2016 Presidential – The Path to 270 – part 3

In part 1 of The Path to 270, we looked at a logical starting position or “Strong Favors” for each party’s electoral college map.

In part 2 of The Path to 270, we looked at the remaining states and the trend lines for those states.  We also began to noticed the glaring importance of Florida to the GOP.

In part 3 of The Path to 270, we will reconsider our assumptions and look at possible paths to 270 for each party.

Reconsider assumptions

In our quick analysis we have made some critical assumptions that now require reconsideration.

Considering additional information to the historical wins in each state, do any of our “Strong Favors” need to be removed from Strong Favors?  And Why?

We will expand our map slightly by setting an arbitrary cut of line of a margin of victory in 2012 of 10% or less.   (CLICK map for larger view)

2016 Battle Ground States

 

This is how we mark our initial battle ground map, and we require a very good rational to add a state to the map.

What would “a very good rational” be?  Great question.

  • New polling information
  • A black swan event that is not in our consciousnesses (example: some event localized to that state)
  • A mistake by our opponent
  • A new trend emerging since 2012 that we feel will be matured in time for the race (examples: demographics, more recent elections)
  • A statewide issue or campaign that will be on the ballot in a specific state (example: pot legalization)
  • Given our resources, forcing our opponent to defend one of their Strong Favors; thus, spending their own resources.

We are going to break our geography into three tiers, keeping in mind the situation is fluid and smart people update their assumptions when given new information.

  • Tier 1 States – Competitive States.
  • Tier 2 States – Special Circumstance States.
  • Tier 3 States – Conceded States (initially defined as any state with a margin of victory of greater than 10%.

2016 Tier 3 States – Conceded States

At this point, the following states are considered NOT competitive until we get new information indicating they are competitive.   Barring some unforeseen event, the likely-hood of one of these states moving would be considered low.   For example, I think it is fair to say, it is highly unlikely that Republicans will win DC’s electoral votes or that Democrats will win Utah.

EV to 270
Rep Tier 3 134 136
Dem Tier 3 186 84

Tier 3 Detail – sorted by 2012 Margin of Victory

State Rep wins in last 4 2012 Rep Win (Y=1) Electoral Votes 2012 Margin of Victory
MS 4 1 6 0.115
OR 0 0 7 0.1209
MT 4 1 3 0.1364
AK 4 1 3 0.1399
WA 0 0 12 0.1477
ME 0 0 4 0.1529
TX 4 1 38 0.1577
IL 0 0 20 0.1684
LA 4 1 8 0.1721
CT 0 0 7 0.1733
NJ 0 0 14 0.1774
SD 4 1 3 0.1802
DE 0 0 3 0.1863
ND 4 1 3 0.1963
TN 4 1 11 0.2038
KS 4 1 6 0.2161
NE 3 1 5 0.2178
AL 4 1 9 0.2219
KY 4 1 8 0.2268
CA 0 0 55 0.2309
MA 0 0 11 0.2315
AR 4 1 6 0.2369
MD 0 0 10 0.2608
WV 4 1 5 0.2669
RI 0 0 4 0.2746
NY 0 0 29 0.2818
ID 4 1 4 0.3169
OK 4 1 7 0.3354
VT 0 0 3 0.356
WY 4 1 3 0.4082
HI 0 0 4 0.4271
UT 4 1 6 0.4788
DC 0 0 3 0.8363
Grand Total 71 18 320

2016 Tier 2 States – Special Circumstances

The next question we ask, “Is there any compelling reason to move a state off this tier?”

  • For example, does the Hillary campaign have some information showing she can be competitive in Arkansas?
  • Will recent scandals in OR give the Republican’s hope of being competitive?

Seeing no compelling reason at the current moment, we will not move a state and continue.

2016 Tier 1 States

 Tier 1 Detail – sorted by 2012 Margin of Victory

Our goal is to label each state: Toss up, Leans Democratic, Leans Republican, Likely Democrat, or Likely Republican.  These are the 18 states we will do a deeper dive on to see where are model brings us.

