Electoral College Forecasting Project

| June 22, 2015
  1. In this paper you will draw on two important and often overlooked features of presidential elections in the US to predict the outcome of the 2016 presidential election. The first feature is that we do not elect the president in a national election. Rather, the outcome is decided by the aggregate results of 50 separate state elections (plus the District of Columbia). Secondly, over time, most people display remarkably stable partisan voting habits. A large number of people already know which party’s candidate they will be voting for – well before they even know who the candidate is. This means that states themselves display relatively consistent partisan preferences. You will use these two facts to predict the winning party of the Electoral College vote in 2016.

    To start, please DOWNLOAD the “Electoral College Excel Worksheet” on the course website. Next, see what analysts are saying about who will win in which states. In some cases there will be little question (e.g., Democrats will certainly win California; Republicans will definitely win in Texas). In some few states (8-10)

    there will be some question. Here you will have to do a little more work to come to your determination. 7


Once you have decided which party you think will win in a particular state, enter a “1” (without quotation marks) in that party’s column for that state in the Excel worksheet. You will see the Electoral College Vote total at the top of the sheet (Row 2) change accordingly. Predict each state in this manner (to be clear, you must make a prediction for every state. Print this worksheet when you are finished.

Following this, present your analysis. You may structure your discussion in any way you see fit, but there should be no more than 1-2 paragraphs on solid Republican states and 1-2 paragraphs on solid Democrat states. The bulk of the paper should focus on the 8-10 states that are in the balance. You should also make a point to definitively “call” the election for one party or the other. Like the previous paper, I’m not looking for a “correct” answer here – only that you have backed up your prediction with your analysis.

Please see and follow the section in the syllabus, above, on “Formatting of Written Work” and “Sources, Citations & Quotations.”

About sources: I understand this will be an Internet research paper. But please remember that ALL information, facts, opinion, and so forth MUST be properly cited. In addition, you must include a list of sources (bibliography) that contains all of the sources cited in the paper AND all of the sources you used to fill out your Excel worksheet – even if they are not cited in the paper.

Please remember: Without proper citation a research paper is plagiarized. If this is the case my only option will be to assign a grade of “0.”

This paper should be a minimum of six (6) full pages in length, NOT including the Excel spreadsheet, sources and title page. To be clear, do not expect a good grade if you do not have 6 SOLID (not “fluff”) pages of material.

You should STAPLE your paper together, in the following order:

  1. Title page
  2. Paper (analysis)
  3. Source list
  4. Printed Excel worksheet


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