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U.S. Department of State - Great Seal

U.S. Department of State

Diplomacy in Action

What to Expect on Election Day in New York - A Primer on Exit Polling and Calling the Race

Dr. Christina Greer, Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science and the Department of American Studies, and Associate Chair of the Department of Political Science, Fordham University
New York, NY
November 7, 2016


DR. GREER: In the United States we do not have election day as a voting holiday. So that means the voting eligible population -- that’s citizens who are over the age of 18, who do not have a felony record, who are not currently incarcerated, who are allowed to vote. There’s the voting age population -- that’s just the number 18 year olds, people 18 and above in the country. And then there’s the voting eligible population.

So the voting eligible population that voted in 2008, which was in many ways one of our most historic elections, when Barack Obama defeated John McCain, only 62 percent of voting eligible Americans actually turned out to vote. In 2008, it dipped down a little bit, to 56.5 percent of voting eligible Americans. So we’ll see what tomorrow brings. We’re projecting that the numbers might not be as great as we saw in 2008, but others are projecting that because so many people dislike either candidate, that might motivate people to actually turn out.

This is the first time ever we’ve had two major party candidates who have dipped below 50 percent, and so essentially arguing that Americans don’t like either one. So, as you’ll have noticed, it’s been a pretty polarizing election season with, on the one hand Donald Trump really galvanizing a certain faction in American politics that is anti-immigrant, anti-religious beliefs, et cetera; and you have someone in Hillary Clinton that many people feel as though they’ve known for 30 years and they don’t trust her. Hence the email conversations that keep coming back.

So many of you have seen the map, the electoral map that’s red states and blue states, and then the certain states that we’re unsure about we just color them purple, and we’ll figure it out tomorrow evening.

So as a political scientist I always make the argument that it’s not really red states and blue states, it’s actually, all states are really red states. It’s just do you have enough blue cities in your red state to turn it blue on election night. Right?

So when you think about a state like New York, New York is very red. For those of you who have some time, go up-state. You’ll see Trump signs; you might see some confederate flags. You will see a very homogenous population. It is a red Republican part of the state. The difference is, New York has New York City, which is down state. We’re a state of say roughly 28 million people. We’ve got eight million people in New York City, right? We’ve got cities like Rochester and Buffalo and Syracuse and Ithaca. So we have several big cities that can turn the state blue. So New York is traditionally a blue state. It’s also a very important state, not just because I live here and you guys are visiting, but because it has 29 Electoral College votes. So I’ll talk about the Electoral College.

The Electoral College -- do you all know the magic number that we have to get to tomorrow night? 270, right? So how do we get to 270?

So the total number of Electoral College votes is 538. How do we get to that number? Well, we have 100 Senators. We have 435 Members of the House. And we have 3 votes for DC. Right? So you add that all up, that’s 538. So each state has different electors. And at the end of the night, so when New York votes, right? It’s a winner take all system. All states except for two are winner take all. So that’s Maine and Nebraska. Right? Who are the two that are not winner take all.

So that means if Hillary Clinton is victorious tomorrow night in New York, she gets all 29. Right? If Donald Trump is victorious in Texas he gets all 38. Right? If Hillary Clinton is victorious in California, she gets all, I think it’s 51 now. Right?

PRESS: 55.

DR. GREER: 55. Good job. So you guys are on that. I only care about New York right now, so there we go. But California is incredibly important because, as with all states, there are some down-ballot races that people are paying attention to.

So normally the coat tails of the top of the ticket, that’s the person who’s running for the presidency, galvanizes people and then they end up voting for people of lesser offices, right? But this time we’re actually seeing people who are running for lesser officers are actually galvanizing people to come to the polls and they’ll ultimately end up voting for Trump or Clinton, even though they may not be overly excited about them.

So, California is a great example because Kamala Harris is running for the U.S. Senate, and it’s looking like she’ll probably win. But what makes her special is that if she wins, she’ll only be the second African American female Senator in the history of the nation. So she’s actually galvanizing her base to come out to the polls, and what that will likely do is assist Hillary Clinton on the top of the ticket? Right? Because she’s running as a Democrat.

