Why a new prediction of an easy Georgia win for Hillary is wrong

A cardboard cutout of Hillary Clinton lurks behind would-be delegates from Georgia to the Democratic National Convention, June 11. (Branden Camp / Special)

A cardboard cutout of Hillary Clinton lurks behind would-be delegates from Georgia to the Democratic National Convention, June 11. (Branden Camp / Special)

NPR has an interesting new online gadget that allows readers to test what seems to be the central working theory of Donald Trump’s campaign: that their man can win by getting more white voters to show up and vote Republican than in recent presidential elections.

The headline result is that Hillary Clinton would dominate Trump if demographics are indeed destiny: Adjusting 2012 results for differences in the population four years later, she would be expected to capture 345 electoral votes to Trump’s 193 — not as large a victory as Barack Obama won in 2008, but larger than his win in 2012. What would it take for Trump to win? One scenario: Trump increases the GOP’s share of the white vote of at least 2 percentage points, with white men also increasing their turnout by 1 point — while every other demographic group votes the same way as four years ago. That’s not impossible; nor is it the only scenario that generates a Trump win, just the one that requires the least tinkering. But it doesn’t seem particularly likely, either (mostly because of the assumption other groups would remain static).

For me, the most interesting thing about the NPR model is how likely it deems a Clinton win in Georgia. With partisan shares of the vote and turnout the same as in 2012, adjusted only for 2016 demographics, NPR’s model predicts a 2.5-point win for Clinton in Georgia. That would be a 10-point swing from 2012, when Mitt Romney beat Obama by almost 8 points. Is that really possible in just four years, based solely on demographics?

Even in the above-described scenario that gives Trump the presidency, Georgia would be the last state in his column, providing the entire margin of victory in the Electoral College. We would go Republican by a smaller margin than some long-time purple states: Florida, Colorado, Ohio, even Pennsylvania.

Frankly, I have a hard time believing Trump will win Ohio by almost 4 points, Pennsylvania by more than 3, and Georgia by less than 0.2. Diving down into their data, I think I know why the model has it wrong.

For one thing, the model assumes a huge jump in black voting, well beyond even what Obama inspired in 2008. The underlying data for the model shows black voters making up 34.5 percent of the electorate. In 2008, they hit a record of 30.1 percent, falling to 29.9 percent in 2012 and 29.3 percent among current registered voters.

What’s more, the model’s numbers assume 87.5 percent of currently registered white voters will show up in November, which isn’t necessarily absurd if you consider registration will increase between now and then. But it also projects 101.5 percent of currently registered black voters and 121.2 percent of currently registered Hispanics will turn out. Based on the turnout level in 2008, that would require the new registration of almost half a million black and Hispanic voters. Recall that the much-hyped New Georgia Project two years ago sought to increase minority registration by just 120,000, and wound up with just 46,000. The group’s goal this year is 170,000 — very ambitious compared with their 2014 results, and yet only one-third of that half a million figure.

The one wild card here is that the fastest-growing group of voters in Georgia aren’t black or Hispanic, but “unknown.” As recently as 2004, “unknown” made up 1.1 percent of voters. Among current registrants, it’s up to 7.8 percent. That’s not just a faster rate of growth than various minority groups; it represents nearly as large an increase in the absolute number. If we assume a disproportionate share of “unknown” voters are actually black and Hispanic, those groups might reach the share of the vote NPR’s model assumes. Maybe. Even if it does, would it really affect the outcome of the election here?

Despite pretty dramatic demographic shifts here already, the Republican share of the presidential vote has been fairly consistent. In 2000, George W. Bush won 54.7 percent in Georgia. The average share of the vote for Bush, John McCain and Romney in the three elections that followed: 54.5 percent. In 2012, Romney improved on McCain’s showing and came within 1.5 points of Bush’s result in 2000 — even though the white share of Georgia’s electorate fell by almost 14 points during that time. Democratic candidates performed a bit better from 2004-2012 than in 2000, but most of their increase came at the expense of third-party candidates.

If Clinton is to have a chance in Georgia this year, it will most likely be because third-party candidates do well at Trump’s expense. It’s worked out that way for a Clinton before: We saw that happen in 1992 and 1996, when Bill Clinton won Georgia by 0.6 points and lost by 1.2 points, respectively, while Ross Perot took 13.6 percent and 7.2 percent. If the Libertarian and Green candidates take a Perot-like share of the vote, and if most of their votes come at Trump’s expense, and if black and Hispanic turnout rises sharply, then we could see Clinton win the state.

