Professor of Political Science at Stony Brook Helmut Norpoth, above, moments after announcing his forecast at the SUNY Global Center on Feb. 22nd, 2016. Norpoth's findings with the electoral cycle method show the Republican Party winning with a three point lead in the general election. CHRISTOPHER CAMERON/THE STATESMAN
Political science professor Helmut Norpoth, above, moments after announcing his presidential election forecast at the SUNY Global Center on Feb. 22. Norpoth’s findings with the electoral cycle method show the Republican Party having a 61 percent chance of winning the general election. CHRISTOPHER CAMERON/THE STATESMAN

A professor of political science at Stony Brook University has forecasted that Donald Trump has a minimum 97 percent chance of winning the general election as the Republican nominee.

Professor Helmut Norpoth’s forecast presentation took place Monday evening in the SUNY Global Center in Manhattan, which was organized by the Stony Brook Alumni Association.

Norpoth created a statistical model of presidential elections that uses a candidate’s performance in their party’s primary and patterns in the electoral cycle as predictors of the presidential vote in the general election.

Donald Trump has a 97 percent chance of defeating Hillary Clinton and a 99 percent chance of defeating Bernie Sanders in the general election, according to Norpoth’s formula.


“The bottom line is that the primary model, using also the cyclical movement, makes it almost certain that Donald Trump will be the next president,” Norpoth said, “if he’s a nominee of the [Republican] party.”

Norpoth’s primary model works for every presidential election since 1912, with the notable exception of the 1960 election. These results give the model an accuracy of 96.1 percent.

Norpoth began the presentation with an introduction of the potential matchups in the general election, including a hypothetical Sanders vs. Trump general election.

“When I started out with this kind of display a few months ago, I thought it was sort of a joke.” Norpoth said referring to Trump and Sanders, as many alumni in the audience laughed. “Well, I’ll tell you right now, it ain’t a joke anymore.”


As the presentation continued, laughter turned to silence as Norpoth forecasted a 61 percent chance of a Republican win in the general election.

This forecast was made using the electoral cycle model, which studies a pattern of voting in the presidential election that makes it less likely for an incumbent party to hold the presidency after two terms in office. The model does not assume who would be the party nominees or the conditions of the country at the time.

“You think ‘This is crazy. How can anything come up with something like that?’ ” Norpoth said “But that’s exactly the kind of equation I used to predict Bill Clinton winning in ‘96, that I used to predict that George Bush would win in 2004, and, as you remember four years ago, that Obama would win in 2012.”

Norpoth then added data from the New Hampshire and South Carolina primaries to narrow down the forecast to specific candidates. As he brought up the first slide with matchup results, the silence was broken by muttering from the audience.

“Trump beats Hillary 54.7 percent to 45.3 percent [of the popular vote]. This is almost too much to believe.” Norpoth said, with a few members of the audience laughing nervously. “The probability of that [outcome] is almost complete certainty, 97 percent. It’s almost ‘Take it to the bank.’ ”


The primary model predicts a Trump victory with such certainty due to Trump’s relatively high success in the Republican primaries, Norpoth said. Clinton, in comparison, is in an essential tie with Sanders in the Democratic primaries. As a result, Sanders would also lose to Trump in a similar landslide if Sanders were to be the Democratic nominee, Norpoth said.

In contrast, Norpoth forecasted that a hypothetical presidential race with Ted Cruz or Marco Rubio on the Republican ticket would be a much closer race. The results showed Clinton with a 55 percent chance of winning the race against Cruz or Rubio with a 0.3 percent lead in the popular vote.

Norpoth’s model showed Sanders losing against Rubio or Cruz with a 0.6 percent gap in the popular vote, giving a Rubio or Cruz ticket a 60 percent chance of winning against the Vermont senator.

Norpoth added that while the non-Trump Republican ticket would be much more unlikely to win the general election due to differences in the popular vote and the electoral college vote, there is almost no chance that Trump would lose the electoral college vote with his forecasted lead in the popular vote.

“If you win by 54 percent [of the popular vote], you have a big majority in the electoral college,” Norpoth said. “Nobody who has ever gotten 54 percent has lost.”



