken a late lead in the early vote in Colorado, but again field is important as well as demographics. Trump is not winning Colorado due to a high Latino voting bloc as well as highly educated voters that reside in the Denver-Boulder metropolitan area. Again, two groups that are not favorable to his electoral prospects.
This brings Clinton’s total to 272
I see that as being her path of least resistance to the presidency.
Meanwhile Trump has 179 electoral votes based on the last four elections. He has Indiana on the basis of his running mate is from that state and it is looking like he will carry Iowa based on that even though Democrats have some advantage in the early vote, they are behind the pace from 2012 as well as demographics that favor Trump in the state.
I originally want to put Ohio in Trump’s column but Clinton has a superior field operation than Trump as well as Talking Points Memo poll tracker has Trump ahead by 1.2 points. Field can make all the difference. I’m going to put Ohio in Trump’s column knowing that it is possible that like in 2012 I was wrong about Florida.
Same with Nebraska’s 2nd Congressional District.
The remaining states are Arizona, Florida, Georgia, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Utah, and (possibly) Texas.
Trump is dealing with a third-party challenger, Evan McMullin, in this reliably red state. Republicans typically win this state by a similar margin that Democrats win DC. Trump could win this state, but because of Utah’s Mormon population there is the likelihood that McMullin could be the first third-party candidate to receive electoral votes since George Wallace in 1968 or the split between Trump and McMullin could be enough that Clinton could win the state.
And… Yes…. Texas…
The early vote in Texas is exceeding the pace from four years earlier. I wouldn’t be surprised if on Tuesday you hear “Texas: Too Close to Call.” Again, like New Mexico and Colorado, Texas has a high concentration of Latino voters as well as college educated whites. Among the second group some might be coming home to the Republican Party but this could be the future of Texas politics. I’ve talked with a Texas political observer and he says Clinton might lose Texas by 5. Remember Romney won the state by over 15 points four years ago.
New Hampshire was looking shaky for Clinton but two final polls – WMUR/Granite State and SurveyMonkey – show Clinton with double digit leads.
The final NBC battleground map has Georgia as a battleground. An NBC poll conducted around Halloween showed Trump ahead by a point. The numbers in Florida and North Carolina are looking favorable to Clinton based on the early vote totals and analysis of the votes.
If Trump was to hold onto Arizona, Utah, Texas, and Georgia as well as put North Carolina, Florida, and New Hampshire into his column, he would still be 6 votes short of 270.
So… which state can Trump flip from blue to red?
Though there are some demographics that are favorable to him in Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota, they are not going for him based on polling and history. Michigan hasn’t gone Republican since 1988, Wisconsin since 1984, and Minnesota since 1972. That explains his cross-country excursion into those states as well as Colorado, Florida, and Virginia in the campaign’s final hours.
Pennsylvania seems like the ideal Trump state, but Philadelphia and its associated suburbs give the Democrats a distinct demographic advantage.
And again, as I have pointed out, Clinton has a superior turnout operation. Trump seems to be relying on rallies and tweets. That’s great but that does not equal votes.
Most importantly this surrogate
Obama currently has an approval rating north of 50% as well as unemployment is at 4.9%. The media is trying to spin this as a change election but it is not. Based on the polling and the voters that are turning out, it is not.
The only other way that Trump wins is if there is a massive polling error that fails to capture the so-called working white non-college voters that Trump is courting, the so-called shy-Trump voter that his campaign is promoting which is a myth.
If anything, the polling is undersampling the Latino voting bloc and forgetting that the electorate in 2016 will be the most diverse in American history.
So… my final electoral college projection is…
ELECTION 2016, POTUS