Well, that’s another year in the books. My final map came out at:
Clinton 272 – Trump 197 – Toss-Up 69
Now, folks always want us to push our Toss-Ups. Inherently, they are a Toss-Up for a reason: they really could go either way. Of course, if Clinton swept them, it’d be an electoral blowout: 341. If Trump swept them, it’d be a close race, but he’d still come up short without a big surprise elsewhere: 266.
If you made me, the Model median comes out between:
Why the bands? I think North Carolina is simply too tough to call. The Model has it within two-tenths; that’s not a real difference.
Now, of the big three states — FL, NC and OH — either candidate could pick up all three, as they’re all potentially very close. Again, that’d either make this a blowout Clinton victory or a very tight Clinton victory.
Beyond that, even if Trump somehow won all three, we have the same question we’ve always had: where else can he win to actually get to 270? There’s still not a clear path. An upset in Nevada is still possible, but it’d be tough. Though I have New Hampshire as Leans Clinton, the unpredictable, independent nature of the state can surprise you sometimes. That said, winning both of those is even more challenging than winning OH, FL, and NC.
I still don’t see Pennsylvania or Michigan. If Trump over performs, getting within 2-4% in those states would be a great night for him. But, of course, getting within 2-4% doesn’t change those states from blue to red. You actually have to win them. Since I posted the final Michigan Model two days ago, I have found some indications that it might be closer than we all think — the divergence of the online polls there is a bit pondering, coupled with their primary polling mess. But, that would be a data shock like we haven’t seen in some time.
So, I revert to the above numbers. Again, those 62 EVs from FL, NC, and OH could make this look like a squeaker or a blowout, but if anything happens beyond that, it’d be a data surprise. That’s not to say it doesn’t happen, but it’s not something you should likely bet on.
Now, a few notes on things I’m watching tonight, hour-by-hour:
(Times in EST) (Some states close at varying times, so I try to list the latest closing time)
- Indiana: This will be an early tell of the Midwestern vote. The state is far more conservative than its neighbors, but if Trump is on track to win here by 10%+, Ohio might come out well for him. The other big note: we’re going to know a lot about control of the Senate early…
- Georgia: This would still be a surprise if Clinton were to win here, but if she’s close or pulls out that victory, it might be a very quick night. Things to watch: African American and Latino turnout, as well as Trump’s margins in some of the very GOP-leaning Atlanta suburbs. If she does well with the former, Florida and North Carolina are likely going to go her way. If not, NC and FL could swing the other way.
- Virginia: Similar to Georgia, just in the inverse. How poorly does Trump do in Northern Virginia (implications for suburbs down the line)? Does Southwest Virginia have record turnout? If so, even if it’s not enough to make VA competitive, it may be a good sign for Trump in Southeast Ohio and Southwest PA. Again, how is Clinton’s turnout with African Americans? May be telling for North Carolina.
- North Carolina: One of the three biggies. If Trump somehow wins here, the night gets more interesting. A Trump loss in either of these and Clinton’s going to run up the score.
- Ohio: Same as North Carolina. The only difference: if Trump somehow won North Carolina, and is on pace to win by several points in Ohio, Michigan and Pennsylvania become slightly more interesting. In short, though, it can’t be overemphasized how a Clinton win in either of these states would make this a presumably short night.
- Florida: The third biggie. Again, Trump would need to win all three. Otherwise, Clinton’s EV margin is likely to be big.
- Maine: Is CD-02 really in play? If Trump won (and won in a big way), it might be telling for Northern Michigan.
- Missouri: If Dems get the Senate upset, it’d be hard for them to lose the Senate.
- New Hampshire: Oh Indy-minded New Hampshire. There may be a surprise in at least one of the three big races here. Senate control in the balance.
- Pennsylvania: Senate control in the balance. By then, we’d know if PA even matters, but, if somehow FL, NC and OH actually all went to Trump, all eyes would turn here.
- Arizona: If Clinton is having a big night, watch out for a Southwestern upset.
- Colorado: If Trump is having a big night, watch out for a close race here. If Clinton is having a big night elsewhere, she’d likely win big here.
- Michigan: Like Pennsylvania, we’d likely see if there was somehow an upset brewing here far before 9pm. If Clinton wins Ohio, her margin would likely be big here. If Trump wins Ohio by something like 5%, keep an eye out here.
- Minnesota: See Michigan — but still no signs this one would happen, even if there were some Trump surprises elsewhere.
- Nebraska: If Clinton is doing well elsewhere, she might upset to win this EV.
- New Mexico: Again, this would be a major shocker. Clinton could win big here if she wins by healthy margins in some Eastern states.
- Texas: If Clinton is having a big night, this one would be a bit closer than we expect.
- Wisconsin: Buzz here has faded. Even if Michigan and Pennsylvania are looking closer than thought, it’d take a lot here to swing either President or Senate.
- Iowa: If Clinton wins Ohio, keep an eye out here for another Midwestern win that could drive up her score. If Trump wins Ohio by a few points, he may in fact win by a healthy margin here, as the Des Moines Register expects.
- Nevada: If Trump was still somehow in the running by this point, then its Toss-Up rating might turn out to be decisive. If the night seems done by then, Nevada will likely just add to the Clinton score.
I’ll be on Twitter as much as possible tonight updating you along the way. I’ll be on local coverage in North Carolina from 7:30pm to 8:30pm at WRAL.com (the NBC-affiliate in Raleigh-Durham). So, I may be a bit delayed in updates during that time, but I’ll do my best — and feel free to check into the livestream that I think they’re likely to have on their website or their app.
Oh, and now the fun part: in just a few hours, we get to see if I was wrong! 🙂