How people elect parliaments
Across America – and around the world – there is the clattering sound of dice rolling today.
And the dice are loaded.
All forecasters agree that Hillary Clinton is much more likely than Donald Trump to be chosen as the next President of the United States by the Electoral College which meets on December 19. Americans vote today to choose the 538 members of that College.
Leading probabilist Nate Silver has upgraded his rating of Clinton’s chances from 65% some days ago to 71% today.
Poll aggregators put Clinton noticeably in the lead also, today by around 3% of public opinion nation-wide. They have not wavered from a pro-Clinton assessment of voter sentiment during the last three months of the long campaign.
The final predictions, poll aggregations and prediction trading prices from FiveThirtyEight.com, RealClearPolitics, and the Iowa Electronic Market
Americans have already been turning out in large numbers for their elections. In 37 of the 50 states early voting has been allowed, and over 47 million people have used the opportunity. In 2012 the final total vote in these 37 states was 90 million.
After an election characterised by the two least popular leading candidates in polling history, Americans may actually be about to surprise themselves with a record turnout.
All up 123 million Americans voted at the last presidential elections in 2012.
131 million people – the standing record – voted four years earlier when they first elected Barack Obama in 2008.
Most American media outlets follow a practice of releasing no election day polls until voting has ceased, to avoid discouraging late voters and those on the western coast from participating.
But turnout tracker VoteCastr is breaking that rule today. By measuring turnout in detail in near-real time in seven key states, this new service believes it will be predicting who is winning the presidency during the course of the day.
When the Electoral College meets in a month, there is a slight chance American voters’ intentions will not get followed. Two individuals – one in Georgia, another in Washington state – who were nominated for election to the College – and look likely to be elected to it – have indicated they may defy the instructions of their political parties regarding who to support to become president.
Americans will also today elect one-third of their national Senate, their whole national House of Representatives and eleven state governors, and well as fill thousands of other elected state and local offices.
In many states ballots will also be held to directly enact new laws. Voters in the state of Maine have one of the more interesting tasks – deciding whether to adopt preferential voting to give themselves more choice at their future elections.
Your correspondent is posting his own Electoral College prediction below, based on how I saw things standing about three days ago. I vary from the pollsters by calling the state of Arizona for Hillary Clinton. If the rise of turnout among Democrat-voting Hispanic Americans is on, it should be on there too; my bet is that polling there may have underestimated it.
No more sleeps.
So, do you think that the two members of the electoral college you refer to will actually decline to elect the president? Would that really happen?
One case was a Republican elector-nominee in Georgia whose position was ‘never-Trump’. The other was a Washington state Democratic nominee who similarly disapproved of Clinton and said he would vote for Bernie Sanders. If the election is very very close, each will be pressured to stay in line. I have also heard that the parties may be able to replace them as nominees because their public comments indicate they intend to break the relevant state laws binding them as to how to vote. Lets see if it matters or not.