But NPR’s model doesn’t account for third-party candidates, and yet it shows Hillary winning Georgia by a larger margin than any Democrat since Jimmy Carter. Georgia may be more competitive this year, and it’s certainly possible Trump could fritter away his built-in advantages here. But beware predictions that Democrats will turn Georgia blue with little more than demographic increases. The numbers just aren’t there — yet.

Reader Comments 0

85 comments
McGarnagle
McGarnagle

Spare me your mathematical mumbo jumbo. Speak to me in English.

Lil_Barry_Bailout
Lil_Barry_Bailout

@332-206

The only thing that will prevent an incompetent, dishonest, money-grubber from being elected in November is if the election gets thrown to the House of Representative.

lvg
lvg

@Lil_Barry_Bailout @332-206 You mean like the fake billionaire with no political experience who got 900 million from a Saudi Prince for a yacht that cost 29 million so he would not have to file personal bankruptcy? Same guy who is making a profit off RNC on his reimbursed  primary expenses? Or same guy who was selling fake university diplomas for tens of thousands of dollars?


Election will get thrown into SCOTUS and they will use Bush v. Gore to rule that Hillary's civil rights were violated and make her president.

Lil_Barry_Bailout
Lil_Barry_Bailout

That's both major-party candidates.

As a bonus, Hillary is a repulsive bore.

Tinsdale
Tinsdale

Kyle's totally right in his analysis. Hillary's path to victory in GA is possible, but it's not in these phantom Democratic voters we keep hearing about. It's Republican-leaning, white voters who voted for McCain and Romney switching over to Hillary and regular Republicans skipping the line or voting third party.


redneckbluedog
redneckbluedog

Speaker Gingrich will save Trump in Georgia and possibly North Carolina....but not in Pennsylvania, Virginia, nor Florida....

Antoine Averill
Antoine Averill

Why this long drawn out analysis is totally wrong. Trump will lose Georgia and a few other southern states to Hillary Clinton. Why because register women voters outnumber every demographic in this country 3 to one even White men .Add  Latinos ,Africans American . LGBT voters and it could be a  landslide victory for Hillary Clinton in Nov.


lvg
lvg

Georgia elects a Conservative as Senator who made his fortune by outsourcing and selling cheap dollar products made in China and elsewhere. Now same Senator is going to back and campaign for a  GOP nominee who says the  enemy is the rich who made money outsourcing and who destroyed American Jobs. This should be interesting.Someone explain how that will work.

mnt
mnt

Let's try to imagine some reasons why Donald Trump might be less competitive in any state than most Republican candidates have been.

Aboli
Aboli

Remember it is ok to change your demographic group. This is modern america.

Lil_Barry_Bailout
Lil_Barry_Bailout

The only number that matters is the percentage who want government to take the property and earnings of others and turn it into handouts.

That number is around 50%.

Expect the party of handouts, and their "taker" voters, to win in November. And for the country to continue its decline as a result.

MargaretHolt
MargaretHolt

Kyle, if you had been in Oconee County tonight, you might be predicting a big win for Hillary.

RafeHollister
RafeHollister

Georgia is a lock for Trump, unless Melowese Richardson moves here. 

PappyHappy
PappyHappy


Just a reminder of what happened the last time the Clinton’s were in the White House!

When Bill Clinton was president, he allowed Hillary to assume authority over a health care reform. 

Even after threats and intimidation, she couldn't even get a vote in a democratic controlled congress.

This fiasco cost the American taxpayers about $13 million in cost for studies, promotion, and other efforts.

Then President Clinton gave Hillary authority over selecting a female attorney general. 

Her first two selections were Zoe Baird and Kimba Wood - both were forced to withdraw their names from consideration.

Next she chose Janet Reno - husband Bill described her selection as "my worst mistake."

Some may not remember that Reno made the decision to gas David Koresh and the Branch Davidian religious sect in Waco, Texas resulting in dozens of deaths of women and children.

Husband Bill allowed Hillary to make recommendations for the head of the Civil Rights Commission. 

Lani Guanier was her selection.  When a little probing led to the discovery of Ms. Guanier's radical views, 

her name had to be withdrawn from consideration.

