What are we watching today?
Pretty much just the state of Florida.
According to a slew of data gurus (including my personal favorite, FiveThirtyEight) this thing may very well come down to one state. Last night, I did a quick run-down of Nate Silver and FiveThirtyEight’s projections (data henceforth as of 6 p.m. ET on Monday, November 7, 2016). There are some contentious states, but based on his modeling 48 of 51 voting territories (50 states + D.C.) lean at least 60% towards either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump (based on projections derived from polling…not polling itself). If you add those 48 tallies up and apply appropriate electoral math you get the following score:
- Donald Trump: 248 Electoral College Votes
- Hillary Clinton: 240 Electoral College Votes
With that in mind, a few things stand out:
- These predictions aren’t totally insane given that FiveThirtyEight is giving Trump a significantly higher change (30.7%) of winning than its peers. The L.A. Times projects Clinton to garner 352 Electoral Votes (a candidate needs just 270 to win outright). The Huffington Post has Clinton leading in more than 99% of general election (think: popular vote) simulations and gives her a 98.2% chance of winning a majority of Electoral Votes. Meanwhile, The Upshot (the New York Times’ data-journalism venture post-Nate Silver) gives Clinton an 84% chance of winning.
- In some ways, only giving Trump a 30% chance actually seems surprisingly low if—and that’s a potentially “big” if—you believe the odds laid out in Silver’s projections. After all, Trump has a lead in states in which one candidate is favored by at least 10% and the three remaining are close by that very definition.
- A dead-lock lock is a very, very real possibility.
So how about those other three states? One of them, as you likely guessed by now, is the state of Florida. With 29 electoral votes, Trump could win the election if:
- He does indeed win each state in which hes currently favored by at least 10% (reminder: this isn’t polling saying 60% Trump / 40% Clinton…this is a statistical projection derived from polling…in reality 60/40 polling would mean a much higher likelihood than 60%).
- He wins the state of Florida—his home-away from home.
But Trump is not a lock to win all of his 10+ point lead states or to win Florida. In fact, he’s an underdog in Florida—and he’s lagging in the other two states in which the favorite has an edge of less than 10% per FiveThirtyEight.
- Florida: Clinton 53.6% chance of winning / Trump 46.4% chance of winning.
- North Carolina: Clinton 53.6% chance of winning / Trump 46.4% chance of winning.
- Nevada: Clinton 57.5% chance of winning / Trump 42.5% chance of winning.
So that makes Florida incredibly important. Because, the state is basically make-or-break for Trump. If we hold the same assumptions as “true” for Clinton (meaning: she wins states in which she’s at least 60% likely to win and she wins Florida), she effectively “blocks” Trump from a path to the needed 270 Electoral Votes. At best, he could win his likely states and tack on Nevada and North Carolina (where he is a slight underdog) and reach exactly 269, forcing a tie with Clinton.
Florida is the state to watch if these projections hold. Florida polls close at 7 p.m. today, but there’s a lot to be gleaned already from early voting.
First and foremost, a TON of people voted early in Florida. I mean a TONNNNN. More people voted early (as of yesterday) than voted in total (early, absentee, Election Day) in the hotly-contested 2000 election.
Just in: Florida early voting surpasses entire turnout in disputed 2000 election:
2016 – 6,424,595
2000 – 5,861,223 #Election2016
— Jim Sciutto (@jimsciutto) November 7, 2016
Secondly, Hillary got strong turnout from key demographics, including Hispanic and African-American voters:
— Taniel (@Taniel) November 7, 2016
Hillary passed Obama in total black voters who participated in Early Voting in Florida.
2016: 564,000 (not counting today)
— Adam Smith (@AdamSmith_usa) November 7, 2016
So what should you do today?
For starters, go vote if you have not already. Once you’ve got out of the way check out Tusk Media’s Twitter feed – we’re going to be pushing election coverage all day long including updates from the polls, projections, guesses and weird stories. Most importantly: we’ll be giving live video analysis of election results tonight. So check it out.
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