Much of the criticism aimed toward presidential candidate Donald Trump by other Republicans has been predicated on the assumption that he will lose in the general election. Trump’s many provocative statements, which would be considered gaffes if uttered by any other candidate but have somehow worked for him, are generally assumed to preclude him from securing the broad support necessary to claim victory in November.
However, one method of analysis known as the Primary Model predicts that Trump would not only win in the general if nominated by Republicans, but completely dominate. From the Huffington Post:
Trump will defeat Hillary Clinton with 87 percent certainty, and Bernie Sanders with 99 percent.
These forecasts come from the PRIMARY MODEL. It is a statistical model that relies on presidential primaries and an election cycle as predictors of the vote in the general election.
Early primaries are a leading indicator of electoral victory in November. Trump won the Republican primaries in both New Hampshire and the South Carolina while Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders split the Democratic primaries in those states.
What favors the GOP in 2016 as well, no matter if Trump is the nominee or any other Republican, is a cycle of presidential elections. After two terms of Democrat Barack Obama in the White House the electoral pendulum is poised to swing to the GOP this year. This cycle, which is illustrated with elections since 1960, goes back a long way to 1828.
Basically, the Primary Model looks at how well candidates perform in their respective party primaries and extrapolates from there how they will do in the general. According to Helmut Norpoth, a professor of political science at Stony Brook University and the author of the HuffPo piece, the model accurately predicts the winner every presidential election since 1912 with only one exception. Incidentally, the model also shows both Cruz and Rubio losing if nominated.
The question is whether Trump could be the next blemish on the Primary Model’s record. Not all things are equal in this election cycle. Trump’s candidacy has defied conventional political science in more ways than one. Can statistical analysis account for the impact of Democrats beating Trump over the head with David Duke ads all summer?