Live Blogging the Presidential Election

We’ll be up at about 7 p.m. for tonight’s live blogging from the Karl Rove Crossroads Cafe – join in!

Matthew Dickinson November 9, 20162:07 am

And that caps off a surreal night – it is Clinton, and not Trump, who refuses to come out to concede. Instead, she sends out John Podesta. Good night all!

Matthew Dickinson November 9, 20161:53 am

Believe it or not, I have to teach at 8:40 a.m. tomorrow, so I’m calling it a night. I’m assuming that when I wake up tomorrow I’ll be facing a government controlled by Republicans – including the Presidency!

Matthew Dickinson November 9, 20161:51 am

Biggest lesson from tonight’s result: Don’t assume you understand a phenomenon until you actually study it. Too many of us assumed we knew what motivated Trump supporters without bothering to talk to them.

Matthew Dickinson November 9, 20161:45 am

One of the early narratives tonight that was making the rounds of twitter was how Latinos would enact their revenge on Trump tonight. Didn’t happen.

Matthew Dickinson November 9, 20161:43 am

And it looks like Pennsylvania is going for Trump. That will almost do it for him if it’s called for him.

Matthew Dickinson November 9, 20161:38 am

Finally, this really casts some doubt on Obama’s legacy, particularly if the Republicans are successful in repealing Obamacare. He basically presided over the complete meltdown of the Democratic Party, with little policy left to show for it.

Matthew Dickinson November 9, 20161:35 am

A couple other takeaways from tonight. Trump’s strong showing flies in the face of what many people thought about how campaigns matter. Clinton outspent him on television ads, out organized him in terms of campaign offices, and yet he matched her vote for vote.

Matthew Dickinson November 9, 20161:33 am

Second explanation is that Trump supporters didn’t want to talk to pollsters. Could be a combination of both.

Matthew Dickinson November 9, 20161:32 am

Two explanations for why polls missed this. The first is that the likely voter screens dropped a lot of Trump supporters from their sample because they hadn’t voted in 2012.

Matthew Dickinson November 9, 20161:28 am

Big winner tonight: the political science forecast models which, in the aggregate, said this race would be a dead heat.

Matthew Dickinson November 9, 20161:22 am

My students have heard me rail against the so-called Electoral College “blue wall” for months now – it was more like a sand-castle wall that was never going to survive a strong Republican wave.

Matthew Dickinson November 9, 20161:18 am

Australian television just emails me:

“I know I’m getting in touch late so apologies – no forecast would have predicted a race this close so our preparations were not quite ready!” Want me to go on Australian television at 6:30 this morning. Ugh.

Matthew Dickinson November 9, 20161:16 am

Note that we often talk about how the clustering of Democratic votes in blue states cost them votes and House seats. But we haven’t really talked about how that can affect the presidential vote too. Clinton could squeak out a popular vote victory here even if she loses the Electoral College.

Matthew Dickinson November 9, 20161:12 am

Paul Begala is now carrying on about how this election reveals just how polarized the nation is – again, he’s confusing polarized choices with a polarized public. There’s no evidence that the country is polarized – only that its choices are.

Matthew Dickinson November 9, 20161:07 am

Van Jones is unraveling before me on television – ranting about how the Russians intervention in the election is setting a precedent. It’s clear he still doesn’t understand the depth of Trump’s supporters’ belief that the economic and political elites did not speak for them.

Matthew Dickinson November 9, 20161:05 am

But it’s clear the Republicans will control Congress for two more years. Harry Reid’s decision to lower the threshold for confirming judicial nominees is going to come back to bite Senate Democrats in their lower extremities.

Matthew Dickinson November 9, 20161:03 am

CNN talking heads are acting like Trump has won this election. It’s not over yet by any means.

Matthew Dickinson November 9, 201612:50 am

Pretty clear. listening to Paul Begala, Van Jones, others, that liberal elites still don’t realize the depth to which working class stiffs felt completely unrepresented by the political and economic elite.

Matthew Dickinson November 9, 201612:49 am

Alright, I made it home, navigating through one car accident (didn’t involve me, thankfully).

Matthew Dickinson November 9, 201612:06 am

They are shutting us down here. Give me 20 minutes and I’ll start up when I get home, with a good glass of scotch.

