WESTCHESTER COUNTY, N.Y. -- According to a veteran political junkie from Armonk, Chappaqua’s Hillary Clinton will become the first woman to be elected President of the United States on Tuesday,
Tom Gardner, who has been predicting results of national elections since 2008, says the Democrat is already virtually assured of 263 of the 271 electoral votes needed to win the election in the race against Republican Donald J. Trump. Gardner posted his latest update on his website, www.BornToRunTheNumbers.com, on Tuesday evening. He will post his final predictions on the Presidential race and all Senate, House of Representatives and Governor contests on Monday night, the night before Election Day.
“Strictly going by the numbers, Clinton still has the leading position in enough states to claim the prize pretty handily,’’ said Gardner. “She’s up by 5 or more points in 22 states, comprising 263 electoral votes. She could lose all of the current toss-up states and still easily win. Many people think you have to carry Florida and Ohio to win, and it’s just not true.”
Gardner feels several factors make it hard to see Trump pulling out an Election Day surprise.
“Apart from the numeric advantage in the polls, Clinton has a lot more money and a much stronger ground game than Trump,’’ Gardner said. “The people who do the probabilities tend to underweight the importance of money and organization.
"They are huge factors. For example, Clinton has 32 offices in Arizona, while Trump doesn’t have any, and that’s a dead heat race in the polls. She has an army of experienced professionals getting out the vote, and this should be a plus versus the polls.”
Gardner also believes the decision last week by FBI Director James Comey to look into a new set of emails from the laptop of Anthony Wiener, the estranged husband of Clinton aide Huma Abedin, is not hurting the Democratic nominee considerably.
"The numbers indicate it has had an adverse impact of only 1-2 points on Clinton’s national margin, and that’s not enough to change the outcome,” says Gardner, noting Clinton is still ahead by about 4 points. Plus he notes that more than 20 million Americans had already voted before the Comey letter was released.
Gardner said he will be dialed into results from two states in particular on election night.
“North Carolina and Colorado are good states to keep an eye on to push over the 270 mark and the ones that look most promising to her apart from the 22 that are already solidly for her," Gardner said. “Florida, Ohio, Iowa, Arizona and Nevada are states that could go either way, all within zero to one point margins, and those are the ones we’ll be up all night waiting for. But Clinton does not need any of them if she gets North Carolina or Colorado.”
Gardner, who makes his political forecasts as a hobby, has forecast over 1,500 races, and has accurately predicted 96.1 percent of the outcomes.
“It has been a lifelong hobby, with varying degrees of formality’’ Gardner said. “I started out sending an email out to small group of friends and family predicting the results of the Presidential and Senate races. In the later years I added the races for the House and Governors, and then turned the whole thing into a blog.”
Forecasting election results comes naturally for Gardner, who said “spread sheets were made for me. I’ve always been a big baseball data guy. Actually, I should’ve been Nate Silver, who made his name in baseball and then turned to politics!”
He remembers watching his first Presidential election results in 1964 and getting excited as a 10-year-old boy about the 1968 race between Richard Nixon and Hubert Humphrey. “It became like watching the World Series for me,’’ he said.
Of all the elections Gardner has followed, none have had the animosity and negative discourse that have transpired since the mid-summer conventions.
“It has reached an extraordinary lack of civility,’’ Gardner said. “You look back to four years ago when (Mitt) Romney and (Barack) Obama ran, and we could probably nominate them for sainthood, even though we probably thought it was a pretty nasty race at the time. The surprising thing is that Trump has gotten away with saying dozens, if not hundreds, of things that would be campaign-ending gaffes for any other candidate.”
In the end, however, Gardner feels the country is on the precipice of a historic decision.
“Everything about this race is completely different,’’ he said. “We’re going to elect the first woman president, which should be the lead item. But in this election, it’s a secondary story.”
For his latest “snapshot” on how all of the elections are shaping up with just one week to go, click here to visit Gardner’s www.Borntorunthenumbers.com website.
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