These Political Experts Reveal Who They Think Will Win The Election
The contested fight between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton is nearly over, and with it has come a series of twists and turns so unprecedented that it practically feels like it was ripped straight from a movie. Now, the country is just a few days out from the election, and most political experts are solidly pointing to one outcome: a victory for Clinton. But that doesn't mean they know for certain who will win the election, or by what means. Will Clinton win win in a landslide? Or will Trump, as he's done so often throughout the election cycle, disrupt the entire process and manage to take the White House? What about a third-party candidate?
The answer to the Trump question, despite what his surrogates would have you believe, is a resounding no. Almost all national polls have Clinton in the lead, even if that lead is not as large as her campaign may like. Yet, there's still one political expert — who has correctly predicted the winner of the popular vote for the last 30 years — who says Trump will win.
Here's a look at some of those predictions against Clinton and Trump:
1. Clinton Wins In A Landslide
This is a favorite among Clinton's supporters, who have watched her take the political punches not only throughout the election season, but throughout her entire professional career. But is it possible? Almost all of the major political forecasters place her chance of winning around 90 percent, with the lowest polling her at 87.4 percent.
Likewise, state polls show her grasping the several states she would need to win an Electoral College majority. When you add up all of the states that are firmly pro-Clinton or leaning her way, then she easily has the pathway to an overwhelming victory over Trump.
With those states, experts say, she'll quickly reach the 270 electoral votes needed to clinch the nomination. But looking beyond that, she has a chance of taking states that Trump once believed were guaranteed. Early pollsters predict that Clinton victories are possible in solidly conservative states as well as swing states, like Texas, Georgia, and Florida. This extra push could give Clinton what she needs for a landslide victory.
2. Clinton Wins, But Not In A Landslide
While almost all political experts are pointing to a Clinton win come Nov. 8, some are saying it won't be as breezy as her team may expect.
Matt Viser of The Boston Globe has argued that while she may win by a majority, it won't be the landslide of historic proportions voters have seen in the past. Viser has said that even if Clinton wins every state currently up for grabs (including the long-shot conservative ones), it would only put her roughly at 380 electoral votes with 32 states. Hardly the epic landslide voters saw with Lyndon B. Johnson, who defeated Barry Goldwater with 486 electoral votes and 44 states, plus the District of Columbia.
Why won't we have this landslide? Frank Lavin, a former political director for Reagan, told The Boston Globe:
It ain't Reagan against Mondale or Bush against Dukakis, but it’s a handsome win, a respectable win. I think that’s where we will end up with. I think the reason I’d shy away from landslide is I don’t think it’s an endorsement of the Hillary Clinton worldview, as much as it’s a rejection of the Donald Trump worldview. She’s got to get through this and say, "I won. I won with a mandate, and I’m going to take this country in the way I’ve talked about in this campaign."
3. Donald Trump Wins
Currently, only one leading political expert and one national poll show Trump winning. That poll is the Los Angeles Times/USC tracking poll, which has frequently leaned pro-Trump. The Republican nominee currently leads Clinton by 0.7 percent in their tracking. (But ask Trump, and he's winning "bigly.")
The expert, on the other hand, has a little more weight to his prediction. Allan Lichtman, a distinguished history professor at American University, created a test that has without fail accurately predicted the winner of the election for the last 30 years. His "13 Keys to the White House" is a true/false test he uses to predict the winner, with questions regarding incumbency, scandal, and the long-term economy, among others. Based on the answers he's deduced from the keys, he expects a Trump victory.
Still, it isn't a huge victory, and Trump ought to be careful of shooting himself in the foot (as if that hasn't already happened). Lichtman explained to the Washington Post:
Very narrowly, the keys point to a Trump victory. But I would say, more to the point, they point to a generic Republican victory, because I believe that given the unprecedented nature of the Trump candidacy and Trump himself, he could defy all odds and lose even though the verdict of history is in his favor.
4. A Third-Party Candidate
Much to the dismay of many turned off by Clinton and Trump, it looks like Jill Stein and Gary Johnson have had their swan song, given that both are polling at 5 percent or under nationally. But one independent candidate has emerged at the tail end of this race: conservative Evan McMullin. Could he become the dark horse so many are asking for?
McMullin, a Utah resident and former CIA agent, entered the race on the premise that he was the only true conservative in the running. He's made his home state of Utah a battleground, and some polls show him tying with Trump and beating Clinton. Should he win Utah, he'd be the first third-party candidate to take a state in a presidential election since segregationist George Wallace in 1968.
But could that translate to an overall win for the general election? It's unlikely, but possible. ABC News Deputy Political Director Shushannah Walshe explained:
McMullin cannot win outright, but he still has a path to the presidency. It starts with winning his home state of Utah and those six electoral votes and by doing that, he needs to block Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump from getting 270 electoral votes. At that point, the election would be tossed to the House of Representatives, where the Republican majority would have to pick Evan McMullin over Donald Trump.
All in all, there's a number of ways this election could go. After the election cycle the American public has played witness to, nothing would seem that surprising. But regardless of what the polls and experts say, one thing is for sure — people should absolutely get out the vote on Election Day. No statistics should change that.