Primary Model Predicts Trump Will Win In A Landslide

Stony Brook Political Scientist Helmut Norpoth of the The PRIMARY MODEL gives President Donald Trump a 91% chance of winning the 2020 presidential election, with Democrat Joe Biden having just a 9% chance.

Trump would get 362 electoral votes, Biden 176.  This forecast is unconditional and final; hence not subject to any updating. It was first posted March 2, 2020, on Twitter.

Helmut Norpoth of the The PRIMARY MODEL reports:

In 2016, when polls, pundits and forecasters were all predicting a certain victory for Hillary Clinton, the PRIMARY MODEL was practically alone in predicting Donald Trump’s victory.

It did so as early as March 7 that year, putting his chance of winning at 87%.  http://primarymodel.com/2016-forecast-full.

It is a statistical model that relies on presidential primaries and, in addition, on an election cycle as predictors of the vote in the general election. This year the model has been calibrated to predict the Electoral College vote.

For the record, the PRIMARY MODEL has picked the winner of 25 out of 27 elections since 1912, when presidential primaries were introduced. The misses are 1960, one of the closest presidential elections, and 2000, when the late count in Florida handed Bush the victory; still Al Gore wound up winning the popular vote.

Warning: Polls in the spring are barely better than a coin flip to predict the winner in November.

Winning the early primaries is a major key for electoral victory in November.  On the Democratic side, Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders split the primaries in New Hampshire and South Carolina while Trump handily won the Republican Primary in New Hampshire (the GOP primary in South Carolina was cancelled this year).

What favors Trump in 2020 as well is the cycle of presidential elections operating for nearly 200 years, as illustrated by the snapshot since 1960.  After one term in the White House the incumbent party is favored to win re-election unlike the situation when it has held office for two or more terms.

To capture the effects of this electoral cycle and of the nominees’ primary performances, the Primary Model uses data from elections going back as far as 1912. That was the year when presidential primaries were introduced.

As it turned out, the candidate who won his party’s primary vote in 1912, Woodrow Wilson, went on to defeat the candidate who had lost his party’s primary vote, William Howard Taft.

From then on, as illustrated by a representative set of elections (1964, 1980, and 2012), the candidate with the better primary vote tended to win the general election.

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Fmr. Sgt, USAF Intelligence, NSA/DOD; Studied Cryptology at Community College of the Air Force

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