Once-obscure political science professor Helmut Norpoth is now basking in the sweet glow of success — and newfound fame — after confidently predicting way back in February that Donald Trump was virtually guaranteed to win the 2016 presidential election.
Norpoth, a faculty member at Stony Brook University, announced his prognostication that Trump would defeat Hillary Clinton some 262 days ago. He asserted a confidence level of 97 percent in what he calls the Primary Model, he said. (RELATED: Political Science Professor: Odds Of President Trump Range BETWEEN 97% AND 99%)
On Tuesday, the professor’s prophecy was proven right.
— Nicole Petallides (@NPetallides) November 9, 2016
Modern polling is “bunk,” Norpoth told NewYorkUpstate.com after Tuesday’s election.
Voter intent doesn’t matter, he said. Instead, the things that really matter are excitement among primary voters and certain cyclical patterns.
“Nearly all of us say, oh yes, I’ll vote, and then many will not follow through,” Norpoth told the website.
[dcquiz] “The bottom line is that the primary model, using also the cyclical movement, makes it almost certain that Donald Trump will be the next president,” Norpoth initially said in February, according to The Statesman, the campus newspaper at Stony Brook, a public bastion on New York’s Long Island.
“When I started out with this kind of display a few months ago, I thought it was sort of a joke,” the professor told an alumni audience. “Well, I’ll tell you right now, it ain’t a joke anymore.”
“Take it to the bank,” he added.
Norpoth specifically predicted that Trump had a 97 percent chance of beating Democrat Hillary Clinton and a 99 percent chance of beating Bernie Sanders, a socialist running as a Democrat.
In the many months since Norpoth first trumpeted his forecast, he has made countless media appearances.
The professor did turn out to be considerably wrong about the voting percentages. He said Trump receive 54.7 percent of the popular vote to Clinton’s 45.3 percent.
Current vote totals show Trump actually losing the popular vote to Clinton. As of sometime Tuesday, Clinton had won 47.7 percent of the national total vote to Trump’s 47.5 percent, according to CNN.
Norpoth, a 1974 University of Michigan Ph.D. recipient who specializes in electoral behavior alignment, said his data pointed to a 61-percent chance that the Republican nominee — Trump or not — would win the 2016 presidential election.
Norpoth’s general election formula measures candidates’ performances in primaries and caucuses to gauge party unity and excitement. It also focuses on patterns in electoral cycles. One major assumption is that the party which just held the presidency for two consecutive terms is less likely to win a third term.
The model has been correct for every election since 1912 except for the 1960 election — which pitted John F. Kennedy against Richard Nixon.
He has said he has used the model in recent times to predict Bill Clinton’s victories as well as George W. Bush’s wins and Barack Obama’s wins.
In total, Norpoth observed, the forecasting formula he has created has been correct 96.1 percent of the time since 1912.