We’ve come to the end of an unprecedented level of nasty and negative, which has defined the 2016 presidential election between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.
The lewd comments on the bus, the 3 a.m. tweets, the endless insults, the emails, and more emails. Finally it is all over.
It’s now in the hands of the voters, and of the pundits who make predictions, including yours truly.
I’ve cobbled together what I think are the swingiest of the swing states, and giving you a highly unscientific—yet mathematical—projection of the margins of victory. As you might expect, they will be close.
Honourable mention goes to Utah, the deepest of deep-red states last time around that, until recently, might have elected the first third-party candidate since 1968 in Evan McMullin. But Trump looks like he will hang on in an improbable three-way race.
Starting with the biggest electoral-vote prizes to the smallest, here we go…
FLORIDA (29 electoral votes): The Sunshine State may surprise many observers this year and declare a winner before the wee hours. Even before Trump’s incendiary remarks towards Mexicans and Hispanics, Democrats had a push in place to register new Hispanic voters, including Puerto Ricans. Though Trump still pulls a sizeable share of Cuban-Americans, it won’t be enough. Over 67 per cent of Floridians have voted already, and judging from the numbers crunched by Barack Obama’s Florida campaign manager it appears that the state will again go blue. Clinton’s margin should be somewhere between Obama’s 2008 and 2012 margins.
Prediction: Clinton, by 2 per cent.
PENNSYLVANIA (20 electoral votes): Trump has made significant gains in the northeastern and western rural areas of the state, fertile ground given all the shuttered factories and outsourced jobs. But, as always, it will come down to the so-called “collar” counties surrounding Philadelphia—areas where Mitt Romney did well in 2012, but where Clinton is performing better among women and college-educated white voters. An interesting October surprise—in November—nearly threw a wrench into another key Clinton area, but a Monday resolution to a Philadelphia public-transit strike means more voters can get to the polls Tuesday. This is critical, given that the state does not allow early voting without a reason.
Prediction: Clinton, by 4 per cent
OHIO (18 electoral votes): Signs could be pointing to the Buckeye State bucking a trend of picking the president in every election since 1964. At the beginning of early voting, the number of Democratic registrations were down, as were overall early voting numbers. This left little room for error compared to 2012, when Obama carried the state by just over 103,000 votes out of more than five million cast. But despite limits on early voting and reduced hours enacted by the Republican-controlled secretary of state, turnout has been on an uptick of late, as early voting ends, surpassing 2012 numbers except in Cuyahoga County, the largest county. Trump’s populist appeal might not convert quite enough rural, rust-belt voters his way despite a lack of enthusiasm for Clinton. Either way, the margin here will be razor-thin.
Prediction: Clinton, by 0.8 per cent
NORTH CAROLINA (15 electoral votes): Voter suppression is no more apparent than in the Tar Heel State, where Republican efforts to limit early voting have had a measured effect on African-American turnout. Despite this, the Clinton campaign has focused major get-out-the-vote efforts here and they may pay off. If Trump loses Florida, his path to the White House is definitely washed out if he does not win here. Well over 60 per cent of the state has voted already, so it remains to be seen if the Clinton turnout machine can overcome what is traditionally an advantage for the GOP on election day.
Prediction: Clinton, by 1 per cent
ARIZONA (11 electoral votes): Long targeted by the Democrats for its fast-changing demographics due to an increasing Hispanic population, Trump’s controversial remarks are especially polarizing here. Hispanics have registered and voted in record numbers this time around, and a third of the state overall has voted already. Still, 2016 will probably be the last stand for the GOP in the Grand Canyon State—but not by much.
Prediction: Trump, by 2 per cent
NEVADA (6 electoral votes): If you’re looking for a safe bet, this might be the place given its nice level of detail on early-voting numbers. With two-thirds of the state already having voted, Democrats appear to be up by more than 40,000 votes. Nevada politics expert Jon Ralston has all but declared Trump as losing here, as Clinton would need even less election-day turnout than Obama did.
Prediction: Clinton, by 5.5 per cent
IOWA (6 electoral votes): Overwhelmingly white and non-college-educated, Iowans solidly voted for Obama both times. But it’s a demographic Trump has been winning, stubbornly holding onto a small lead in the state, despite how his lewd comments on the Access Hollywood hurt him badly in other key states. Yesterday, the Clinton campaign decided that Obama would be of better use campaigning in Michigan to help protect the blue firewall, a sign they might be giving up on Iowa.
Prediction: Trump, by 2 per cent
NEW HAMPSHIRE (4 electoral votes): The Granite State is always intriguing, given its lack of early voting and high number of independents. Trump has come close in some polling, but Clinton has led in most surveys this year. Look for her to win comfortably, though perhaps not as close as Obama in 2012.
Prediction: Clinton, by 3 per cent
MAINE (2nd District) (1 electoral vote): Maine is one of only two states (along with Nebraska) to award two electoral votes for the statewide winner, and one to the winner of each congressional district. Trump has led in most recent surveys, and probably will win the rural northern district by a hair.
Prediction: Trump, by 2.5 per cent
TOTAL ELECTORAL COLLEGE VOTES: Clinton 340, Trump 198.