Apparently a slow learner, husband Bill allowed Hillary to make some more recommendations. 

She chose former law partners Web Hubbel for the Justice Department, Vince Foster for the White House staff, and William Kennedy for the Treasury Department.

Her selections went well: Hubbel went to prison, Foster (presumably) committed suicide, and Kennedy was forced to resign.

Many younger votes will have no knowledge of "Travelgate." Hillary wanted to award unfettered travel contracts to Clinton friend Harry Thompson - and the White House Travel Office refused to comply. She managed to have them reported to the FBI and fired. This ruined their reputations, cost them their jobs, and caused a thirty-six month investigation. Only one employee, Billy Dale was charged with a crime, and that of the enormous crime of mixing personal and White House funds. A jury acquitted him of any crime in less than two hours.

Still not convinced of her ineptness, Hillary was allowed to recommend a close Clinton friend, Craig Livingstone, for the position of Director of White House security.  When Livingstone was investigated for the improper access of about 900 FBI files of Clinton enemies (Filegate) and the widespread use of drugs by White House staff,suddenly Hillary and the president denied even knowing Livingstone, and of course, denied knowledge of drug use in the White House.

Following this debacle, the FBI closed its White House Liaison Office after more than thirty years of service to seven presidents.

Next, when women started coming forward with allegations of sexual harassment and rape by Bill Clinton,

Hillary was put in charge of the "bimbo eruption" and scandal defense. Some of her more notable decisions in the debacle were: She urged her husband not to settle the Paula Jones lawsuit.

After the Starr investigation they settled with Ms. Jones.

She refused to release the Whitewater documents, which led to the appointment of Ken Starr as Special Prosecutor. After $80 million dollars of taxpayer money was spent, Starr's investigation led to Monica Lewinsky, which led to Bill lying about and later admitting his affairs.

Hillary's devious game plan resulted in Bill losing his license to practice law for 'lying under oath' 

Just remember folks, past behavior is the best predictor of FUTURE BEHAVIOR! 

332-206
332-206

@PappyHappy

Gee, that doesn't sound good.

Was that in his first, or second, term?

lvg
lvg

@PappyHappy Bubba made sure Loretta Lynch was not going to tarnish the Clinton image of honesty and integrity by discussing his grandkids and Janet Reno with her when he accidentally ran into her on the tarmac,. Good job Bubba.

TheMichaelT
TheMichaelT

@PappyHappy Yet we enjoyed the best economy in decades.  Poor #'s were reduced.  And then the thieving, lying Repugs ruined it all.

TheCentrist
TheCentrist

As Kyle says, this "poll" is from a new gadget and, this early, it has about as much merit as the Rasmussen poll that says Trump is leading HRC nationally.  The general observation is which ever way white women vote will determine the election in Georgia.


Those who are attempting to gauge minorities' intentions are just giving their opinion, and have very limited knowledge of the tone in that community one way or another.

DerekGator
DerekGator

Let's be real, blacks are not going to turn out for Hillary in the same numbers as they did for Obama.


Also, thinking that by November blacks have to realize that when Hillary makes 15 million illegals, legal, African Americans get hurt the worst.

Hedley_Lammar
Hedley_Lammar

@DerekGator Let's be real, blacks are not going to turn out for Hillary in the same numbers as they did for Obama.


A lot of them will and Hispanics will more than make up the gap. Trump is losing the woman vote badly.


Also, thinking that by November blacks have to realize that when Hillary makes 15 million illegals, legal, African Americans get hurt the worst.


How so ?

DerekGator
DerekGator

@Hedley_Lammar @DerekGator :  When the illegals are made legal, do you really think that they are going to continue to wash dishes under the table and pick produce?  No way, they are going to UPS, Coca Cola, GM, Ford, USPS, City of Atlanta and anywhere else that they have been shut out because of their legal status.  They will flood the unions with applications, be lined up for CDL's and every blue collar worker in America will end up making less.  African American men are more likely to be blue collar and get hurt the worst in this scenario.  Just as they have done to the home construction labor force, they will do to the rest of blue collar jobs.  The better speaking ones will take low level corporate admin jobs.  If you don't have really good skills, you will lose money when Hillary makes everyone legal. 

Lil_Barry_Bailout
Lil_Barry_Bailout

Yup. Most illegals are more "American" than many Democrats who are citizens.