Matthew Dickinson November 8, 201611:48 pm

So, a couple of issues we will have to address. First, why did polls seem to underestimate Trump’s support? Is it possible there were Trump supporters who wouldn’t answer the polls?

Matthew Dickinson November 8, 201611:46 pm

It looked for a moment like Clinton was closing in Michigan and New Hampshire, but now he’s increased his lead again.

Matthew Dickinson November 8, 201611:39 pm

Now almost everything comes into play. Remember, one elector in Washington state has promised he will vote for Trump. That could actually tip the election to him!

Matthew Dickinson November 8, 201611:38 pm

Florida is officially called for Trump, but we called it for him long ago.

Matthew Dickinson November 8, 201611:35 pm

So Fox has called Wisconsin for Trump. This really makes it difficult for her – but still not impossible. Iowa is coming into play.

Matthew Dickinson November 8, 201611:30 pm

Lots of people dismissed Trump’s supporters as an angry mob of racist xenophobes. Made it easy to believe he couldn’t win.

Matthew Dickinson November 8, 201611:29 pm

One of the key takeaways tonight – not to confuse Trump with his followers. Second takeaway: listen to what they say is motivating them, rather than imputing motives to them based on standard survey questions open to interpretation.

Matthew Dickinson November 8, 201611:27 pm

Looks like Evan Bayh lost his Senate bid as well. Democrats going down in flames tonight, except for Tammy Duckworth. Still waiting on Ayotte-Hassan outcome, and Blunt in Missouri.

Matthew Dickinson November 8, 201611:23 pm

Phil Scott has won the Vermont Governor’s race. We thought it would be close, but I suspected he was in good shape when Barack Obama cut an ad for Sue Minter and didn’t appear to know how to say her name.

Matthew Dickinson November 8, 201611:21 pm

One good outcome tonight – my students gave me a free case of beer.

Matthew Dickinson November 8, 201611:20 pm

Trying to wargame this out – really looks like we are on the knife edge here in terms of the Electoral College, but it looks like Maine’s second congressional district may come into play here. Remember, Maine and Nebraska allocated their Electoral College votes by congressional district – not by the statewide vote.

Matthew Dickinson November 8, 201611:12 pm

So, if you had to write the story of how Trump would win this race, it would be to win the rust belt states populated by lots of middle and lower-income whites who have been seeing jobs exported overseas and wages stagnant. And that’s exactly what’s he’s doing.

Matthew Dickinson November 8, 201611:10 pm

So, North Carolina has been called for Trump – we had called that for him earlier tonight, so not a surprise, but it really narrows Clinton’s path to victory. If he wins Michigan – which is a very real possibility, she would have to sweep Nevada, Wisconsin and New Hampshire to eke out a 270-268 win. It’s going to be a nail-biter folks.

Matthew Dickinson November 8, 201611:05 pm

I’ll also be on WCAX (Channel 3) tomorrow at 5:30 or so to explain what we are watching tonight.

Matthew Dickinson November 8, 201611:04 pm

Meanwhile Detroit Free Press is trying to explain how they projected Clinton to be the winner in Michigan. But, frankly, a lot of us have a lot of splaining to do, beginning with me tomorrow in my professor pundits segment with Bert.

Matthew Dickinson November 8, 201611:00 pm

Several students are in tears here.

Matthew Dickinson November 8, 201610:59 pm

So Fox has just called the Wisconsin Senate race for the incumbent Ron Johnson over Russ Feingold. That’s a dagger in the heart of the chances for the Democrats to take the Senate, and to stack the Supreme Court with two new justices.

Matthew Dickinson November 8, 201610:54 pm

So CNN is reporting what we’ve said earlier here – in NH, Nashua and Portsmouth areas, which are traditionally blue, haven’t reported yet. She’s still alive there.

Matthew Dickinson November 8, 201610:51 pm

So, a student came up to me and said she hadn’t realized the depth of the hate and fear among voters. I told her this is the problem – too many people on the Left underestimated Trump’s support by marginalizing it, when in fact – as I’ve said repeatedly – if you attend his rallies and talk to his supporters, it’s pretty clear that hate and fear is not the primary motivation for them. They are, for the most part, incredibly knowledgeable people who feel the system does not speak to their needs.