We also know who’s up for reelection? So the way our constitution is structured is based on compromise. We have the Virginia Plan and the New Jersey Plan and we have this thing called the Great Compromise, is that every single Member of the House is up for reelection. Right? So all 435 Members of the House will be on the ballot. The way the founders structured it is that only one-third of Senators are up for reelection. This is, in a catastrophic event, if we wanted to actually change the system we could change our President, we could change every single Member of the House and we could change a third of the Senate, but we’d still have two-thirds stability.

So in New York, Chuck Schumer, our senior Senator -- that means he’s the Senator who’s been there longer than Kirsten Gillibrand, he is up for reelection. She is not. Chuck Schumer has done very well across the state, even though it is a red state and he’s a Democrat. He’s been to all 51 counties several times, and so it’s looking like he’ll definitely be victorious.

So tomorrow night when we’re all voting, I’m sure you all know there are these things called costs of voting. Right? There are costs in the sense that it’s your time, you have to do research, hopefully you’ve thought about the different candidates, you have to think about the down-valley races. In a lot of states we have these things called propositions that are usually complicated worded ideas that you get to vote on, whether it’s on education. In California, for example, there’s lots about marijuana, whether it should be commercialized or medical marijuana. Or LGBT rights. Whatever it may be.

So the Catch-22 sometimes is that if you are running on the East Coast, which is where we are, you all may know that we are three hours ahead of California, right? So we have different time zones. So we have Eastern, Central, Mountain and Pacific. You don’t want to do too well on the East Coast because that decreases turnout on the West Coast. Does that make sense?

So if everyone sees that Hillary Clinton is just destroying Donald Trump on the East Coast, that could suppress turnout on the West Coast because if you’re thinking about getting child care, getting parent care, or taking time off of work, or having to go to the gas station and put more gas in your car to actually drive to your polling station, you may say oh, she’s doing well, she doesn’t really need my one vote. Right?

Also, if someone is doing terribly, that could suppress turnout on the West Coast because someone says, well there’s no way he’s going to win, or she’s going to win, so I might as well stay home and decrease the cost of voting.

So this is where we’re also looking at the projections and why our time zones actually do matter. And it really does matter also how quickly we can call particular states based on exit polling - where we take small samples of people who are exiting the polling stations and make projections, statistical models, as to how we think that that particular district has voted.

So, really quickly because I don’t want to talk too too long.

So let me talk really briefly about two more things -- voter fraud, demographics -- and then I’ll give you all some resources.

So voter fraud has actually come up quite a bit. The instances of voter fraud, like actual voter fraud, are very minimal. I think the last election season it was maybe like ten out of one million. It is not a real thing. Most of the time, unfortunately, we are trying to get people to actually come out to vote. It’s not like people are going to vote several times.

This year is somewhat different. Some people are really worried that particular voters are going to vote early by absentee ballot, and then also try to show up to the polls.

Other people are worried that voter fraud could come in the form of voter intimidation, where we have several states that are open carry states, which means people can actually carry a gun on their person and sort of hang around a polling station and essentially ask people who they’re voting for. Which is illegal. So that is a different type of voter fraud that people are really worried about.

And then also some people just don’t know the rules. So in certain states you cannot take a picture of your ballot. You cannot take a picture of yourself in the polling station. And sometimes it’s up to the discretion of the people who work there to see whether or not that ballot will be thrown out if you essentially break the rules. You’re actually not allowed to wear partisan type [memorabilia]. Some people don’t know that and they’re really excited, especially if they’re voting for the first time, and they’ll go and wear their candidates’ paraphernalia and that’s not allowed in particular states.

Lastly, I want to talk about demographics. So some of you may have noticed the country is changing due to immigration. We’ve had lots of conversation about immigration. One candidate believes in more immigration and sort of supporting the people who were here, and the Republican candidate wants to halt it quite a bit.

