Politics Symposium: Forecasting the 2016 American National Elections

psc-494-cover_webEvery presidential election is different. But there is different and then there is 2016.

As the nomination contests and their surviving candidates have made clear, this year’s election looks to be very different. Most notably, neither of the two highly controversial major party candidates are well thought of by an unusually large part of the electorate. Substantial majorities of Americans hold generally unfavorable rather than favorable views of both Democratic Party candidate Hillary Clinton and Republican Party candidate Donald Trump.

On the Democratic side, despite being her party’s ultimate establishment candidate, Hillary Clinton enters the campaign with a warehouse of controversies (e.g., huge Wall Street speaking fees, the handling of the Benghazi fiasco, and the Clinton Foundation’s fund-raising). This includes a year long FBI investigation into her mishandling of confidential and top secret emails on private unsecured computer servers while serving as Secretary of State. Though unindicted for handling classified information “in a grossly negligent way,” the FBI characterized her actions as “extremely careless.”

On the Republican side, while lacking the experience necessary for a long history of controversies in public office, Donald Trump has his own trail of business scandals (e.g., Trump University, multiple bankruptcies) and continues to demonstrate an uncanny flair for gratuitous insults and outlandish offenses (e.g., mocking a reporter with a disability, implying Ted Cruz’s father was implicated in JFK’s assassination, and other offensive comments directed at ethnic groups, women, and public figures of both parties). Regarding Trump as shallow, unprincipled, vulgar, boorish, and belligerent, many pragmatic conservative (aka, establishment) Republicans at least tentatively have decided to sit this election out, leaving the party unusually fractured even after its convention.

With all of this, the specter of a Clinton versus Trump race suggests that we should all expect the unexpected, but what should be expected? That is where election forecasting models come in.

In this symposium, we have again gathered eight election forecasters or forecasting teams to present their models’ predictions of the 2016 national two-party presidential vote. Four also venture forecasts of the congressional elections. A ninth forecasting team offers a presidential prediction based on combining a number of forecasts based on very different approaches.

Read the rest of the introduction and the Politics Symposium: Forecasting the 2016 American National Elections articles below.

1 Comment

  1. How on earth are we to take this seriously when your line-up of experts is almost all white men. Seriously, there is greater levels of diversity in a Donald Trump rally. I have nothing against white men, but what is left out of the story due to the extremely limited perspective offered here?

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