Matthew Dickinson November 8, 201610:43 pm

So we are working through the outstanding vote in North Carolina. Trump is up by 3%, with 80% in, but there’s a lot of missing votes in some blue areas around Mecklenburg. Our back of the envelope calculations suggests she could still draw even in North Carolina.

Matthew Dickinson November 8, 201610:43 pm

So we are working through the outstanding vote in North Carolina. Trump is up by 3%, with 80% in, but there’s a lot of missing votes in some blue areas around Mecklenburg. Our back of the envelope calculations suggests she could still draw even in North Carolina.

Matthew Dickinson November 8, 201610:40 pm

So the students here are grasping for straws. Even though we called Virginia for Clinton 30 minutes ago, when CNN gave the formal call for her, the place exploded. At this point, whatever makes them happy.

Matthew Dickinson November 8, 201610:32 pm

Burr has won his Senate race in North Carolina. This is going to make it almost impossible for the Democrats to take the Senate. A bad night all around for them.

Matthew Dickinson November 8, 201610:25 pm

So, Tina Berger is telling me that the county around Kansas City, which normally goes blue, went for Trump this cycle. We are beginning to whisper here at the table about a Trump landslide.

Matthew Dickinson November 8, 201610:23 pm

My twitter feed is melting down.

Matthew Dickinson November 8, 201610:22 pm

So, at this point – and we just told a stunned audience – Trump is poised to become the next president if he wins 2 out of these 3 states: NC, Pennsylvania, and Michigan.

Matthew Dickinson November 8, 201610:16 pm

So, in New Hampshire we think Clinton is underperforming a bit in the southern tier counties, although only 41% is in. However, we haven’t mentioned that Johnson is drawing about 4.3% in New Hampshire, and Jill Stein is at .8 percent – a combined 5% of the vote. And I’m pretty sure most of that is coming out of Clinton’s totals.

Matthew Dickinson November 8, 201610:07 pm

So, just as I reassured the crowd that this could still easily swing Clinton’s way, Trump is pulling ahead of her in North Carolina by 3%, with about 66% in. She is nderperforming in the North Carolina suburbs compared to Obama in 2012 – and Obama lost NC then. This doesn’t look good for her. Remember, Trump had to win North Carolina to pull this out, so he’s really only holding serve. But it’s an important serve.

Matthew Dickinson November 8, 201610:00 pm

So, Fox is calling Virginia for Clinton – about 10 minutes after we called Virginia for Clinton here. It’s close, but the outstanding vote in Prince George should put her over the top. She just dodged a big bullet.

Matthew Dickinson November 8, 20169:57 pm

This is a reminder as well that Clinton struggled against Sanders in some of these rust belt states that were hit hard by trade. Evidently, Trump’s message resonated with them just as Sanders’ did.

Matthew Dickinson November 8, 20169:52 pm

So, in Michigan we are still waiting for votes from the Flint area, which is a strong Democratic voting population. Long way to go in Michigan, but I guess those reports released by the Trump people that the race has tightened were true.

Matthew Dickinson November 8, 20169:48 pm

So, a general panic is setting in here. Big worry if you are a Clinton supporter is Michigan. Part of the bigger picture is that she may run up the popular vote in deep blue states, but he’s threading the needle in terms of the Electoral College.

Matthew Dickinson November 8, 20169:43 pm

We shouldn’t be too negative about Clinton’s chances here – in New Hampshire, which Trump needs to win, she’s running neck-and-neck with him and there’s a lot of outstanding votes on the southern tier town of Dover, Portsmouth and Nashua – all of which she should do well in.

Matthew Dickinson November 8, 20169:40 pm

A student just came up to me and asked me what I thought had happened. My answer is simple: Trump has struck a chord with a significant segment of voters who did not come out for Romney, and who feel generally less represented by the political elites. You can’t really get a feel for this by watching cable television clips of his rallies – you have to be there to understand his appeal.

Matthew Dickinson November 8, 20169:37 pm

Students are now crying here based on the news that Trump is likely to win Florida (that’s our best estimate at this point). Not what they expected tonight.

