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Saturday, November 5, 2016

2016 Election Prediction Update


A couple of months ago I posted my quadrennial presidential election prediction ("2016 Presidential Election Prediction"). There, I argued that
barring a major scandal (e.g., unforeseen email problems) or world event (e.g., another 9/11) Hillary Clinton should become the next President of the United States (as long as the electoral college follows the popular vote). She should win the popular vote by 3-5%, but if Trump reverts to shooting himself in the foot, she could win by more. That said, if Trump continues to reign his impulsiveness in, he may make it a lot closer. He could even win by a whisker.
Hillary has had additional email problems, but she may have weathered that storm. After a week of tightening, the polls appear to have stabilized ("Election Update: National Polls Show Clinton’s Lead Stabilizing — State Polls, Not So Much"), and it looks like she's managing to hold on to a 3% lead. Moreover, the prediction markets have also appeared to have stabilized. In fact, they have ticked up a few points over the last few days ("2016 President - Winner"). Thus, I'll stick with my original prediction that Hillary will win the popular vote by a margin of 3-5%. In fact, it wouldn't surprise me if she wins by more than 3%. During the primaries Trump repeatedly underperformed his polling numbers; most of the time he won as predicted but not by as much as the polls indicated that he would. Whether the same pattern holds true in the general election is to be seen, but it wouldn't surprise me if it did.

I am, however, less confident about the electoral college. Hillary's lead in several of the battleground states is marginal at best, so it is possible that she could win the popular vote but lose the electoral college. FiveThirtyEight currently puts the possibility of that happening at approximately 12%. That isn't a high probability, but it isn't insignificant one either. We will see what we will see.

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