So because of our widespread immigration, changing demographics, we are pretty soon going to see a country that is majority people of color over time, which makes certain voters very nervous and is galvanizing others.

So in many ways this election has exposed the Republican strategy of really targeting their faithful, older white voters. Where the Democrats are really going for a younger and oftentimes first-time voter which is a much more difficult strategy, but it seems to be, for the Democrats and their calculus, a more long-term strategy that will be beneficial to them, especially at the national level.

There are lots of state races, obviously, going on. In New York we vote for our city races on odd years. So next year you guys can come back when we have our Mayor’s race. But our Governor is not on a presidential cycle so Governor Cuomo, if he decides to run for reelection, he’ll be up in [2018]. Our state is very different. Some states will be voting for Governors and even Mayors. Our state, we do not do that largely just because it’s too expensive for a Mayor to run and compete with a presidential candidate. That’s why we actually have it on a different cycle. That’s also a much more complicated question because we’re asking New Yorkers to turn out to vote essentially three and four years in a row, several times.

Then lastly, I just want you all to know about a few resources. I did a TED-Ed cartoon talk which is like a 3.5 minute video for essentially high school students but it might help you all really to see the difference between safe states and swing states. So if you Google my name, Christina Greer, and TED-Ed, I did one on the Electoral College, and I did another on gerrymandering. So there are certain states that are safe states. New York is a solidly blue state; California is a solidly blue state; you can count on Louisiana to be a solidly red state; or Alabama to be a solidly red state. But then we have these things called swing states. I’m sure you’ve all heard us talk about them. Pennsylvania. Right? Think about where the candidates have been these last few weeks. Pennsylvania, Ohio, North Carolina. Formerly Virginia, but because Hillary Clinton chose Senator Kaine, it’s pretty much solidly blue this year. Florida is another one as a swing state. So these are states that are not only important, but because they have flip-flopped sort of blue to red, red to blue, but also because there are a pretty large number of Electoral College votes and can really make the difference.

Then the last resource is So it’s all one word, And it has campaign ads starting at 1960 for both Democrats and Republicans. But one of the best resources is that it has the electoral map where it shows you not just who won which state, but the percentage that they won, the whole number of people who voted, and also the number of Electoral College votes. So you’ll see in 1972 the map is all red except for a little Massachusetts, right?

So those are sort of two resources, and it’s so weird with the lights, I can’t really see you guys, but I’ll take questions.

MODERATOR: If you have a question, please raise your hand, and then just identify yourself with your name and affiliation. And wait for the microphone to come so we can make sure we can hear it. Thank you.

PRESS: Hello. My name is [Guzmin Tu], I come from Kosovo.

Since I came here I saw only reports and generalists speaking about those swing states and nobody’s talking about possible losses in California, in Texas and in these red or blue countries. How do you know that a specific country is blue and specific country is red? Who decides that? There are ten days before the election since we came here and you already know that California is blue and Texas is red. It’s kind of not easy for me to understand this. People haven’t vote yet.

DR. GREER: No. But based on previous election years, and based on projections that -- we can look at demographics, right? So we know X number of people on local levels, right, for local elections, turn out and they vote a particular way. Based on Texas, the number of types of cities versus counties that they have, we can safely say if projections hold, Texas will be red; California will be blue.

Now this is an election season unlike one we’ve ever seen before. But we’re going on past knowledge - which is how your state looks, the number of registered Democrats in your state, the number of registered Republicans in your state, how Democrats versus Republicans actually turn out for local, state and national elections. So there are certain places where you may have more registered Democrats in the state, but we know Republicans turn out more. So like in a county, particularly, or a local election, right? So all this is based on past projections.

But you’re correct. Like we don’t know. It’s really about turnout. But if we look at the past say five elections or the six elections or eight elections, and New York has steadily gone blue and nothing really had changed, then we can pretty much safely say New York will be blue.

