Hillary Clinton will win the 2016 election by a “landslide,” according to Nate Silver, the FiveThirtyEight pollster who has correctly predicted the last two elections.
Using complex mathematical models, Silver crunched the numbers and examined just about every possible scenario, and the forecasts all point to the same conclusion: Hillary Clinton is going to win. In fact, Silver is giving the odds of Clinton winning at 91 percent, and Trump winning at 9 percent.
Looking at the popular vote, Silver sees Democrat Hillary Clinton getting 49.1 percent of the vote, Republican Donald Trump Getting 42.1 percent, and Libertarian Gary Johnson getting 7.5 percent. Silver’s forecasts do not include Green Party candidate Jill Stein’s impact on the election.
Of course, as your junior high school Civics teacher will tell you, the popular vote is irrelevant when it comes to electing presidents: it’s the electoral vote that matters. And in the electoral vote, Hillary Clinton has this election in the bag. Silver’s models predict Hillary Clinton winning the election with 347.5 electoral votes (far more than the 270 needed to guarantee the election); Donald Trump coming in second with 190.3 percent; and Gary Johnson coming in third with 0.2 percent of the electoral vote.
You may be thinking, “how is it possible to win a fraction of an electoral vote?” And the answer is, it isn’t. The fractions of an electoral vote you read about in the previous paragraph are the result of mathematical models, and not on actual votes.
For what it’s worth, the Gary Johnson campaign isn’t conceding any electoral votes just yet. In fact, he and his running mate, former Massachusetts Republican governor Bill Weld, have been focusing their efforts in a handful of Western states – specifically New Mexico, which is Johnson’s home state, and Utah, where his campaign is headquartered – where he has something resembling a realistic shot at winning.
Should Gary Johnson win enough electoral votes to prevent either Trump or Clinton from getting 270, that’s when things will start to look particularly rosy for the dark horse candidate. If no candidate wins 270 electoral votes, the House of Representatives will be tasked with electing the President of the United Sates. On paper, it would appear the the Republican-dominated House would elect Donald Trump, no muss, no fuss. But, Republicans left and right have been jumping ship from the Trump campaign, and the House might – just might – elect Johnson as a compromise candidate.
It’s an unlikely scenario, but it’s the scenario the Johnson campaign is banking on. And let’s not discount the fact that four years ago, the odds of a third party having any measurable effect on the outcome of an election were laughable at best. In 2012, Johnson brought home right around one percent of the popular vote; that he conceivably has a shot at 7.5 percent of the electoral vote would have been unthinkable four years ago.
Nevertheless, Nate Silver’s models don’t predict Gary Johnson having an appreciable effect on this election beyond a few million votes from people who can’t stand to vote for Trump or Clinton. In fact, Silver puts the odds of the election being sent to the House of Representatives at.4 percent, and of Johnson winning even one electoral vote at just 1.5 percent.
There’s also that matter that, as Silver believes, not all voters who have said they’re voting for Gary Johnson (or any third-party candidate, ever), will actually wind up voting for him. Silver’s models consider the fact that third-party voters, as far as the polls indicate, may often wind up voting for one of the two established-party candidates. Essentially, they are undecided voters using the third-party candidate as a “placeholder” until they decide how to cast their vote.
Do you support Nate Silver’s conclusion that Hillary Clinton will win the 2016 election in a landslide?
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