State Rep wins in last 4 2012 Rep Win Electoral Votes 2012 Margin of Victory Category
FL 2 0 29 0.0088 Toss Up
NC 3 1 15 0.0204 Leans R
OH 2 0 18 0.0297 Toss Up
VA 2 0 13 0.0387 Toss Up
CO 2 0 9 0.0536 Toss Up
PA 0 0 20 0.0538 Leans D
NH 1 0 4 0.0558 Likely D
IA 1 0 6 0.0581 Toss Up
NV 2 0 6 0.0668 Toss Up
WI 0 0 10 0.0694 Toss Up
MN 0 0 10 0.0769 Likely D
GA 4 1 16 0.078 Likely R
AZ 4 1 11 0.0904 Likely R
MO 4 1 10 0.0936 Likely R
MI 0 0 16 0.0947 Likely D
NM 1 0 5 0.1015 Leans D
IN 3 1 11 0.102 Likely R
SC 4 1 9 0.1047 Likely R
Grand Total 35 6 218

Florida – Toss Up

North Carolina – Leans Republican

  • 2016 Governor on Ballot – Republican Incumbent
  • 2016 US Senate on Ballot – Republican Incumbent
  • 2014 US Senate pick up – Republican win (+1.7%)
  • 2012 Presidential – Republican win

 Ohio – Toss Up

  • 2016 US Senate on Ballot -Republican Incumbent
  • 2014 Governor – Republican win (+30.9%)
  • Average win has been by a margin of 3.29% in last four presidential elections

Virginia – Toss Up

  • 2014 US Senate Race – Democrat win (.8%)
  • 2013 Governors Race – Democrat win (2.5%)
  • You could make the case for a slight lean Democrat, but this far out we will keep it in toss up

Colorado – Toss Up

  • 2016 US Senate on Ballot -Democrat Incumbent
  • 2014 US Senate Race – Republican win (2.5%)
  • 2014 Governors Race – Democrat win (2.9%)

PA – Leans Democrat

  • 2016 US Senate on Ballot – Republican Incumbent
  • 2014 Governor Race – Democrat win (9.8%)
  • The only keeping it from a lock for Democrats is the two year trend line in Presidential elections of -5%

NH – Likely Democrat

  • 2016 Governor Race – Democrat Incumbent
  • 2014 Senate Race – Democrat win (3.2%)
  • 2014 Governor Race – Democrat win (5.2%)
  • The only thing keeping it from a lock for Democrats is that Republicans have won the state before and the relatively small margins

IA – Toss Up

  • 2016 US Senate on Ballot – Republican Incumbent
  • 2014 US Senate Race – Republican win (8.5%)
  • 2014 Governors Race – Republican win (21.8%)
  • The only thing keeping it from leaning Republican is the last two Presidential races +7.67 average in favor of Democrats, and  the 1 Republican POTUS win was by less than 1%.
  • One could easily make the case that Iowa is a Lean Democrat state

NV – Toss Up

  • 2016 US Senate on Ballot – Democrat Incumbent
  • President Obama flipped to blue after President Bush carrying state two times
  • 2014 Governor – Republican win (46.7%)
  • 2012 Senate – Republican win (1.2%)
  • Preventing Republican lean is this is the same state that keeps electing Harry Reid and the last two POTUS elections going Democrat by an average of 9.6%

WI – Toss Up

  • 2016 US Senate on Ballot – Republican Incumbent
  • Last 4 POTUS elections Democrat
  • 2014 Governor – Republican win (5.7%)
  • Home to Governor Scott Walker

MN – Likely Democrat

  • Last 4 POTUS elections Democrat wins
  • 2014 US Senate – Democrat win (10.3)

GA – Likely Republican

  • 2016 US Senate on Ballot – Republican Incumbent
  • 2014 US Senate – Republican (7.9)
  • Last 4 POTUS – Republican