Christopher Cameron

Christopher is a sophomore journalism major from the twin-island nation of Antigua and Barbuda. While he first enrolled at Stony Brook as a Computer Engineering major, he switched to journalism with a concentration in Global Issues and Perspectives in his second year. He first joined the Multimedia section of The Statesman in the spring of 2015 and became an assistant editor soon after. After graduation he hopes to work as a foreign correspondent.



  1. Professor Helmut Norpoth actually got the Election wrong!

    He said TRUMP would win the popular vote! He shouldn’t play these silly games & just go by The Electoral College!! LOL

  2. his model also predicted that Trump would win the popular vote by almost 10%.

    Clinton won the popular vote.

    When there are only 2 possible outcomes – its easy to crow. But on the hard stuff – his model was way off.

  3. The result of the election doesn’t contradict anything I wrote. The article was self promotional fluff. I never said he was going to be wrong – but its still true that there was no independent validation of his model.

  4. I am now that an insane bigot who has no interest in public policy is now the president elect. Many millions of americans are scared while the rest of the world is still stunned.

    The brits are delighted because we can’t make fun of them for Brexit anymore.

  5. Looks like another Reagan type landslide in the making for the Donald! Democrats are switching to the Republican party by the thousands in Pennsylvania and Ohio. Even though the mainstream media is imposing a complete news blackout on the huge daily Wikileaks dumps, thanks to the internet, Americans are learning the truth about Hillary’s corrupt past, and how she says one thing in speeches to Wall Street bankers, about “covering their asses for 8 years”, while attacking them in public!

  6. And you know what they say about statistics – the last refuge of liars and braggarts.

  7. no, they don’t. Obama got us 78 months of private sector jobs growth, that’s historic record. Not even Clinton who got us 20 million private sector jobs managed that.
    Meanwhile, Dubya remains the ONLY president EVER to LOSE us private sector jobs, nearly HALF A MILLION.

  8. Didn’t Reuters say that more than half of Clintons visitors at the State Dept were also donor to the Clinton foundation ….. when they left out about 80% of her visitors at the State Dept ???

  9. I am in Ireland and I can tell you there is absolutely no leadership in the European Union, Germany, France or elsewhere except possibly in Britain. A Clinton lead USA will spread the European model right across the world and that will be a disaster for humanity.Only Trump can row back the damage already done

  10. The self serving PR article is the only source that tells us its correct . No independent review or verification. My brother in law wrote similar (but more sophiticated) models like this for a living in Europe for political organizations. I have a very good understanding of how the academic peer review model works – apparently you don’t.

  11. I love this! I want REAL CHANGE and Trump with his business acumen, we’re going to go forwards not backward economically speaking, specially in my heart for those families that are left behind in Obama’s disastrous diservice to this country. NO CLINTONS, enough is enough of them, they should have never been allowed to run for office AGAIN, that was madness.

  12. Polls only poll likely voters…those who vote on a regular basis…and excludes the millions of voters who registered to vote this year for the first time….and the polls have been caught giving the undecideds to Hillary.

  13. 538 is biased because it is based on completely biased purchased polls.
    The average media polling bias right now is 4.2%
    Average CNN Bias 7.1%
    Average Reuters Bias 10.5% ! !
    See long room dot com slash polls for statistical analysis

  14. I could live with a Democrat. But a LIAR – that has gotten away with the long list of things that Hillary has….. will nauseate me to the core. I hope the Republicans get their Sh#T together ….. I am deeply pissed at the turn of events. If trump loses in November it will be his own damn fault cause he didn’t stay on message. Hillary is a political disaster. If she gets elected – it means Americans no longer give a Sh#t about honesty, integrity, justice or even the future of this country.

  15. She has like 6 point spread right now and the election isn’t for 3 months. Calm down.

  16. If you really feel that way, then the pollsters have done their job well. I doubt that the American voter is as fickle as the polls like to make it appear. And the media that presents these poll results are also hoping that it has the affect of people being disheartened by what is being reported and they just stay home. Some time ago they stopped letting the news media project a winner before the polls were closed for that very reason. That’s why I pay little attention to the polls……they can change the mind, change your intention and perhaps the course of history.

