Well, the race for the Presidency is almost over. No one has run it well, nor has it been what anyone ever expected.
Indeed, one can say without hyperbole that these last 18 months have been the most disappointing election cycle in the history of our once-glorious republic. No matter who is elected our next president come Wednesday morning, they will likely start as the least-liked and least-trusted president in the history of our nation with perhaps the single exception of one Richard Nixon.
The attack ads and talking heads will continue for the next few days, but the polls as of Sunday morning should give the best indicator of who is going to be moving into the Oval Office come next year, and certainly more so than the biased partisan drivel coming from Fox or MSNBC.
The majority of polls predict either a Clinton landslide or a Clinton squeaker, and no major poll is predicting that Clinton will lose – aside from the L.A. Times poll, which has maintained something of an iconoclastic Trump lean all year. Of the polls I follow and consider to be more reliable, Nate Silver and his team at FiveThirtyEight (the pollsters whom I trust the most) give Clinton a 65 percent chance of winning in their most recent models as of publishing time. Her chances are good, but there is still certainly not a guarantee of anything.
The election model being overseen by Larry J. Sabato, the renowned political scientist and pollster at the University of Virginia, currently has Clinton winning the Electoral College by a fairly dominant 293 to 214. He predicts the qualifier that Florida is likely a true “Toss-Up,” which could go a long way toward swinging the race if Trump is able to win it.
The New York Times UpShot blog gives Hillary Clinton an 84 percent chance of winning the election, and gives readers the amusing tidbit that “Mrs. Clinton’s chance of losing is about the same as the probability that an NFL kicker misses a 38-yard field goal.” Considering the number of extra points professional kickers have missed this year, Clinton supporters may not actually be assured by that bit of trivia. Finally, the RealClearPolitics aggregate gives Clinton a 1.7 percent lead over Trump with Election Day at the moment.
Bottom line: Nationally, Clinton has a steady – if slim – lead over Trump, but nothing is decided yet.
Personally, I think that Clinton is likely to pull this one out, but I do not think that it will be the landslide that many pundits and politicos are currently predicting. Trump has been underestimated at the polling place and running against Hillary has provided Trump just as much of an opening that running against Trump has provided Hillary. Very few candidates have the ability to blindly rally the majority of the GOP against themselves like Hillary does.
Indeed, I think that if either party had nominated any other individual than the one they did nominate, this election would be over already, and that person would be almost guaranteed to win. Such is the unpopularity of these two candidates.
An additional word of caution to supporters of both candidates: Recently, the trend has been for political polls around the world to be off and typically off in that they overestimate the vote share of the more liberal and less nationalist candidate or platform. The most recent example was the Brexit poll earlier this year. Keeping that in mind, I can see swing states like Pennsylvania, Florida, Ohio and Michigan all having a late break toward Trump, and polls simply are missing the signs of that sort of break. To his credit Trump has been able to put states in play, which Republicans have not competed in for several election cycles, and I suspect that at least one state in Hillary’s so-called “Blue Wall” will finish Tuesday night in the Trump column.
With all of that said, I do not think that Trump has a chance at winning the popular vote, though a slim Electoral College win is not out of the question. Regardless of which candidate wins, he or she is unlikely to have anything resembling a mandate on Wednesday morning.
This has been one of the most bizarre and depressing election cycles in the history of our nation. We are in sight of the finish line now, and we can only hope that the next four years are better than the last 20 months.