Who will win the 2016 US presidential election? (update)

The Cook Political Report has a new electoral vote scorecard out[1]. According to the scorecard, Maine-02 (1), Michigan (16), and Minnesota (10) are now likely D, Colorado (9); Florida (29), Nevada (6), Pennsylvania (20), Virginia (13), and Wisconsin (10) are lean D; Iowa (6), Nebraska-02 (1), New Hampshire (4), North Carolina (15), and Ohio (18) are tossups; Arizona (11) and Georgia (16) are lean R; and Indiana (11) and Missouri (10) are likely R. The other states are either solid R or solid R, and you won’t have any trouble guessing which are which.

That looks like a pretty bleak picture for the Rs since the Ds would get 304 electoral votes (and, therefore, the presidency) without winning a single tossup state, provided they got all of the solid Ds, likely Ds, and lean Ds. The expected (i.e., mean) number of electoral votes for the D is 316.7. In fact, that’s pretty close to the 326 they received in 2012. The conventional wisdom[2][3[4]] is that Rs can’t win without both Ohio and Florida, and, according to the CPR, their odds of doing so are a mere 0.075 (=1-[0.5*0.15])). Well, that’s conventional wisdom for you.

Anyway, I ran a Monte Carlo simulation the last time the score card came out, so – what the hell? – I thought I’d do it again. But to keep matters a little more manageable, I’m excluding the solid D and solid R states. 1,000 rounds produced 26 R victories. Do I really think that the Rs have a 0.026 probability of winning the presidency? No, I do not. But I don’t think that they have a 0.34 probability of winning either, though I did before I did this little bit of number crunching. If you put more stock in the CPR and in the value of Monte Carlo sims, then you should probably make a bet as soon as you can. Predict Wise currently has the Ds up 72/28, and Betfair (which seems to think MySpace a la 2003 was the proper template for its own website) thinks that the D’s a 3-to-1 favorite[6].

[1] http://cookpolitical.com/presidential/charts/scorecard

[2] https://newrepublic.com/article/133322/dont-overthink-it-donald-trump-will-probably-lose

[3] http://wvxu.org/post/gop-needs-ohio-2016-does-it-need-kasich

[4] http://www.politico.com/story/2016/04/hillary-clinton-donald-trump-november-insiders-222598

[5] http://predictwise.com/politics/2016-president-winner

[6] https://www.betfair.com/exchange/plus/#/politics/market/1.107373419

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