Matthew Dickinson November 8, 20169:30 pm

Lots of rural vote still out in Michigan, where Trump is ahead, but also lots of outstanding votes in the Flint area that went heavily for Obama in 2012. So certainly can’t give Michigan to either candidate at this point.

Matthew Dickinson November 8, 20169:27 pm

After I just reported that the local Michigan paper Detroit Free Press was predicting Clinton would win Michigan, Bert is pointing out to me that the Times Upshot prediction still is giving Trump a real shot.

Matthew Dickinson November 8, 20169:24 pm

Local papers are indicating the Clinton will win Michigan, although this hasn’t been projected as yet by any of the cable stations. But if she wins it, it’s not a surprise, but it closes off one long-shot path to victory for him.

Matthew Dickinson November 8, 20169:22 pm

So, if Clinton loses Virginia, she’s going to lose the election. She’s down by about 2%, but she’s still got a lot of votes expected in Fairfax county and Prince George county. I wouldn’t panic yet!

Matthew Dickinson November 8, 20169:13 pm

Crowd here is really growing quiet as it dawns that this race, so far, is closer than they anticipated.

Matthew Dickinson November 8, 20169:13 pm

Just read out my students report of attending a Trump rally – he’s a strong Democrat, but was impressed not just by the size of the Trump rally, but also the knowledge of the Trump supporters.

Matthew Dickinson November 8, 20169:08 pm

In Ohio, she seems to be outperforming Obama’s showing in 2012, but she still trailing Trump with about 50% of the vote in.

Matthew Dickinson November 8, 20169:07 pm

So the night is not going quite as well for Hillary Clinton. She’s struggling in Florida, though by no means out of it. But Virginia has to be a worry for her.

Matthew Dickinson November 8, 20168:49 pm

And NBC is projecting that the Republicans will retain control of the House with about 12 seats still in play. This is not a surprise, but it does mean we are likely to have divided government for the next two years.

Matthew Dickinson November 8, 20168:46 pm

So, my best guess is that Clinton still has room to grow in Florida – Broward county is only reporting early voting. I’m guessing she can net another 100,000 votes there – she’s down to Trump by about 80,000 now. So even though he leads Florida, she’s definitely still in the hunt there.

Matthew Dickinson November 8, 20168:34 pm

Bert Johnson giving the crowd the bad news regarding Sue Minter, the Vermont gubernatorial candidate who apparently has lost her hometown of Waterbury. It’s not looking good for Sue right now.

Matthew Dickinson November 8, 20168:32 pm

So we are trying to parse out the early voting vs. same day voting in Florida. It looks like there’s still a lot of outstanding votes in Broward County, which went heavily Democratic in 2012. Remember, Florida is probably the most important state to vote tonight. Trump has to win it if he has any chance to fulfill his longshot.

Matthew Dickinson November 8, 20168:22 pm

As I noted in my previous post, House elections are being increasingly nationalized, with the vote in any single district increasingly influenced by how well the party does nationally. In this sense, the fate of the Republican majority depends in part on how well Trump does tonight.

Matthew Dickinson November 8, 20168:14 pm

Aannnnd CBC Radio in Canada has just cancelled my radio gig. Take that, Trump supporters!

Matthew Dickinson November 8, 20168:10 pm

More from my student:
“Trump has engaged a previously disinterested segment of
the population. The gentleman next to me may never have involved himself in the
political process before and may now stick around.

Everything was spectacle. It took place in an
airplane hanger with the background of the stage being the runways of the MSP
airport. People were following the Trump plane on the “Follow Trump’s Plane”
app or whatever it is called… When the first plane landed, it was a standard
size plane with Trump Pence on it… After 15 minutes of waiting for the plane to
taxi closer or for Trump to get out, a second, MUCH BIGGER, plane that had
gigantic TRUMP on it taxied right behind the stage… He made us wait 15 minutes
more, saliva dripping off of the frothing mouths of the crowd, before he
finally departed the plane and walked up onto the stage… From there, you can
fill in the rest with the standard Trump rally stuff… Trump supporters are not
all the caricatures of TV as you point out. Many talked rationally with about
the issues as we waited in line for one or two hours.”