Now this is where it gets really fascinating with changing demographics and migration patterns. So Georgia is a prime example, to answer your question. Georgia historically has been solidly red except for in 1976 when Jimmy Carter ran for the presidency and he was from the state of Georgia, so obviously he won Georgia, right? Georgia is in the south and it’s next door to Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, that little corridor that’s usually all red. Well, because of reverse migration, people from the north -- baby boomers, people in their sort of 50s and 60s retiring and wanting to have better weather, cheaper housing, you know, either going back to live with family members, there are a lot of, especially African Americans, who are migrating back down south. Right? They used to live in New York or New Jersey or wherever it may be. And so because of that, Georgia is no longer bright red. If you look at a lot of the maps, it’s a little bit pink. Right? Because people are settling. There’s Coca-Cola there, a major corporation; there’s CNN that’s there, and there’s several Historically Black Colleges and Universities that are there. So once people graduate, they don’t necessarily leave the state. So now we’re seeing Georgia, over time I would probably project in the next election cycle or next two election cycles, it may become a swing state if our projections stay the same.

PRESS: My name is [Sophie Magrena], I’m the Foreign Correspondent for the South African Broadcasting Corporation.

I just want to find out, I have two questions. One, the FBI announcement yesterday, what impact will it have to the support base of both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump?

And the second question is, what does the high Latino turnout in early voting in states such as Florida and Nevada indicate in terms of your analysis for both the candidates, Hillary Clinton and Trump?

DR. GREER: So the first with Comey, the FBI Director who, you know, has worked under Obama. I think one of the most dangerous things about what he’s done is that we have had so many early voters go to the polls and they went to the polls thinking that there was another scandal coming through. Right? And part of the major problem that Hillary Clinton has had with voters is that many people find her to be untrustworthy, right? When we’ve polled voters. That is their main concern with her.

So for about a week, there has been essentially smoke and absolutely no fire. Right? So she was found completely absolved of whatever potential crime it may be, and then Comey essentially says “Fire”, everyone evacuates the building, and then he says oh, I’m sorry, there was no fire. I was just yelling for no reason. Right?

So that’s been really potentially dangerous because many people, especially independents, people who were undecided voters, went to the polls thinking oh, there’s yet another scandal with her in these emails. Right? So that’s where I think that’s a really irresponsible thing that has happened and we’ll see whether or not it really did affect her. Obviously her polling numbers went down.

As far as the higher early voting turnout in Florida and Nevada, if you noticed, many of those people were Latinos, many of those people when polled said that they were voting for the first time, and so we’re seeing possibly some people not necessarily voting for the Democratic candidate, but voting against the Republican candidate which makes governance, which is a whole different conversation, much more complicated. But we are seeing really high levels of early voter turnout because people are projecting that there could be long lines. Right? So if you can vote on a weekend, then that actually helps.

So I think some of the rhetoric of the Republican candidate has motivated, especially people with immigrant families, to actually turn out because there are a lot of people who are genuinely afraid that if the Republican candidate wins then even though they’re citizens, that they or their loved ones could be deported and the country could go in a totally different direction.

PRESS: Thank you very much, Dr. Greer, for your briefing. I just have a quick two questions.

The first question on exit polling. We have observed together with the State Department in many parts around the world monitoring elections. My question is about the percentage of error or the deviation of the exit polling. Is it the same percentage as the State Department requires for foreign elections which is about plus-minus two percent?

And the second question is about changing demographics. Red states, blue states, it was noticed that a solid red state as Texas, there is an increasing number of registered Democrats, first-time voters, which I’m not sure if we reach yet to have more Democrats registered in the state or it’s still going to be on par with the current situation.

How can the changing demographics help the votes towards one candidate or the other? Thank you.

DR. GREER: As far as exit polling, usually our standard deviation is about plus or minus three percent. I don’t know too too much about how the State Department does things, but this is when they look at a small sample exiting the polls. So that’s usually our margin of error.

