The University of Virginia has Larry Sabato’s “Crystal Ball”, which has accurately picked the winner of the presidential election every year since it began. And take a guess who wins this year…and who wins by a landslide? Hillary Clinton!
More specifically, the Crystal Ball deals with the electoral college, which as you know, and as George W. Bush knows, is the only thing that matters. And remember, it is incredibly early to predict the race, since a third party candidate is always a possibility.
Despite some wobbles along the way, we’ve favored Hillary Clinton as the 45th president of the United States ever since we did our first handicapping of the Clinton vs. Donald Trump matchup back in late March. The edge we had for her back then has eroded a little bit at the end — we had her as high as 352 electoral votes, and in the final tally we have her down to 322, with 216 for Trump. If this is how it turns out, Trump will fare 10 electoral votes better than Mitt Romney, and Clinton will do 10 electoral votes worse than Barack Obama in 2012 — 11 or 12 if rogue Washington electors follow through on their threat to refuse to vote for Clinton (but we can’t assume that at this time).
The two closest states here are North Carolina and Ohio. For a long time, it appeared that Florida was a shakier state for Clinton than the Tar Heel State, but our sources indicate that the Sunshine State looks somewhat brighter for her now, although both should be tight. Meanwhile, Ohio may be a real Toss-up state. Buckeye history and demography point to Trump, but Clinton’s ground operation could come through for her in the end. If Ohio does vote for Trump while he is losing the White House, it will be just the third time in 31 elections that Ohio will have voted for the loser. We’re picking that to happen, but if Clinton gets any benefit out of James Comey’s final (?) intervention into campaign 2016, it may be that it generates a tiny bounce that allows her to leapfrog Trump in the Buckeye State. Arizona and Iowa seem like heavier lifts for Clinton but her campaign still holds out hope in both. Ultimately, we think North Carolina and Ohio are the hardest calls in the Electoral College, so we think it makes the most sense to just split them.