By John O. Sullivan
Photo Credit: The Telegraph
“America is talking, and I’m trying to hear what they’re saying” -Josh Lyman
This election has been a roller coaster thrill ride in every sense of the words, but in just under 24 hours, the polls will be closed all across our nation and it will just be a matter of waiting to hear what America is saying (and drinking heavily).
Until then, the airwaves, the print media, and the interwebs will all be clogged with shills making one last plea for their candidate and pundits prognosticating and pontificating, so why not pile on? Here is my electoral predictions, 24 hours from polls closing:
Prediction: Clinton 295, Trump 243
Yes I know this map is pretty basic, but there are definitely some parts where it may seem like I have lost my mind, but let me explain.
Utah: For those of you who don’t know, some guy named Evan McMullin is running for president. In Utah, he’s polling in the mid 20s. Everywhere else in the country, he’s not polling at all. Furthermore, in Utah, a state where just over 10% of registered voters are Democrats , Hillary Clinton is polling in the high 20’s and low 30’s. I honestly think there is a very good chance that McMullin will end up spoiling it for Trump and Clinton will win Utah with a plurality but not a majority.
Florida/Arizona: I can explain these with the same thing: Hispanic turnout. While in Florida, Hispanic turnout has frequently meant CUBAN turnout which, for historical reasons, has meant good things for the Republicans, this election is a little different, and I shouldn’t have to explain why. Early voting data suggests a massive surge in Hispanic turnout, especially of people who would be considered “low propensity voters,” and wouldn’t be sampled in a poll of likely voters. This means that there could be a large contingent of Hispanic voters going to the polls, overwhelmingly for Clinton, that haven’t been accounted for in the polls. Two battleground states with large Hispanic communities? Florida and Arizona.
Michigan: So far, there have been indications that Black turnout may be soft, which can only be bad for Clinton. Maybe its voter fatigue, maybe its frustration at having been told that Blacks love Clinton for the last year, maybe it’s a failure of the Clinton campaign to court the Black vote, but ultimately, it doesn’t look great for Clinton in that sphere. Traditionally, Democrats have won Michigan by running up the score like crazy in Detroit and its surroundings to counter Republican strength throughout the rest of the state, but with Black turnout down, that strategy may not be as effective. Add this to the fact that I think Trump may do surprisingly well in working-class and Unionized households, especially in the rust belt, and Michigan may be a ballgame.
Special Note: Maine and Nebraska both split their electoral votes, allocating some to the winner of the popular vote of the state and some to the winners of congressional districts. In 2008, President Obama managed to steal the electoral vote for Nebraska’s 2nd district, which comprises of Omaha and its suburbs. That Congressional seat is currently held by a Democrat, and I think the conditions are right for Clinton to take that loose elector again. Maine has a similar arrangement, but has never split electors before. Polling in Maine’s 2nd District is essentially deadlocked, and Trump has done a (relatively) good job fundraising in that part of the state. I predict Trump will make history by splitting Maine’s electoral vote, losing the state but getting a consolation elector from the 2nd District.
Conclusion: I could be completely wrong. Part of the fascinating bit of this election has been wondering how to model turnout. When someone like Trump is doing so well, we have to assume that a large part of it is UNlikely voters. With the recent news of Hispanic surge, this further complicates matters. Professor Todd Eberly of St. Mary’s College, a man who I love and respect dearly (check out his blog here, it’s much better than ours), thinks our country may be experiencing an overdue (historically speaking) electoral realignment. I think there might be something to that, and it’s part of what’s making this election so… strange. Anyway, there’s no way to know until tomorrow night (hopefully it won’t take any longer than that), but I predict that the election results will surprise a lot of people in a lot of ways, but with Hillary Clinton eventually being inaugurated as our nation’s next president.