I don’t remember a presidential election that is harder to predict than this one. How broad is Donald Trump’s support? How unenthusiastic are traditional Democratic constituencies? Feels like it could be anywhere from a Hillary Clinton rout to a nailbiter for Trump.
That doesn’t mean we can’t make predictions. Here’s mine (the winner needs 270 electoral votes out of the 538 total):
Clinton definitely wins: Hawaii, California, Oregon, Washington, Illinois, Maine (minus one electoral vote), Vermont, New York, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New Jersey, Maryland, D.C. and Delaware. That’s 185 electoral votes.
In closer races, Clinton also wins: New Mexico, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania. That’s 61 electoral votes, putting her at 246.
Trump wins: Alaska, Idaho, Wyoming, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas, Missouri, Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee, South Carolina, Kentucky, Indiana, West Virginia and one electoral vote in Maine. That’s 159.
That leaves 11 states: Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, Virginia, New Hampshire, Ohio, Iowa, Colorado, Nevada, Arizona and Utah.
Of those 11, Trump takes Georgia, Ohio, Iowa, Arizona and Utah. That’s 57 electoral votes.
Clinton takes Florida, Virginia and Colorado. That’s 51 electoral votes.
So it’s 297-216 in favor of Clinton, with North Carolina, New Hampshire and Nevada too close to call. I’ll give North Carolina to Trump and Nevada and New Hampshire to Clinton.
Finally tally, 307-231, Clinton wins.
What could make this wrong and lead to a Trump win? Lots of things. Here’s one: Trump wins Florida, Nevada and New Hampshire (all possible), and the rest of my predictions are right. The totals in that case?
Trump 270, Clinton 268.