So what makes some people nervous is that the two candidates are both in many polls within the margin of error. So it could be a toss-up.

As far as the changing demographics in Texas, I think what’s really fascinating is we’re getting more and more registered Democrats because of the Latino population. And even the African population is settling in places like Houston and Dallas. And so going back I think to the first question, which is right now, Texas is solidly red but I would be fascinated to see what it looks like in 2020 or 2024.

Obviously the cities in Texas, the Mayors are predominantly Democrat, but Texas is a massive state, right? And so there are a lot of places that are solidly red. These pockets. And so you have blue cities, but you don’t have a ton of blue cities. You’ve got Austin which they call the blueberry in the bowl of cherries, right? You’ve got Dallas and Houston and San Antonio who just elected their first African-American female Mayor. Right? So we do see Democrats actually electing people of color and people who have immigrant backgrounds.

So I don’t think that Texas will go blue in 2016, but I would hold my breath in 2020 to see just how many -- it’s not just about your immigrant population. It’s about your immigrant population who actually registers to vote, because in this country voting is a two-stage process. It’s not like just you wake up one morning, November 8th, and it’s like I think I want to vote today. I’ll do it. Right? Most states do not have same-day voting. You actually have to register before a certain period of time and then you get to vote.

So there are some people who I think will want to participate, but not necessarily know the rules, and so they’ll want to go and vote and realize that they can’t. So they’ll register, and yes, it will be too late for 2016, but it won’t be too late for 2020 and then they’ll be able to participate. And I think we’ll see where our projections might have to change where we can’t just say that it’s guaranteed red anymore.

PRESS: Hi, my name is [Inaudible] from the Brazilian newspaper Estado de Sao Paulo.

Can you give an idea of what time tomorrow we’ll have an idea of the exit polls?

And also, what do you think might be the impact of the undecided voters and the ones that are saying they are going to vote for a third party? Can they change? There is a risk that they can change the polls?

DR. GREER: Oh, yeah. Okay, I wish I knew what time we could call it. It really does depend. I mean this honestly is an election unlike any we’ve seen before. Just because Donald Trump is not a traditional candidate. And he’s galvanized many people who, quite honestly, may not show up in our historic polling. Hillary Clinton has also galvanized people who were not excited about her about a month ago, but once people started seeing Confederate flags and men with guns sort of saying they’re going to lynch journalists, that actually has motivated some other people to turn out. So I don’t know how early we’ll be able to call it, to be quite honest.

The second part is about these undecideds and people who say that they’re going to vote for third party candidates. So in this country, third party candidates have never been sort of pretty strong. Right? If you all read George Washington’s farewell address, he essentially brings this up. He’s very worried that we were going into a two-party system. Parties are not in the constitution at all in the sense that it’s mentioned. The State of the Union is mentioned, but parties aren’t mentioned. So George Washington, our first President, was really concerned that we would essentially get to where we are now with like the two teams. Sort of like football, right? Red versus Blue. Donkeys versus Elephants.

So in the past when third parties have sort of risen up, two things have either happened. Either one of the dominant parties has subsumed the third parties, stolen their ideas and sort of made them go away, or the third party has risen up to such a level it gets consumed by one of the two parties. Right? But ultimately, we still sort of simmer down and we become a two party system.

There have been a few times in the recent past where third parties have really made a difference. If you think about 1992 when Bill Clinton runs for the President. He’s a no-name Governor from Arkansas and he’s running against an incumbent. And we know in this country incumbents have a very strong advantage. Name recognition, right? You have a record. Bill Clinton didn’t have a record. Right? George Bush was pretty well liked, coming off of the Reagan years. So there are lots of Democrats who became Reagan Democrats, so they voted for Bush and Reagan. And so what happened with George Bush was there was a man named Ross Perot who came out of nowhere, right? He came out of the state of Texas. And yes, George Bush ended up winning Texas, but there were quite a few states in the south that Bill Clinton ran. Now granted, he’s from Arkansas and so that is a southern state. Yes, he did choose Al Gore who’s a Senator from Tennessee, right? However, there were so many areas that Ross Perot picked up people from the south who probably would have voted for George Bush. So even though Ross Perot didn’t win any Electoral College vote, he still got 19 million votes, and we can [predict] that a majority of those 19 million votes would have gone to George Herbert Walker Bush, and that could have changed the election. That’s an example when a third party action makes a difference.

