Like most people who made predictions of last night’s results, I totally missed the presidential outcome. Bigly.

I completely agree with Chris Cillizza’s tweet, and think that it might even be partially therapeutic for me to go over some of the key calls I made for last night, and to look back on how I got them so badly wrong.


Predicted Final Count: Clinton, 322; Trump, 210; McMullin 6

Actual Final Count: Trump, 306; Clinton, 232

Where I got it wrong:

This was the worst showing for a Democrat in the Electoral College since 1988. So what did I miss?

Pennsylvania: Trump was able to rack up margins while also flipping counties that Obama won fairly easily in 2012. Turnout in Philadelphia was also far lower than it was 4 years ago, and that was enough to do Clinton in.

North Carolina: even though Wake County (home to Raleigh) actually went to Clinton by a larger margin than it did for Obama, Trump’s margins in rural areas around the state made up for it just enough.

Florida: despite massive early voting numbers in a few key Democratic counties, Trump was able to turn out massive amounts of votes in places like the Panhandle.

Michigan: I did concede that people like Frank Luntz were predicting a nail-biter in Michigan, but I just hadn’t seen it coming. Turnout was massively down in places like Detroit where Clinton needed to win big.

Utah: I underestimated the strength of partisanship here, but the fact that Evan McMullin was still able to pull a sizable portion of the vote as a third party candidate is an impressive feat by his campaign.

Where I got it right:

Maine: this is the first election cycle where Maine has ever split its electoral vote, so all of the campaigning that Trump did to win one electoral vote paid off.

Iowa: if anything, I under-predicted the strength of a Trump win here. He won all but three counties that have some of the biggest colleges in them, far surpassing the relatively modest 2.5% lead I had given him.

Nevada: it took a while for this to be called, but it was fairly clear from early voting results that there was no path to a Trump win here (although people had said the same thing about Florida).


Predicted Final Count: Republican, 51; Democratic, 49

Actual Final Count: Republican, 52; Democratic, 48

Where I got it wrong:

Pennsylvania: another wow. Pat Toomey was not expected to win that race at all.

New Hampshire: I was bullish for the wrong Republican. Sadly Kelly Ayotte conceded the race today.

Wisconsin: wow. Republican Ron Johnson won with the Senate upset of the night, doing the impossible and beating Russ Feingold, who had probably been measuring the drapes of the office for months.

Where I got it right:

My Senate count was actually fairly solid. Marco Rubio, Rob Portman, Richard Burr, Tammy Duckworth (sadly), Chuck Grassley, Roy Blunt, Catherine Cortes Masto, John McCain, and Michael Bennet were all relatively easy to call. Todd Young was easy to call conceptually, but the fact that it had been so close for a while made it difficult to call for him at first. However, he ultimately won fairly easily.


Predicted Final Count: Republican, 34; Democratic, 15; Independent, 1

Actual Final Count: Republican, 33; Democratic, 16; Independent, 1

Where I got it right:

Governor’s races had actually fallen off the ma for most of this election cycle. That was why I felt fairly confident calling new Hampshire’s race for Chris Sununu. With all of the attention that the presidential and Senate race that New Hampshire was seeing, it was clear that this election wasn’t getting that much attention. As the presidential race showed, having higher name recognition can be incredibly helpful, and the Sununu last name is key in New Hampshire. Sununu was the only Republican who had a good night in New Hampshire; Ayotte lost, and Democrats now control both House seats.

Vermont also snuck up on a lot of people. Phil Scott ran an incredible campaign, winning a state that Democrats were winning at blowout levels for every other race on the state level.
North Carolina has not been called yet, although it looks like Pat McCrory is going to lose in a recount. McCrory was actually a GOP bright spot in 2012, but he now might be the only Republican to lose statewide in North Carolina.

Indiana came as a surprise to some who thought that Democrats would pick up Mike Pence’s seat, but with Trump and Young carrying the seat, Eric Holcomb was able to win fairly comfortably.

Where I got it wrong:

West Virginia: Jim Justice was able to swim against the tides and hold the Governor’s Mansion for Democrats in the same way that Phil Scott was able to do so for Republicans in Vermont. A very impressible campaign on Justice’s part.


Predicted Count: Republican, 241; Democratic, 194

Actual Final Count: Republican, 241; Democratic, 194

Although some of my predictions themselves were wrong (I sadly thought Bob Dold would win and he did not, and that John Mica would also hold on and that Rick Nolan would lose, for three examples of where my specific predictions were wrong), I managed to get the final count spot on. My reasoning was that we have seen very little anti-incumbent sentiment, so even incumbents who were potentially at risk would probably be safe in the end. For the most part, I was right, and very few incumbents lost their seats.

All in all, what a night.