  17. Keep on dreaming little dude. Hillary bots are going to be in for a rude awakening on election night. Expect the Hillary bots to come up with conspiracy theories on why Hillary lost in a landslide election. Oh btw I’m not a Trump supporter nice try though loser.

  18. Another Trumpanzee in for a rough landing! Reality will bite you hard. Rigged!!!

  19. Hillary is 10 points ahead of the Republicans’ Narcissistic Cheetos Jesus.

  20. Most of our stuff is highly concentrated and therefore subject to event risk. The “issue” is very low cost basis for that stuff which as you know are the townhouses, the apt. bldg. and our condo. Unless NYC real estate drops more than 25%, it wouldn’t be worth selling, at all. Do you think it’s worth it to take the tax bill hit and diversify the real property? Regardless, I’m glad I listened to my dad when I graduated. 15 years on these commercial notes has flown by. I really got lucky with child unit 1 (I’ll still need to pay for Med School and he also wants an MBA). Child unit 2 is going to be a little trickier but she was chosen this week as captain for senior cheer (isnt that exciting!!?) She told us she’s the first sophmore to be made captain for the senior squad! All those dance lessons appear to be paying off. If she can score 95% percentile or higher, I think we’ll see some good offers / packages. Definitely DOES NOT want to go away which makes the mom unit very, very happy! NYU gave out a ton of generous packages to local kids this year so hopefully that’ll stay the same. My understanding is they still don’t have enough dorms so they fill up the class with townies. Personally, I’d like to see her @ Columbia. Cheer will help tremendously on her app. and give them a reason to give her a good deal. I’ll keep you posted, homie…

  21. “Bunk list”

    That was easy. Deny it all you want. Let me know when you have counter-evidence to share.

  22. Here’s a list for you.

    Proto-Saharan (5000 – 3000 B.C.)
    Wadi El-Hol or ‘Proto-Sinaitic’ (2000 B.C. – 1400 B.C.)
    Nsibidi (5000 B.C. – present)
    Tifinagh or ‘Lybico-Berber’ or ‘Mande’ (c. 3000 B.C. – present)
    Ge’ez or ‘Ethiopic’ (800 B.C. – present)
    ‘Old Nubian’ (800 A.D. – 1500 A.D.)

  23. “There were zero written languages for sub Sahara Africa”

    Why won’t you share your source? Why do I find proof of dozens of written languages from that region when I do 5 minutes of research?

  24. There were zero written languages for sub Sahara Africa save for one small corner of modern day Ethiopia were they used Arabic.

    I don’t care what you claim, weirdo.

  25. So, no comment on how you were caught spreading fibs on the internet again? Where did you learn that there were no Sub-Sahara Africa written languages? Please share your source.

  26. I was wondering where my stalker went, I really was. Where were you? Did you blow your entire social security on drugs??

  27. Unfortunately, Hillary is ahead of Trump in the most recent polls. This so called ‘model” was taken several months ago. Things change rapidly during the election. I hate to admit it, but Hillary looks like she’s going to win the election

  28. “Did you know that Sub-Sahara Africa never developed a single formal or written language? ”

    Why didn’t you respond to the list of written Sub-Sahara Africa languages I sent you?

    Where is my $1 million bet?

    “You must not be a good person and you probably have a dark heart. ”

    All of your comments are full of hate. Are all rich geniuses like yourself this lacking in self-awareness and factual knowledge about the world?

  29. ROFL from the man who spends his time calling people names and showing his obsession with a mythical “crooked Hilary” I’ll take “unhinged” thank you 🙂 Its gentler than your usual fare it would appear.

  30. You’re a pretty unhinged guy.

    I promise I’ll never make fun of Nate Silver again. Sorry.

  31. ROFL – its public.

    So you try to trash fivethirtyeight as biased, but you get all upset when I take a look at your public profile and see your own bias write large ? Thats enough to make a dog laugh.

    Thank you for confirming my point, You have nothing intelligent to say about the original topic – a self serving puff piece about an unvalidated election forecasting model that depends entirely on the claims of its author,

    Nice job on the namecalling.

  32. “Just noticed”, huh? No, I’m afraid you’re just another nosy little psycho.

    I keep my profile public because I get a kick out weirdos like you poking around.

