Donald Trump’s recent surge has awakened hope amongst his supporters, as Democrats look nervously towards tomorrow’s election day. There are many reasons to think that Trump has a good shot at winning. He has been moving up in the polls, independents and late deciders are breaking his way, and state polls have shown cracks in Clinton’s fire wall. This appears a classic case of a late surge potentially upending the lead of the favorite, much like Reagan in 1980.
A Trump win is definitely possible. But as I make my prediction – as I’ve done every election eve since 2008 — a few things push towards seeing this as not only a Clinton victory, but potentially a big Clinton win:
- Hispanics are voting in record numbers in swing states like Florida, Nevada and Arizonia (and may even surprise people in Texas). A large chunk of these voters are first time voters who may be under-represented in the polls that screen for likely voters. This leads me to predict that Florida, Nevada and even Arizona will go for Clinton. These are three states that Trump must win.
- The Clinton get out the vote effort is first class – and Trump has dropped the ball on his. He’s relying on the Republican National Committee for their GOTV efforts, but that falls far short of what Hillary’s campaign can accomplish.
- Early voting seems to be favoring Clinton in important swing states; and
- Almost every major poll has Clinton leading by 2-5 points on the day before the election, a pretty solid lead.
For Trump to win, the scenario is straight forward. He has to win rust belt states like Michigan, Pennsylvania and Ohio, all places where US trade policy is unpopular and thus the Trump message resonates. Then he has to win swing states like New Hampshire, Florida and North Carolina. If he can do that — all of which is possible — he could eek out a victory, perhaps relying on Maine’s second district. Maine divides up its electoral votes by district, so that the winner of the state gets at least three votes, but the other candidate can get a vote if he or she wins the district. That could conceivably be the vote that gets Trump to 270.
But I don’t think that will happen. Instead I think that Hillary Clinton will defeat Donald Trump in both the popular vote and the electoral college.
In the popular vote, my final prediction is: Clinton 48.7%, Trump 45.1%, Johnson 4.5%.
For the electoral vote, I’ll predict Clinton 333 Trump 205
The most far out part of that prediction is I have Clinton winning Arizona. If the Hispanic vote is as strong as some say, it could tip the scales in Arizona. Otherwise, I have Clinton winning all the important swing states except Ohio. Tomorrow we’ll find out.