Matthew Dickinson November 8, 20168:08 pm

Meanwhile, one of my former students attended a Trump rally in Minnesota yesterday, and he filed a report with me. I’ll be excerpting it throughout the night.

“My big takeaway was the energy in the room… His speech
was like any other clip that I could find online, but seeing it live was
incredible… the sounds of people cheering and crying as he walked on stage was
like being at a rock concert. He IS A STAR.

In fact, as the man in overalls next to me (not to
feed into the caricature) said, “I aint never been to a political rally, this
is pretty dang fun.”

Matthew Dickinson November 8, 20168:05 pm

I’m scheduled to be on Canadian radio tomorrow morning – but only if I can find a student who will vouch to be a Trump supporter who can get interviewed with me. I just asked for one Trump supporter to come through – but not one student stepped forward. The election here at Middlebury is rigged!

Matthew Dickinson November 8, 20168:02 pm

Lots of states just called for both Clinton and Trump tonight – no surprises in any of them, but the Clinton victories elicited huge cheers tonight.

Matthew Dickinson November 8, 20168:01 pm

If you were at my politics lunch today, I discussed some of the forecast models. The most accurate the last two elections cycles was Drew Linzer. Linzer is giving Clinton about a 91% chance of winning with 323 electoral votes. Put another way, Donald Trump is a very long shot tonight.

Matthew Dickinson November 8, 20167:56 pm

By the way, we are watching CNN. Clinton – and it’s early – has a slight lead in both North Carolina and Florida. If either is called for her, the election is essentially over.

Matthew Dickinson November 8, 20167:55 pm

Conversely, early voting in those states among African-Americans is down from 2012 by totals ranging from 2-5%.

Matthew Dickinson November 8, 20167:53 pm

So, there’s been about 40% early vote. If we look at early voting in swing states by racial groups, there’s some tentative good news for Trump – the early white vote is up in key states including Ohio, North Carolina, Georgia and Wisconsin. However, several key states, like Pennsylvania, have no early voting.

Matthew Dickinson November 8, 20167:49 pm

Ok, sorry about the slow blogging here, but we had to do introductions here at the Karl Rove Cafe. BTW, Indiana has been called for Trump – not a surprise given current polling.

Matthew Dickinson November 8, 20167:30 pm

Ok, we are getting set up. My crack research assistant Tina Berger is setting up next to me. She’ll be doing vote tracking tonight.

Matthew Dickinson November 8, 20167:21 pm

And we are up and running at the Karl Rove Crossroads Cafe – the students are trickling in, but it’s still early. Meanwhile, my homestate of Vermont has already been called for Hillary Clinton, and Patrick Leahy has retained his Senate seat here – neither a surprise, of course.


  1. Not going to be a short night. At home with best friends.. Three bottles of wine done.. A fourth is looking like a possibility.
    Republicans came home to roost. So much for the disgust for the Donald.

  2. We may have forgotten that the pain from losing what you had is greater than the pain from not getting what you had hoped for.

  3. I’m sitting on the edge of my seat waiting for one of the battle states to go for Clinton so I will feel maybe she is going to make it – like you said. This is sad, sad. Certainly nothing usual about this election year. I will go to bed probably not knowing who will be our next President and I will wake up and be afraid to peek out from other the covers. Like you said as the election gets closer the chickens come home to roost. Obviously more Trump voters out there than anybody admitting.

  4. Your students are finding out that the world is not a safe place. No trigger warnings in this election.

  5. Well, I knew he had tapped into something significant, but what is surprising me is how he has down so in a way that has brought out voters who did not support Romney in 2012. .

  6. My home county, Gloucester County in NJ just went for Trump by 0.5%. This is blue NJ, went 54-44 Obama in 2012. Hard to describe this in any way other than a Trump surge.

  7. Wayne County Michigan seems to be moving toward Clinton–the obvious guess, as CNN is implying now, is that the inner city is coming in, whereas earlier we had the suburbs. PLENTY of votes still left in Wayne County, and also in the area around Flint.

  8. Still seem to be significant towns with Democratic leaning populations left in New Hampshire–Nashua, Salem, Portsmouth, Rye, Hanover, Lyme. Only needs 8.5 k votes from those towns to catch Trump.

