It’s election day, and it’s time to preview the election that some of have been dreading, but many others are anticipating with a lot of excitement. Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are unpopular, and highly polarizing, but one of them will be President, and the result will likely be decided before midnight tonight, with the world watching. Here is your 2016 US Presidential Election Preview of the Clinton vs. Trump race. To help you follow along with ease, we’ll group the states by their rating. My prediction is in the map below.
Safe Dem: VT, MA, RI, CT, NY, NJ, DE, MD, DC, IL, MN, WA, OR, CA, HI (192 Electoral votes)
Trump failed to put Illinois or Minnesota, two midwestern states with large white working class voting populations into play, otherwise all of these states are clearly solid blue, including Trump’s home state of New York, where both candidates will be hosting victory parties tonight.
Likely Dem: ME, VA, NM (21 electoral votes ME is split)
Trump hasn’t had the ground game needed to flip the usually Democratic Maine. Virginia continues to slip away from Republicans in Presidential years as highly educated voters may consider a Republican at times, but not someone like Trump. Well-liked Senator Tim Kaine is also Clinton’s running mate. In New Mexico, strong Hispanic and Native American turnout should propel Clinton in what will be Libertarian Gary Johnson’s strongest state. That makes sense since he served as Governor.
Lean Dem: NH, PA, MI, WI, CO, NV (65 electoral votes)
Democrats have dominated early voting in Nevada and have have the margins in Clark and Washoe county to win the state with relative ease. Trump hasn’t been able to crack open New Hampshire, as Dems look to be holding on there, the same goes for Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Colorado. Trump needs one or more of these states to win, but he’s going to get killed in the Philadelphia and Michigan suburbs, will probably under perform in the Milwaukee/Madison corridor where the GOP is strong in Wisconsin, and just hasn’t connected in Colorado, where most voters vote by mail, and the election is practically over.
Michigan is probably Trump’s best chance of breaking through in these states, but Clinton will push the black turnout machine hard in Detroit, even if she sheds votes among retired working class whites and some union voters. Trump decided to give attention to Michigan too late in the race.
Safe GOP: WV, KY, IN, AL, TN, AL, MS, AR, LA, TX, OK, KS, NE, SD, ND, MT, WY, ID (135 electoral votes NE is split)
The deep south and mountain west will hand Donald Trump large victories and a majority of his electoral votes. With Mike Pence as his running mate, Indiana isn’t in play, while the Clinton campaign never pushed Texas hard enough to move it out of the safe GOP column, even though strong Hispanic turnout will cut into the Republican margin. Trump may shed votes to Gary Johnson and Evan McMullin in some of these states from dissatisfied Republicans, and his margin will be worse than Mitt Romney’s but a win is a win.
Likely GOP: SC, MO, UT, AK (28 electoral votes)
South Carolina, and Missouri look to be too white, and too male, for Trump to lose them. The turnout machine around St. Louis doesn’t appear as strong as it was in 2008, when Obama put Missouri in play, and in general black turnout should be down nationwide. South Carolina is surprisingly competitive, but a lot of that depends on how Gary Johnson does, as he is taking votes from Trump in the Palmetto state.
In Utah, Evan McMullin has clearly hit a ceiling, and GOP voters are starting to come home, McMullin may win a county or two in the state’s Mormon dominated area, but there are more than enough GOP loyalists in Utah to give Trump a win, and put McMullin in second ahead of Clinton.
Alaska was in play a couple of weeks ago, and polling showed Clinton had a shot at it, but with Johnson fading, and GOP voters clearly trending towards unity behind Trump, Alaska looks like a bridge too far and a reach for Clinton. If she has an extra good night I could see it flipping her way though.
Lean GOP: ME-02, OH, GA, IA, AZ (52 electoral votes)
Dems recovered from an early voting debacle in Ohio, but the state’s white blue collar men, who vote for Democrats like Sherrod Brown, seem to be trending towards Trump this year. The Clinton campaign hasn’t made Ohio their focal point, while it’s a must win state for Trump. It will be close, but I’m going to spot Ohio to Trump. The story is similar in Iowa, Dem turnout is down, and with it being such a white state, Trump should improve enough to add it to the GOP column.
Arizona and Georgia have growing minority populations that are putting their states into play, but a decline in Johnson’s vote share and turnout for McCain should save Trump in Arizona, while a relatively poor Dem ground game and a lack of investment in Georgia should prevent Clinton from picking up the deep south state.
Maine’s second congressional district is probably leaning GOP, which would be an extra EV for Trump. The district is full of less educated white working class voters that are drawn to Trump.
Toss-Up: NC, FL, NE-02 (45 electoral votes)
The two closest states on election night should be North Carolina and Florida. Black turnout is down in both states, which hurts Clinton, but moderate Republicans and swing voters in these states probably trust Clinton more. Romney won NC and lost in FL in 2012. This year, I have both states going to Clinton as I feel she’s going to win nationally, and Florida and North Carolina would go with that trend, even though the margin will be razor thin.
I’ve also spotted Clinton Nebraska’s second congressional district in the Omaha area, as she should do well in suburban swing districts such as this.
Conclusion: Clinton 323 electoral votes Trump 215 electoral votes
Popular Vote Prediction: Clinton (D) 50% Trump (R) 45% Johnson (L) 3% Stein (G) 1% Other 1%
Clinton should win the White House before midnight tonight, and barely clear the majority threshold in the popular vote. I have Gary Johnson and Jill Stein collapsing to 3% and 1% respectively.