Patreese
Patreese

@DerekGator I am not so sure about that. I don't want to generalize people but many black men I know work very hard.  Since they are hard working, I think in a fair world they should be able to complete with white men (only the ones that are working hard as well) and citizens who are working or hoping to become legal citizens (that work hard).  We need to start basing things on fairness.  If they out work people give it to the hardest working ones, not the ones who are schooled to take the smoothest route because they have people looking out for them.  All EVERYONE wants is an opportunity on level playing fields.  I don't care what color or sex or even sexual preference.  Our youth is the future and as an educator, trust me, they don't care or judge people nearly as much as we do as adults.  They play with people who don't look, talk, dress, or parents drive luxury cars.  Honestly, some adults care how their neighbor/ or people in their neighborhood look, talk, dress or what type of car (luxury) they drive. As a Christian, god is the only one who should judge.  I COME I PEACE...NO FLAMING.  And Derek if your guess is correct that Blacks get hurt the worst, then thats really sad because that means that some opportunities may not be available to them because of their race or culture.  Why not uneducated white men get hurt the worst because Hillary win.  Guys its 2016...look past race please!!!!

DerekGator
DerekGator

@Patreese @DerekGator :  You are saying it is ok to come here illegally and compete equally for the same job as someone who was born here.  You have summed up the Democratic immigration plan. 

DerekGator
DerekGator

@Patreese @DerekGator :  ALL blue collar workers get hurt, blacks just have a higher percentage of lower skill workers, thus the comment, they get hurt the worst.  

redneckbluedog
redneckbluedog

@Hedley_Lammar @DerekGator Mr. Trump is tied with Secretary Clinton in the white women's vote....

Governor Romney won the white women's vote by 14% in 2012..and still lost...


DerekGator
DerekGator

@Starik @DerekGator @Hedley_Lammar :  So in your world it is ok to come here illegally and take a job from an American if you work harder?  You sound just like Obama, who is going to pay the welfare for that displaced worker, while the new worker sends half his pay back to Mexico? 

DerekGator
DerekGator

@redneckbluedog @DerekGator @Patreese
:  Do you not realize that it is against the law to work in America if you are not here legally?  Do you understand Supply and Demand, when you flood the market with illegal supply of labor, the price of labor goes down.  Rednecks like you will be beating the best with lower wages if you want to continue to work. 

332-206
332-206

"...who is going to pay the welfare for that displaced worker..."

You endorse welfare for people who don't work?

My my...

stogiefogey
stogiefogey

That 7.8 percent "unknown" demographic is concerning.

Not to sound alarmist but can we really rule out an Invasion of the Body Snatchers-extraterrestrial scenario?

JeffreyEav
JeffreyEav

I know too many Republicans that will not vote for Trump and I'm pretty sure Kyle is one of them.

Kyle_Wingfield
Kyle_Wingfield moderator

@JeffreyEav Yes, but it will take >300,000 of us, if you assume we're not going to vote for Hillary either.

Kyle_Wingfield
Kyle_Wingfield moderator

@JeffreyEav OK, now subtract the #NeverHillary Bernie supporters, and add the number of people you guess will show up this year, who didn't vote in 2012.

JeffreyEav
JeffreyEav

Ok. It still seems likely. I buy your argument on NPR's method. If I'm wrong in November, I'll buy you a beer while we watch UGA win the national championship.

Kyle_Wingfield
Kyle_Wingfield moderator

@JeffreyEav (I guess you'd actually add the #NeverHillary folks. I got my vote totals mixed up.)

JeffreyEav
JeffreyEav

Me too. Unless it's Trump. Even he could mess that up. Cheers Kyle.

Hedley_Lammar
Hedley_Lammar

@JeffreyEav Trump would probably declare Notre Dame National Champ with and 8-4 record


The reason


To make them great again

JeffreyEav
JeffreyEav

That seems likely to me. You, my dad and some of my friends can't be the only remaining intelligent Republicans in this state.

Hedley_Lammar
Hedley_Lammar

@Kyle_Wingfield @JeffreyEav Could be that many out there. I know many who are disgusted with the Trump candidacy. 


And I think the Hispanic vote is going to be yuuuge this time around.

332-206
332-206

They have incentive, do they?

Kyle_Wingfield
Kyle_Wingfield moderator

@JeffreyEav If UGA wins the national championship, I will be temporarily unfazed by, and oblivious to, who the president-elect is.