Despite some suspense over emails and other drifts in public opinion, I’ve been confident since Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump were each nominated that the election would be won by Hillary Clinton. And not by a close margin. I still feel confident this is the case and that Hillary Clinton will be the next President. I believe she will preside over a Democratically-controlled Senate and I believe Democrats will perform much better in the House than is being predicted by many analysts. I think Democrats will fall just short of reclaiming a majority in the House, but it will take a day or two to make that call.
Why am I so bullish for the Democrats? Partially for the same reason I predicted in 2012 that President Obama would do at least a point better in the final tally than the election eve polling average. Latinos and other immigrants have been systematically undercounted and miscounted again in 2016 just as was the case in 2012. Only worse this time. Pollsters undercount Latino voters and then misread their opinions for a variety of reasons. The Atlantic wrote a helpful article on this a few months back. Chief among them is that many poll only in English and some Latinos don’t feel comfortable being polled that way. They also poll landlines and Latinos are less likely to use landlines than other groups. And they’re also often not counted as likely voters because they are new citizens without a voting history. Many pollsters use past voting as an indicator someone is a likely voter.
There are as many as four million more Latino citizens this year than 2012 and, according to Latino Decisions, the preeminent polling firm focused on this demographic group, anywhere from 1 to 2.5 million more Latinos will vote in 2016 than in the last cycle. And the last cycle saw an increase of 1.5 million from 2008. So we’re talking about a potential 50% increase in Latino voter turnout since 2008 for a possible total of 14.7 million people. 126 million people voted in total in 2012 so this surging Latino vote could add up to 11.6% of the vote. That compares to 7.2% of the vote in 2008 and 8.7% in 2008.
Aside from there being more Latino voters this year, they’re also more likely to vote against the Republican than ever before. Latino Decisions is predicting that Clinton will get close to 79-82% of Latino voters versus 15-18% for Trump. In 2012, Obama beat Romney 71% to 27%. Obama beat McCain in 2012 67% to 31%. That means Republicans had a 3.7 million vote deficit in 2008 and a 4.9 million vote deficit in 2012. Assuming we split the difference in the Latino Decisions range and Clinton gets 80% and Trump gets 17% of Latino voters, Clinton would get anywhere from 10.5 million to 11.76 million votes versus a range of 2.3 to 2.5 million for Trump. That means Clinton will win Latino voters by somewhere between 8.2 million and 9.26 million.
Let that sink in. Clinton will have 4.5 million to 5.56 million more Latino votes in 2016 than President Obama had in 2008.
I am assuming that the media polls are correctly counting other groups and that the Real Clear Politics polling average showing Clinton with a 3.0% lead is otherwise on the mark. I believe the Latino vote will push out her lead by an additional 1.25 to 1.75% so Clinton will win by a margin of around 4.5%.
I also believe that for the same reasons the polls are off in the presidential race, they’re off in the Senate and House races as well. The Democrats have about 10 fairly close Senate races where they are playing offense since so many Republicans are up this year. I believe the Democrats will pick up six Senate seats. My best bets are for pick ups in Illinois, Wisconsin, North Carolina, New Hampshire, Missouri and Indiana. I believe the Democrats will hold the Nevada seat. In the House, I believe the Democrats will pick up close to 20 seats.
We’ll see how close my forecast is in just a few hours.