Sabato’s Crystal Ball is a weekly online political newsletter and website that analyzes American politics. In the new column, written by Sabato, Kyle Kondik, and Geoffrey Skelley, the authors acknowledge that while it’s an “extra-early, ridiculously premature projection” that could change after the conventions and a possible third-party candidacy. However at the moment, the electoral map doesn’t look very competitive for the GOP going into November.
Nearly a year ago, Sabato put Florida into the “toss-up” column, but no longer.
Now the Sunshine State is being put into the same bucket of other swing states like Virginia, Ohio, New Hampshire, Nevada, Iowa and Colorado. The Sabado Crystal Ball has now moved all seven states from “toss-up” last May, to now “leaning Democratic.”
“While some will fall to the Democrats less readily than others, it is difficult to see any that Trump is likely to grab,” the authors write, adding that four normally Republican states (Arizona, Georgia, Indiana, and Missouri) “would be somewhat less secure for the GOP than usual.”
But what about the possibility of Trump expanding the electoral map, as some pundits have speculated could happen with his stances on trade and other issues that could bring along disaffected white workers?
“The problem is, there is little evidence that the non-college voters supporting Trump in the primaries are defectors from the Democrats; most have been backing GOP candidates fairly consistently, so the net addition for Trump could be small,” the authors write. “Nor do we buy the theory that increased Republican primary turnout this year means Trump is going to bring out millions more white and primarily male voters that weren’t excited by John McCain in 2008 and Mitt Romney in 2012. Maybe there will be higher white male voter participation, but there will probably be augmented, heavily Democratic minority turnout to balance it.”
Although a Clinton-Trump matchup could be an electoral embarrassment for the GOP, Sabato says that because of the political polarization in the country, this would not be an overwhelming victory for the Democrats with the popular vote, as were the blowouts in 1964 and 1972. He sees Clinton taking less than 55% of the two-party vote.
The Crystal Ball believes that Ted Cruz would definitely be an electoral improvement for the Republicans, but he would not have enough to secure victory over Clinton. He writes that the “irony” is that Clinton was always an eminently beatable candidate, but more mainstream candidates like John Kasich and Marco Rubio simply haven’t inspired Republican voters.