Clinton may win the popular vote

By Dr Adrian Beaumont. Election Watch polls analyst

Donald Trump has won the US Presidency, defeating Hillary Clinton in the Electoral College by winning states worth at least 279 Electoral Votes (EVs), more than the 270 required to win.

Clinton won states worth 218 EVs. Trump is likely to win Michigan and Arizona, taking his EV total to 306, with Clinton probably winning Minnesota and New Hampshire for a final Electoral College result of 306-232 to Trump.

Despite Trump’s win in the Electoral College, Clinton is very likely to win the popular vote.

She is currently tied with Trump on the popular vote, 47.5% each. However, the Pacific coast states, particularly California, have millions of votes outstanding that are tabulated over a four-week period. These votes are certain to heavily favour Clinton, and I expect her to win the final popular vote by about two points.

The Republican candidate has only won the popular vote once at Presidential elections since 1988 (in 2004), but they won the Electoral College and the Presidency in 2000, and now in 2016.

Given Clinton’s likely popular vote win, the national polls that gave her a three-six point lead were not bad. However, polling in the midwestern states that swung hard to Trump was poor. No public poll had Trump leading in Wisconsin, and only one by a Republican firm did in Pennsylvania.

Trump won because Democratic support among non-university educated whites collapsed, and this caused Clinton to lose in midwestern states that were won by Barack Obama in 2012, such as Iowa, Ohio, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania. Trump also gained Florida, with losses from strong Hispanic turnout in that state more than offset by overwhelming margins in rural counties.

The Democrats have increasingly appealed to minorities and urban voters, but they have lost blue collar white voters. Mitt Romney was not an anti-establishment candidate, so he did not attract these voters, but Trump has. With the UK Brexit referendum and now the US election, these non-university educated whites are turning on established politicians and parties.

Trump’s vicious anti-Clinton rhetoric appears to have depressed Democratic turnout, and this also contributed to his win. Election analyst Michael McDonald thinks the turnout rate will be 55.6%, down from 58.6% at the 2012 election.

The national exit polls showed Clinton performing worse among black and Hispanic voters than Obama, but this does not fit the election data. This chart from New York Times analyst Nate Cohn shows massive swings to Trump in rural America offsetting modest swings to Clinton in the cities.

Republicans have full control of Congress

In the Senate, the Republicans were defending 24 seats, while the Democrats were only defending 10. This was a huge opportunity for the Democrats to make gains, and possibly reverse the 54-46 Republican Senate majority.

However, the Republicans only lost one seat (Illinois), with New Hampshire still in doubt. Louisiana will go to a December runoff between the leading two candidates, in this case a Democrat and a Republican, but the Republican is virtually certain to win. The Republicans will thus keep control of the Senate by a 52-47 margin, with New Hampshire not called.

In the House, the Republicans lead by 236-191, with eight seats in doubt, compared with 247-188 in the old House.

So the US has elected a right winger as President, with a right wing Congress, and in consequence there will very probably be a right wing Supreme Court once Trump’s nominee passes the Senate. 

This has been a catastrophe for the US Democrats and the left generally.

Banner image: Clinton supporters in New York City. Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images


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