Professor sees big Trump win in November

Helmut Norpoth called 2016 for Trump much earlier than almost all.

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When most others were predicting a Hillary landslide in 2016, Stony Brook University professor Helmut Norpoth called the election for Trump. He did this months before any other major analyst did the same. Norpoth saw the signs on the wall (like Brexit) that foretold of a populist voter uprising that would sweep the DC establishment and their acolytes out of presidential power.

Now Norpoth, during a Thursday interview with Fox News‘ Laura Ingraham, is predicting that President Donald Trump has a 91% chance of reelection victory. While that seems wildly optimistic to most, except for those who indulge in confirmation bias and confuse what they want to happen for what is actually happening, Norpoth has his record to stand on when almost all other pollsters, research firms, and pundits got it wrong up until the very last minute in 2016.

Norpoth also said Friday that he believes the key to reelection for the president lies in a review of GOP primary races: “OK, the key to the November election is the primaries. And, the only primaries [are] already giving us a lot of information. And, based on that, Donald Trump won them very easily in his party. Joe Biden, the likely nominee for the Democrats, had a great deal of trouble holding it together. But, on balance, it’s that stronger performance of primaries that gives Donald Trump the edge in November.”

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The obvious flaw in Norpoth’s scenario is that the president had a non-contested primary whereas Biden had a vicious fight on his hands. So of course Biden “had trouble.” It was because he didn’t get a free ride like the president did.

Norpoth’s “Primary Model” shows that President Trump would get 362 electoral votes. The model is based on statistical and historical theory that the professor analyzed with Ingraham. The way the numbers stack up, and all Trump needs is 271 to win, to get to 362 the president would have to take every state he did in 2016 and New Mexico, Nevada, Colorado, Vermont, Virginia, Minnesota, Maine, and New Hampshire. While some of those are within reach, Virginia is lost for a generation and Vermont, Colorado, and Maine are very unlikely to land in the Trump column in November. A more realistic number to expect in a Trump victory is just over or below 300. But then, Norpoth’s methods have worked before.

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On another election factor Norpoth has an excellent point: Trump’s steady numbers despite the coronavirus controversies. “In fact, in the early goings he got a little uptick. And, unless his approval rating collapses, I don’t think that this would have much bearing on my forecast,” the professor remarked.

Biden still leads over Trump in a head-to-head matchup, though falling by three points over the last week, that is according to a survey by Reuters and Ipsos. The former vice president leads the president by six points among registered voters in the poll, with 45 percent backing the challenger and 39 percent favoring the incumbent. Biden also carried a four-point lead among independent voters in the poll. It should be noted that Trump is close to the same polling range as were both Obama and Bush the Younger at this point in their successful reelection efforts.

The Real Clear Politics head-to-head polling average still puts Biden ahead of Trump by 5.3 percentage points nationwide. That is very close to a statistical dead heat and gives credence to the smart money that says this thing, right now, is neck and neck.

David Kamioner
meet the author

David Kamioner is a veteran of U.S. Army Intelligence and an honors graduate of the University of Maryland's European Division. He also served with the Pershing Nuclear Brigade and the First Infantry Division. Subsequent to that he worked for two decades as a political consultant, was part of the American Red Cross Hurricane Katrina disaster relief effort in Louisiana, ran a homeless shelter for veterans in Philadelphia, and taught as a college instructor. He serves as a Contributing Editor for LifeZette.

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