2016 General Election Overview
It is now certain that the 2016 election will set an all-time turnout record. Right now, 130,945,796 individuals are recorded as voting in the presidential election. This already exceeds the 2012 final turnout number of 129,172,069 voters. The highest number of people ever participating in a US presidential election is 131,426,292. With more than 3.5 million ballots remaining to be processed in California alone, the Trump-Clinton presidential race now establishes a new high in voter participation.
The state of Michigan remains uncalled, but Donald Trump’s lead of 11,612 votes will likely survive the statewide canvassing procedure necessary to verify the final count in all 83 counties. Under Michigan election procedure, the contest has not yet been called because the end result is within one percentage point (47.6 – 47.3%), meaning a re-count can be requested. Once the period for requesting the re-count expires, the election will be called, but that will stretch after Thanksgiving.
It is unlikely that what’s left of the Clinton campaign will decide in favor of a re-count. Since Trump has already secured national victory irrespective of what happens in Michigan, it will matter little whether the state flips to Clinton.
Republicans held their Senate majority and could go as high as 53 seats, which would mean losing only one, if they win the Louisiana run-off on December 10th (they will be favored to do so), and should Sen. Ayotte hang on to her small lead in New Hampshire.
The Senate races have been hanging by a thread for better than a month before the election. The races culminated in a surprising Republican victory. Up 54-46 in the current Senate, the Republicans overcame having to defend 24 of 34 in-cycle seats and rode a Donald Trump turnout model to national victory and an outright Senate majority. The new party division is 52R-46D-2I.
The majority of the most well-known toss-up contests were in five states: Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania, before Indiana and Wisconsin joined the group in the waning days of the campaign. In the end, all but Nevada and possibly New Hampshire broke in the Republicans' favor. Most of these races were tight, as expected.
The biggest margin surprise was Republican Todd Young scoring a ten-point victory in Indiana over former Sen. Evan Bayh (D), who originally led by 21 points. North Carolina Sen. Richard Burr (R) scored a six-point win, but all of the other toss-ups were in the two to three point realm. The biggest surprise of the night was Sen. Ron Johnson (R) holding his Wisconsin seat despite only two polls during the entire last year ever showing him to be ahead. Though the race closed in the end, former Sen. Russ Feingold (D) continued to hold a consistent advantage.
Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV) held the Democrats' open Nevada seat, and becomes the first female candidate of Latin descent to enter the US Senate. Missouri Sen. Roy Blunt (R), on the ropes during the last few weeks of the campaign, managed to secure a three-point victory. In another surprise, Pennsylvania Sen. Pat Toomey (R) again defied the odds and held his marginal seat, also in the face of bad polling, to secure another six-year term.
The two states that did flip from R to D was Illinois and New Hampshire, where Rep. Tammy Duckworth (D-Hoffman Estates) successfully unseated first-term Sen. Mark Kirk (R), as expected. Incumbent Senator Kelly Ayotte (R) lost re-election to Governor Maggie Hassan (D).
Republicans held their House majority, only losing six seats. This brings the new majority of 241 Republicans and 194 Democrats.
Republicans held the House largely because of favorable redistricting maps, and a poor Democratic candidate recruiting season minimized the latter party's number of competitive challengers, plus a moderately favorable turnout model at the top of the ticket.
Republicans maintained 90% of their open seats, which includes likely December 10th run-off contests in Louisiana's Districts 3and 4.
Though Democrats ran with a strategy of attempting to tie all Republican candidates to who they believed was a flawed presidential nominee in Donald Trump, the approach failed. Republicans were able to re-elect all but six of their incumbents, thus underscoring that the Trump/GOP House member connection produced relatively few Democratic victories. Of the incumbent and open seat GOP losses, four were directly due to mid-decade redistricting plans that were enacted before the 2016 election.
Several Republicans like Rep. Mike Coffman (R-CO-6) and Rod Blum (R-IA-1) again survived in difficult districts for any Republican.
Twelve gubernatorial races were on the ballot, yielding party changes that favored Republicans. Democrats may have converted one Republican state house, that in North Carolina as Attorney General Roy Cooper (D) leads incumbent Pat McCrory (R) by just 5,000. It is unclear if any absentee or provisional ballots remain to be counted. Republicans took Democratic posts in Missouri, New Hampshire and Vermont. Open seats in Delaware and West Virginia remained in Democratic hands, while Republicans held their two open seats in Indiana and North Dakota.
Democratic incumbents were re-elected in Montana (Gov. Steve Bullock) in a close election, Oregon (Gov. Kate Brown), and Washington (Gov. Jay Inslee), while Republicans held Utah (Gov. Gary Herbert).
Overall, the gubernatorial count advances to 33R-16D-1I, with Alaska Gov. Bill Walker (I) being a former Republican.