AZ – Likely Republican

  • 2016 US Senate on Ballot- Republican Incumbent
  • Last 4 POTUS Republican
  • 2014 Governors – Republican (11.9)

MO – Likely Republican

  • 2016 Governor on Ballot – Open Race, current Dem term-limited
  • 2016 US Senate on Ballot- Republican Incumbent
  • Last 4 POTUS Republican

MI – Likely Democrat

  • Last 4 POTUS Dem wins
  • 2014 Senate – Democrat (13.2)
  • 2014 Governor – Republican (18.2)

NM – Leans Democrat

  • Last two POTUS – Democrat (12.64 avg)
  • 2014 US Senate – Democrat (10.8)
  • 2014 Governor – Republican (14.6)

IN – Likely Republican

  • 2016 Governors Race – Republican Incumbent (Pence may run for President)
  • 2016 US Senate on Ballot (held by Rep)
  • 3 / 4 POTUS races Republican win

SC – Likely Republican

  • 2016 US Senate Race – Republican Incumbent
  • Last 4 POTUS Republican

 

2016 Electoral Map Starting Summary

Party Tier3 Tier 2 Tier 3 Total EV
Likely
Dem
Lean
Dem
Toss
Up
Lean
Rep
Likely
Rep
Republican 134 15 57 206
Democrat 186 30 25 241
Toss Up 91

2016 Toss Up States

We have arrived at a grand total of 7 toss up states: FL, OH, VA, CO, IA, NV, WI worth 91 electoral votes.

As it stands now, if we give all likely and leans to their respective parties, in order to get to the magic number of 270 – Republicans need 64 electoral votes,  Democrats need 29 electoral votes from Toss Up states.

Here is how the Toss Up states break down by electoral vote.

State Electoral
Votes
FL 29
OH 18
VA 13
CO 9
IA 6
NV 6
WI 10

Conclusions – part 3

It is still very early – 620 days until the election is an eternity in politics – and this analysis does little detailed analysis on demographic trends in each Tier 1 state; however, we can see some things come into clear focus.

Ignoring for a minute a black swan event that re-frames the entire 2016 campaign, Florida, with its 29 electoral votes, is key to the GOP wishes for the Presidency.  If the GOP loses Florida, the GOP would have to make a run on all of the Lean Dem and add a Likely Dem to make up Florida.  That is simply a tall order.  It is extremely difficult to arrive at a likely scenario for a GOP win without Florida.    One could come up with several possible scenarios for a Democrat win not including Florida.  brace

A protracted, bloody primary is NOT in the best interest of the GOP, especially if the Democrats do not engage in one.   With this week’s estimates coming from the Hillary camp of a working budget of $1.7 billion, will need to have a candidate not worried about putting the GOP back together while re-building a war chest.

Also of note is the number of Toss Up States which will have US Senate races occurring at the same time: 6 of our 7 toss up (4 incumbent Rep, 2 Incumbent Dem – if Senator Rubio runs 1 will be vacant) will have active US Senate Races; none have active Governors Races.

As you can see, the model has many moving parts and is inherently fluid.  This is where a Bayesian approach works well : we update this model as we get new information.

But for now, the only two things are certain: the path to 270 is more difficult for Republicans than the Democrats and political ads will flood Florida.

 

DataSet

download the dataset for your own analysis, filetype: CSV

 

About Alex Patton

5 Responses to “2016 Presidential – The Path to 270 – part 3”

Read below or add a comment...

  1. qwerty says:

    Coming from a GOP operative, this is a fair look at the 2016 landscape.

    Well done, and kudos for the free data download.

  2. Mike Davis says:

    Thanks for making the data available!!!

Trackbacks

  1. […] spark?  The electoral college advantage of the Democrats leading to the election of Hillary Clinton to the Presidency of the United […]

  2. […] Topic 1:  The race to 270 is not as fluid as many would think. […]

  3. […] of those outcomes irreparably reduce the already narrow path to 270 and victory for the GOP in 2016.   We win by growing the party, not insulting and […]