  9. yes, our local New Hampshire person agrees with you. But Trump almost doesn’t need New Hampshire now if he wins North Carolina and Michigan.

  10. Tarsi – I can tell you, I think it’s the opposite. Dem’s thought Trump’s support was almost all hate and fear – but as I’ve said repeatedly, that’s not what is driving most Trump voters. I’ve spent time talking with them – they are completely different than the stereotypes you see on cable.

  11. What troubles me is most Dems are bemoaning “How?”, but too few are trying to figure out “Why?”.

    There’s a reason for this and I fear media/masses aren’t going to dig far enough into this in coming hours, days, weeks – regardless of result. Too many people in the Midd bubble can’t fathom this America exists, but it’s very real.

    I anticipate a lot of Facebook punditry from my peers which will point to a “disgusting” ~40% of Americans, but as you’ve said today that’s not the issue. The issue is that’s where we put our focus and put blinders up to what I feel are the real, underlying causes.

  12. Also the one Washington elector says he’ll flip, could others theoretically follow suit across the country?

  13. In theory there’s nothing to prevent any elector from acting as the Framers intended – that is, by exercising independent judgment.

  14. Yes. Best I can tell is that there was, in fact, a hidden Trump vote that pollsters didn’t pick up. Why they didn’t pick it up is a crucial question. One answer that their likely voter models screened out a lot of Trump voters because they hadn’t voted in 2012. The other explanation is that they just wouldn’t talk to pollsters. Could be a combination of both.

  15. Absolutely right – if Democrats don’t understand why they lost this, they are going to take the wrong lessons away from this debacle.

  16. Still some big towns left to count in NH–Keene, Salem, Derry, Lebanon. Most look to have been consistently Democratic in the past. But the biggest concern for Dems seems to be Wisconsin…Can Clinton make up 90,000 votes there?

  17. Prof. Dickinson – When do they call the election for Trump? Seems like it will be soon.. between MI, PA, NH and Wisco, it doesn’t seem like Clinton can win all or even half of those.

  18. Yes although listening to Paul Begala and Van Jones on CNN right makes me doubt that they understand just how left out the working stiff feels in this country.

  19. It really depends on how these last votes come in. Remember, states have automatic recount provisions if the popular vote total comes in with a less than 1% or .5% margin so it’s not clear that even if he’s declared the winner that this the end of it.

  20. Matched vote for vote indeed. Without a ground strategy. Does it matter…how badly would she have struggled without it?

  21. Professor Dickinson,

    Though I’m a liberal, I also never bought the “all Trump supporters are fearful racists” argument, no matter how much my Facebook feed of 95% liberal friends wanted me to. This might sound crazy, but, since it seems like many voters who stayed home during 2012 with Romney came out in droves for Trump, do you think Bernie Sanders might have been more appealing to these kinds of voters than Clinton? Could Sanders, after being accused of being just the opposite, actually have been the more electable candidate in the general, based on what we just witnessed? It just seems like anti-establishment sentiment won the year (first in the republican primaries and then in the general), more than either of the two main parties did, to say nothing about their overhyped campaign strategies. I’d be interested to hear your take, since I’m already seeing the same old headlines by journalists trying to explain what happened.

    Also, thanks for the Trump rally updates over all these months. Other than your observations, I only read one story that treated his supporters like actual, complicated human beings this year (

    From a polisci 104 alum, good luck in Twilight tomorrow at 8:30am!


    *Please note that I was also never a Bernie bro, so I’m not trying to endlessly beat his drum!

  22. Will,

    The Bernie question is a great one. As you suggest, I’m already beginning to hear from Bernie supporters who say his candidate would have done better in the general. I don’t think that is true for two reasons. First, while he ran on a strong economic populism platform, he was also part of the political establishment (at least in part) and so his message wasn’t nearly a anti-government, or politically populist, as was Trump’s. Second, and related to this, the policy positions he espoused were more radical than Trump’s (whose policies were admittedly ill-defined) and that doesn’t seem to be what the public was buying. They didn’t want more statist solutions pushed by one extreme wing of one party – they wanted more moderate policies supported by (in theory) by both parties. So, I don’t think Bernie would have been a stronger candidate than Hillary. I also think not one Bernie supporter will find my argument persuasive.

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