05 November 2016

2016 election prediction

I misread the polls badly in 2012 and thought Romney would win a close election. It turned out it wasn't that close. For all of the reasons I discounted the polls in 2012, times 100, I really don't know what to think of the polls this time around. All of the convention wisdom has been busted this election cycle. Undoubtedly, the race has tightened considerably within the last two weeks. Is it enough to push Trump over the edge? Possible. Most of the prediction sites have given Trump something like a 35% chance, which is up from the teens just a few weeks ago. We're definitely in margin of error territory. A Brexit-like result is certainly not impossible here.

Still, though, despite all of the winds in Trump's favor, a few strands remain. First, Hillary Clinton has likely banked many millions of early votes. This is likely to preserve a small number of votes that might have left her within the last week. Second, the surge to Trump appears to have come not from undecided voters, but from Republican-leaning independents who are coming back to the base (from candidates like Gary Johnson). Third, the path to electoral victory is strategically easier for Hillary as compared to Trump. There are simply many more options. Trump has to basically run the table on all of the swing states.

I think Hillary Clinton will win this election. Here is my predicted electoral vote map:

The closest states on this map (in order of decreasing electoral votes) are: Florida (29), Nevada (6), New Hampshire (4). RCP's "no toss up" map has Nevada and New Hampshire currently leaning toward Trump, but I think they'll ultimately end up on the Clinton side.

Now, with that being said, here is Trump's best chance of winning. As you can see, it comes by the narrowest of margins, but isn't all that far-fetched--in fact, all I did was start with RCP's "no toss up" map on Saturday, November 5th (Clinton 297, Trump 241) and flip Florida's 29 electoral votes to Trump. Florida is so close that this single flip (which is entirely possible) would change the outcome of the election. These predictions show just how close the election might possibly be:

Again, I think Hillary Clinton is likely to win. But if Trump can pull it off, the map will likely look like this one above.
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