Perhaps one wild card for any prediction this time around is the pervasive nature of social media, however. (Writing in Aeon, research psychologist Robert Epstein maintains that "Looking ahead to the November 2016 US presidential election, I see clear signs that Google is backing Hillary Clinton.")
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By most accounts, Donald Trump turned in yet another lackluster GOP debate performance on Thursday night in Houston in a CNN national telecast, but he will probably still be favored to win most of the contests on the upcoming Super Tuesday with momentum from his victories in New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Nevada.
Although the electorate can be volatile, debate skills or lack thereof have not -- so far anyway -- proven to be a deal-breaker between the New York real estate mogul and the voters. Time will tell if that changes.
Norpoth, who earned his Ph.D at the University of Michigan in 1974, gives Trump a 97 percent chance of winning the election if he secures the GOP nomination and his opponent on the Democrat side is Hillary Clinton. The odds rise to 99 percent if he faces off with Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, an independent socialist running for president as a Democrat.
Referring to the Trump and Sanders candidacy, Norpoth noted that "When I started out with this kind of display a few months ago, I thought it was sort of a joke. Well, I'll tell you right now, it ain't a joke anymore," especially when he included results from the recent primaries.
"Trump beats Hillary 54.7 percent to 45.3 percent [of the popular vote]. This is almost too much to believe. The probability of that [outcome] is almost complete certainty, 97 percent," Dr. Norpoth asserted. Anyone who wins at least 54 percent of the popular vote is a lock for a huge electoral college tally, he added.