Firebrand Left’s Midseason Presidential Election Prediction

With the Republican National Convention behind us, and the Democratic National Convention fast approaching, Firebrand Left decided to crunch some numbers and develop an early 2016 general election prediction based purely on data. The results are finally in… and it should definitely worry every progressive who sees it.

It’s still early; a whole lot can change between July and November, and we are not going to claim that this presidential election prediction is fully accurate. But based on the numbers we’ve crunched, the outlook is pretty grim for Hillary Clinton, with Donald Trump edging out a narrow victory this Fall. We’ll make another prediction closer to the actual election and see how much the map has changed since then, but if the election were held today, we’re pretty sure Donald Trump would actually win.

Primary Voter Turnout Results

Before we show our actual prediction map, we’re first going to look at some hard data, beginning with a voter turnout map where we look at the raw total votes Clinton received, versus the raw total votes Trump received, in each State.

All of our numbers were provided by FairVote, and each result was double-checked against totals from other sources. We developed this and all of our other maps using 270 To Win’s tools. Also, please note that conclusive data for one or both parties was not available in North Dakota, Iowa, or Colorado.

Total votes for Clinton and Trump in the 2016 primaries, broken down into state-by-state match-ups

That map by itself looks pretty strong for Hillary Clinton. She directly out-performed Trump in many States, though Trump did secure more solid-red electoral votes (40) than Clinton’s solid-blue ones (17).

But what about total voter turnout? What if we mashed up all of the Republican votes and gave them all to Trump, and did the same with all of the Democratic votes for Clinton? Surely there are many Republicans who will not vote for Trump, just as there are many Democrats who will not vote for Clinton. But if we look at the raw voter turnout data by itself, Republicans gain a conclusive edge.

Total voter turnout in the 2016 primaries, with both parties compared per state

The most troubling data show here is that, based purely on their primary turnout alone,¬†Republicans pick up surprising wins in Maine, New Hampshire, Virginia, North Carolina, Michigan, and Wisconsin, with Washington — typically a very blue State — turning solid red. Democrats do well in some southern States (Louisiana, Kentucky, and West Virginia) where you wouldn’t expect them to outperform republicans, but losing Washington and Maine by such strong numbers is pretty scary.


The Midseason Presidential Election Prediction

And now for the actual prediction itself. To draw this conclusion, we looked at aggregate polling data in each and every State for both candidates (the data we could find, anyway). We looked at party performance in each individual State in past elections, going back to 1992, to determine voting trends. We tried to calculate in what we call “the misery effect,” too, of mixed voter turnouts in various states based on the record unpopularity of Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. All of that was finally weighed against the primary voter turnout results in the two maps shown above. Here’s our final result.

FBL General Election Prediction, July 22nd 2016

Based on all of those aforementioned factors, we see Donald Trump winning this November, 284 electoral votes to Clinton’s 254. That’s a solid 30-point victory for Republicans; it may not be as strong or as solid as Obama’s victories in 2008 or 2012, but it would be enough to make him our… fighting urge to vomit… next President.

Battleground States Nobody Is Talking About

A few of the States listed here were too close for us to really call, and many are the “usual suspects” that you’d guess: Florida, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Ohio, Nevada, and Colorado were leaned toward one candidate or another based on our best guess-work, but those states could really go either way.

But we feel there are other battleground states that most in the mainstream media aren’t acknowledging: Maine, Michigan, and Washington State were all too close for us to call. Primary voter turnouts for Republicans were strong in those States, and with Clinton’s lack of popularity, her campaign might face tougher challenges there than most seem to be anticipating.

The “reddest” state of that bunch is Washington, by far. In fact, based on our analysis, it was almost a second-tier red state and pulled out of contention as a battleground state. Michael Moore agrees with us that Michigan is a lot more red than most media outlets seem to be willing to admit, too.

There is some good news here for Democrats, though. Arizona, Louisiana, Indiana, and Iowa were very close calls as well. In fact, we believe there’s a real chance for Louisiana to flip and vote blue this November, for the first time in twenty years (Louisiana voted for Bill Clinton in 1992 and 1996). Those States being in play are almost as shocking as those blue States also being up for grabs.

How Accurate Is Our Prediction?

It should be noted that Nate Silver’s 538 believes that Clinton will win, and by a stronger percentage than we’re estimating Trump to claim victory this Fall. So just how accurate is our prediction? Only time will really tell. We’ll use these figures in our final prediction this Fall, but we want to reiterate that it is still too early to accurate predict the election. November is still several months away, and there’s no telling what tomorrow’s news headlines might be.

But as early indications go, we believe there is a lot of work ahead for Clinton’s campaign. The most dangerous thing anyone can do right now is become complacent and assume she has it “in the bag.” It definitely isn’t, and we believe our prediction is pretty accurate overall.

We here at FBL have published some very unflattering things about Hillary Clinton this past year. Most on our team are hoping for a contested Democratic National Convention where Bernie Sanders pulls off a surprising victory, because we believe he has a significantly stronger chance at victory against Trump. But if Clinton is indeed the party’s nominee, stopping Donald Trump is going to be an uphill battle, and if Clinton doesn’t draw big voter turnout and do something to address her abysmal approval ratings… well… smoke ’em if you’ve got ’em, folks. The next four years are going to get ugly.

Photo by Steve A Johnson

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