    I wouldn’t waste my time looking but just out of curiosity- is your Disqus profile set to private?

  33. lol. All you have done with your post is to make YOUR biases perfectly clear. I just noticed that the “news ” sites you follow are fringe right wing conspiracy sites like Breitbart. I can see now why you’re so emotionally invested in this broken model. And since most polling data clearly puts Clinton ahead in most of the battleground states, you have no use for that either.

  34. It’s good for you Hillary bots to have some hope before she gets defeat in a landslide election. This model has accurately predict the last 5 elections since it was introduce to the public in 1996.

  35. It’s good for you trumpettes to at least have some sliver of hope before he get blown out in a fairly exaggerated fashion. This model has a big problem in that, historically the candidates in question perform fairly consistently with various demographics, in relation to candidates from their same party. For example, the Republican candidate typically performs pretty consistently with Hispanic. Trump is the only candidate to be run through the model who does not – and who in fact underperforms drastically compared to former, fellow Republican candidates. If Trump were performing typically with these various demographic groups, he would have a very good chance to win. Unfortunately for him (and for you) due to his drastic underperforming with minorities (specifically hispanics), women, and many others, he is mathematically eliminated already. He cannot win. Also, this model fails to account for the share of the minority vote and how that share is distributed within states key to his victory. This further compounds his problems. For example, Nevada, Florida, and New Mexico are almost certainly “blue” this year due to the hispanic vote – that was never the case before.

    Now if you don’t really understand what I just explained, allow me to make it easy on you. Mitt Romney lost to Barack Obama in 2012. In order for Trump to win, he will need to outperform Mitt Romney with key core demographic groups. As it stands, he is WAY underperforming Romney’s numbers. How can trump win the presidency if he cannot even match Romney’s numbers, and is in fact way under Romney’s numbers with one of the most important groups (hispanics)? Trump is not going to win. He cannot win.

  36. Yes, because (((Nate Silver))) sure ain’t “hookin for business” (whatever the the hell that goofy shit means?).

    Yep, he’s a squared away guy with no biases. At all. He promises.

  37. Dummy, it takes 270 to win. Shows how little you know. Can it!! Trump wins the election. Deal with it.

  38. LOL Nate Sliver fail to predict the 2015 UK election. He also fail to predict who the Republican nominee was going to be.

  39. His claim of accuracy is also not validated by any external source. The entire article is self serving PR. His model ignores who the actual nominees are and any actual polling concerning them. And even then his “certainty” is a 61% prediction.

    Models far more comprehensive than his (and with a MUCH better independently VALIDATED track record) are predicting the reverse. See fivethirtyeight.

  40. The primary model has accurately predict the outcome of almost every election since 1912. Professor Norpoth use the model to predict the outcomes of the 96, 2004, 2008, and 2012 election.

  41. You’re assuming people in leaning blue states are still dumb enough to vote for Hillary Clinton.

  42. #neverhillary so u r wrong, SMH

    Got No Worries if Trump Elected… Democrat House Impeaches Trump & VP within the Year, Shortly After Democrat Senate Convicts Trump & VP for installing SoH Pelosi as PotUS.. you reap what you sow

    #NeverTrump is never for ever btw

  43. So Trump Beats Hillary? Democrat House Impeaches Trump & VP, then Democrat Senate Convicts Trump & VP so you win

  44. Lmao you don’t even know the difference between a synonym and an abbreviation

  45. No but I would if Hillzilla had her itchy fingers on the nuclear trigger, Goldwater girl that she was and is. She will start the big one if she gets it. Get it, old boy.

  46. You have nothing in common with the real Rexford Tugwell. All this water carrying for Hilllzilla. Tugwell was a strong backer of Henry Wallace.

  47. Yes you are. Now go back to kindergarten if you can meet their
    “strict requirements.”

  48. I know what an arse is. You are doing “rather well’ on defining the term, now.

  49. Bullshit! We voted to take out the Harperites like the Obamaites and Klantonites. You as usual don’t know what you’re talking about.

  50. Will Rogers said it best. “It’s not what you kmow. It’s what you know that just ain’t so.”

  51. Wrong I’m not using any of your stuffed polls. Go home to your mama.