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.”


  • Trace Farley

    So, uh, It looks like it worked out pretty good.

  • KWM39


  • Mike Spleen


  • Mike Spleen

    hmm don’t know yet

  • A A

    You sound scared

  • RuFus92

    I just hope that on Nov. 9th the headline reads Trump Triumphant ! ! ! ! !

  • Pete

    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!

  • Kevin Perez

    So, uh, how’s that prediction thing working out for you?

  • Gallen Dugall

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

  • JeNaaitUtSteeds

    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.

  • JeNaaitUtSteeds

    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 ???

  • centefire

    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

  • Niall Blehein

    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.

  • nb

    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.

  • momthree789 .

    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.

  • softunderbelly

    Is the statistical model correct all the way back to 1912? If so, you lose.

  • Silver is done, after Trump wins his Liberal fan base will reject him.

  • Silver is a Liberal with a site designed to calm Liberals plain and simple.

  • 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

  • Scott Allen

    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.

  • Sand Dick

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

  • Janice Carpenter Anaya

    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.

  • Spartacus Gruen


  • Spartacus Gruen

    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.


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