The time has almost come for nearly 150 million Americans to cast their votes on who will lead their country for the next 4, and potentially 8, years. So with the election just over a week away let’s take a look at the potential outcomes for one of the most unpredictable elections in decade.
1. A Clinton Victory.
Relatively straight forward. Hillary Clinton wins both the popular vote and the Electoral College. Currently ranked as the most likely outcome by FiveThirtyEight as a 80.9% chance based on their polling and historical analysis. A Clinton win by a normal to large margin of around 5% would potentially help the Democrats retake the Senate but probably wouldn’t reshape politics as we know it.
2. A Clinton Blowout.
Similar to the previous result, Clinton wins the popular vote and the Electoral College but this time by massive margins. Defined as a double-digit win in the popular vote a Clinton blow-out is currently predicted by FiveThirtyEight with a 16.0% meaning that if the election was held five times Clinton would probably win four of them, one by double digits. A victory of this size would almost certainly ensure Democratic control over the Senate and potentially even bring into play a lot of normally uncompetitive House seats giving the Democrats a real but admittedly slim chance at retaking the chamber and having unified control in 2017. For a deeper statistical analysis on a Clinton blow out state by state check here.
3. A Trump Victory.
Once again straight forward. Donald J. Trump prevails against most predictions and polling models to win both the popular vote. This is currently viewed as an 11% by FiveThirtyEight. While surprising, a Trump victory would not be the most historical upset of all time. In terms of spillover effects a Trump victory may help down-ballot Republicans but could also have the adverse effect of hurting establishment Republicans who withdrew their support or endorsement of Trump in recent years. If you’re interested in a more detailed look at what a Trump victory might look like, check this article out here.
4. A Trump Electoral Victory.
A particularly ironic situation for a candidate peddling the narrative of election rigging and voter fraud however there is a substantial possibility (roughly 7.8%) that Trump loses the popular vote to Hillary Clinton but wins the Electoral College. Similarly to the 2000 election this could potentially trigger a lot of uncertainty over the outcome if certain states had election margins that were very narrow. If it occurred and was upheld it would become the 4th election in history in which the popular vote did not match the eventual winner and the 3rd in which the winner won in the Electoral College (the other being the election of 1824 in which John Quincy Adams won in the House of Representatives).
5. A Historic McMullin Victory.
This last result, while the most unlikely, would be the most historical. A little know independent candidate Evan McMullin has been running for President for the last two or three months boasting the credentials of experience in the CIA, the financial sector and as policy advisor to House Republicans. While receiving little to no national attention he has been doing incredibly well in one particular state, Utah, where he has polled over Trump and within or near the margin of error several times. This is largely due to McMullin’s appeal as an anti-Trump conservative Mormon, a demographic that makes up a large level of Utah voters as well as the fact that Trump lost several endorsements from Utah officials after the tapes surfaced. Anyway’s McMullin’s path to the Presidency is discussed much more in detail here, but would basically require McMullin to win Utah, and for that to cause an electoral deadlock. Currently the odds of the former are about 23.9% and the latter being 0.3%. However, if both those occurred then the election would be decided by the House of Representatives between Clinton, Trump and McMullin, a three-way race which given the unfavourability of both the candidates, is not hard to imagine ending in McMullin’s favor.
(Final Note: A few options were only included for a single candidate. This was due to both writing constraints and that while a Clinton blowout is quite probably a Trump blowout has less than 1% chance of occurring and vice versa for Clinton winning the popular vote but losing in the Electoral College.)