October 18

Political Model Predicts Trump Victory

While many polls show Donald Trump way behind Hillary Clinton, a political science professor thinks there is more to it than that. In American politics, it seems as though we take polls as facts. Polls are so heavily emphasized as fact, and as the ultimate debate reference for political pundits around the country. While polls definitely lend an understanding of how the public feels, it stops there.

Helmut Norpoth teaches at Sony Brook University. He has created a political model that predicts the president. So far, he has been correct for the last five presidents. His latest model has Donald Trump as the clear winner November 8th, with 87 percent certainty.

Norpoth’s model is called the Primary Model, and as the name suggests, it looks at how a candidate did during their primary.

Norpoth says that opinion polls are very different from what people actually vote on election day. The way most polls are taken is from a sample population, with the aim that it will represent the whole. So, for example, a group of 2,000 people will be asked if they plan to vote for Clinton or Trump. But, the way they answer this question could be different than what actually happens on election day. His number is compared to FiveThirtyEight’s election forecast, which says Clinton will win by 86.6 percent. That number is based on opinion.

For Norpoth’s model. he looks at which states a candidate won in the primary race. For example, Trump won New Hampshire and South Carolina, while Clinton lost New Hampshire to Bernie Sanders. Trump is also running after a two-term Democratic president.

According to the model, Trump is the only person who could have beaten Hillary Clinton from the GOP pool of candidate. Norpoth applies this same model to past presidential elections, and the only time it has not worked is 1960. How people act on voting day versus what they say in the polls is a key differentiation in an election. Clinton has been pushing for people to vote in the final weeks of the campaign season. There is so much anticipation to this election, especially as Trump has been plagued with scandals and negative media coverage. And now, Wikileaks is showing a different side to Hillary Clinton that voters may not be happy to see. In what has been a crazy election, we can expect the last few weeks to get even crazier. The October surprises will be followed by November surprises followed by a totally unpredictable election. But for Norpoth, he thinks he already knows the winner-and that person is Donald Trump.