Nicholas Harrington

Trump’s new curriculum for the Electoral College

Approx Reading Time-12Trump has taken the US election standards back to school, a fact obvious in the comparable Electoral College figures from Obama 2012 – Nicholas Harrington

 

 

It was encouraging to see the New York Times agree with The Big Smoke that something critical is developing in opposition to the Democratic Party as a result of the Donald Trump candidacy and the evolving character of the US political landscape.

Trump has initiated a seismic shift in primary voter turnout by bringing new voters, Independents, and Reagan Democrats into the Republican fold. These additions, when combined with traditional dyed-in-the-wool Republican voters, give the 2016 presidential election an entirely new complexion.

In our most recent discussion on the topic of voter turnout, the issue of the Electoral College was flagged. I’ll now bring to bear our findings on the Electoral College map. While prediction is notoriously fraught in the practice of political “science,” it is an interesting exercise nonetheless.

2016_updated

This first map shows the predicted outcome of Electoral College states based on voter turnout in the nominating primaries that have run so far.

States in red are those where the margin of Republican voters was more than five percent overall. For example, Virginia (VA) is marked red and placed in the Republican column as only 785,000 Democrats came out to vote, compared to 1,025,000 Republicans. On the other hand, Vermont (VT) is blue with 130,000 Democrats turning out in this state as against 60,000 Republicans.

The states with less than a five percent total margin for a party are considered too close to call and coloured purple. This means they could be closely contested in the general election and might swing either way. Nevada (NV) fits this description as 80,000 Democrats came out to vote versus 75,000 Republicans.

This methodology has been applied according to the primary turnout figures available thus far, giving a sense of which states might be in play and which may be firmly in the bag.

Two quick disclaimers:

A) While there is no guarantee that primary voter turnout mirrors voter numbers on November 8th (election day), it is informing nevertheless.

B) Yes, it’s very early in the primary season and Super Tuesday/Super Saturday are predominantly fought in traditional Red states (Republican South), so the current picture probably won’t last long as the voting proceeds into states that are much more favourable to the Democrats.

However, some fascinating things have already happened. To illustrate, here’s another graphic:

2012 Electoral College Results

 

This is the Electoral College result from the 2012 presidential election between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney.

Above, I used Virginia (VA) as an example of a state that in the 2016 primary season had a distinct turnout advantage for the Republicans (so we shaded it red). Well, note in 2012 Virginia went to the Democrats. You’ll also observe that in 2012 New Hampshire (NH) went to the Democrats. In a stunning reversal according to the 2016 primary count; it now goes to the Republicans.

In addition, both Nevada (NV) and Iowa (IA), which were solid wins for Obama and the Democrats in 2012, are now up-for-grabs and shaded purple.

In 2012 the Democrats won Iowa by a six percent margin; in 2016, they trail Republicans by four percent – such a wide shift of 10 percent from one election cycle to the next is extraordinary.

A bright spot for the Democrats is Louisiana (LA). In 2012, the Republicans won the state by a huge eight-point margin. Today the state is very much in play with the Democrats leading by two percent.

Thank God it’s not all one-way traffic…

Of course, it’s early days and a lot can change over the coming weeks of primaries around the country. However, a pattern is emerging already. Donald Trump has expanded the Republican Party’s reach to a winning coalition of voters that has drastically changed the landscape of the Electoral College.

Running Totals:

Total number of Republican voting in the comparable primaries: 10,141,068

Total number of Democratic voting in the comparable primaries: 6,996,540

Total margin in favour of the Republican Party: 18 percent

Total hypothetical Republican Electoral College delegates: 119

Total hypothetical Democratic Electoral College delegates: 24

Total hypothetical swing Electoral College delegates: 20

 

Rest assured The Big Smoke will keep you abreast of everything as it develops!

 

See you at the next stop.

Sources: The Washington Post; The New York Times; Louisiana Results

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