Stony Brook PoliSci Professor Predicted Trump VIctory


Stony Brook University Political Science Professor Helmut Norpoth

Defying conventional wisdom and the polls, Stony Brook University Political Science Professor Helmut Norpoth predicted Donald Trump’s victory using a model with a remarkable record of predicting election outcomes.

Based on his analysis of primary voting, Norpoth gave Trump an 87%-99% chance of beating Hillary Clinton nearly one year ago. He stuck by his model in press interviews despite an overwhelming consensus of pollsters and pundits promising a Clinton victory.

Norpoth’s projection is based on a statistical model that relies on presidential primaries and an election cycle as predictors of the vote in the general election.

Under the model, winning the early primaries is a major key for electoral victory in November. Trump won the Republican primaries in both New Hampshire and South Carolina while Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders split the Democratic primaries in those states.

What favored the GOP in 2016 as well, according to the model, is the cycle of presidential elections.  After two terms of Democrat Barack Obama in the White House the electoral pendulum was poised to swing to the GOP this year.

In a February 22 presentation sponsored by the Stony Brook Alumni Association, Norpoth described his statistical model for predicting party nominees as well as winners of the general election.

At the time, Donald Trump had a 97 percent chance of defeating Hillary Clinton and a 99 percent chance of defeating Bernie Sanders in the general election, Norpoth said. On the basis of Super Tuesday results, Norpoth later adjusted his prediction, calling it 87% to 99% certain that Donald Trump would win the presidential election on November 8, 2016; 87% if running against Hillary Clinton, 99% if against Bernie Sanders.

Norpoth said his model works for every presidential election since 1912, with the exception of the 1960 election. Overall the model has an accuracy rate of 96.1%.



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    • Actually, his prediction was incorrect. I listened carefully to the professor who was interviewed on a Long Island radio program ( 103.9) a month before the election. He specifically said that a Trump would win the popular vote, and that he had no idea as to the outcome of the electoral vote.

      The professor was wrong.

  1. This professor knows much, much more than high paid cable news pollsters. Now they make “how we could be so wrong” face. Bravo!!

  2. It is not without a bit of skepticism that , from France and from National Front supporters, we were following the predictions of Professor H. Norpoth.
    At our utmost amazement ( and joy ! ) we saw that this great Wizard was right again and foiled all the gloomy predictions asserted by the self proclaimed pollsters Pundits ! We do not know if Prof. H. Norpoth is familiar enough with the french political panorama to repeat this masterful analysis for the incoming french presidential race scheduled in April 2017, but should it be the case, no doubt that Marine Le Pen´ staff (mainly Florian Philippot her main adviser or Nicolas Bay, Secretary General of N.F.) would be happy to discuss this topic with him ! Professor Norpoth´staff can eventually contact at :

  3. Lakisha Bennett-MSW on


    Yes I was surprised at the results. The debates were good on Long Island and while listening to CNN it was certainly appalling to see the results. However Hillary Clinton did make a good speech. Many people did not vote and now I’ve heard that people are protesting. Hopefully people use their brain and make the best decision possible at least Hillary did win the popular vote.

    • The popular vote is irrelevant. Campaign patterns are defined based upon the likelihood of winning the Electoral College. Had the popular vote mattered, campaign patterns would have changed.
      Oh, and Hillary’s popular vote margin consisted of illegal voters anyway…

  4. Congratulations, Professor! To SB Administration: Why haven’t alumni received an email expressing the University’s pride in the Professor’s accurate prediction?

  5. November 30, 2016

    This is bizarre.

    Professor Norpoth’s model predicts, as he has said clearly, the popular vote.

    Not the election outcome, which is decided by the electoral college.

    As we know now and also just after the election, Secretary Clinton won the popular vote.

    Norpoth’s model predicted Trump would win the popular vote.

    Thus, the model failed.

    It is entirely intellectually dishonest for Norpoth to allow the continued admiration for sucessful prediction when that did not happen.

    The most recent instance of such false claim was:

    on Capitol Pressroom two days ago.

    I urge Professor Norpath to make a full and useful correction to the false and dishonest information he has conveyed and allowed to be conveyed.

    Stanley R Scobie,
    Binghamton University

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