Another example is in 2000 when George Bush and Al Gore ran against one another for the presidency. There was a man named Ralph Nader who ran. He only got close to four percent of the vote. However, that election was so incredibly close, if you all remember, that’s when Al Gore won the popular vote but George Bush won the Electoral College vote. Right? So more people in the country actually cast a ballot for Al Gore, but because of the way we allocate numbers for states and the number of Electoral College votes for particular states, George Bush was victorious.

Now my issue with Al Gore is, you always win your home state. He didn’t win Tennessee. So if he had won Tennessee, it would have been a conversation, but that’s for him to sort of talk about with his therapist at some point in time. Right?

But we see Ralph Nader only got 3.5 to 4 percent, but in an election that’s that razor thin, that’s a huge number of millions of votes that likely, because he was the Green Party candidate, probably would have gone to Al Gore and possibly could have made the difference in even one state, even a state with six Electoral College votes or three Electoral College votes, and we’d see a very different America if Al Gore had been President and not George Bush.

PRESS: Good morning. Joyce [Inaudible] from [Inaudible] in Ghana.

Earlier you spoke about voter fraud and the fact that it’s very minute for that to happen, which gives me the impression that it can. My question is, what guarantees are in place to ensure that the voter process is not manipulated? Are there systems in place to prevent persons from utilizing the loopholes that may be there?

DR. GREER: Right. As I said before, our issue is we’re trying to get people to the polls. Right? So this isn’t like Chicago from the early 20th century-- vote early, vote often, right? Which is just, when we had sort of unions and they would encourage people to just come to the polls as many times as they could, right? We don’t see that these days.

And so there are a few things. People who work at the polling stations, you know, they are sworn citizens of the state that are supposed to be honest, and so if you cast a ballot they are there to make sure that that ballot goes where it needs to go. They should not sort of look at you and make some assumptions about who you’re going to vote for and then trash your ballot, right? That is -- we traditionally have not seen that. There are some concerns, though, that people have in this election, that people will look at certain demographics, largely people of color and immigrants, make assumptions that they’ll be voting Democratically, and then have their ballots tossed.

Another concern that people have, which I have no guarantee with this, I have no idea how it works, but we have moved in many states to an automated system. So in New York we still have a ScanTron system. We’re a little behind the times sometimes in New York, but paper is good. Right? So we actually fill out our ballots with little dots, just like you all probably did in high school when you were taking a big exam. And then we put it in the scanner and that’s what happens.

Sometimes, and no one is supposed to touch my ballot once I fill it out. Well, sometimes people who work at the polling stations want to be helpful, so they want to take your ballot and put it in the scanner for you. That actually should not happen. Right? There should never be any one who touches my ballot except for me.

Other states, though, are so automated, they actually don’t have a paper trail and it’s just a touch screen, sort of like if you’re going to the ATM. That concerns a lot of people on both sides of the aisle because some people have complained for early voting if they hit Hillary Clinton, it jumps to Trump, or if they hit Trump, it jumped to Hillary Clinton. And those are machines that can actually be programmed, but they can also be hacked. So this is also part of the concern that Republicans have, but Democrats have as well, as we move towards a more automated electoral system.

So I don’t think that there’s anything wrong with paper, but I’m in the minority in that preference.

PRESS: [Inaudible] from Sarajevo [Inaudible].

Could the Green Party or the Libertarian be a surprise in this election in any state?

DR. GREER: No. How they would deliver the surprise is that they might get a percentage of votes that would disproportionately hurt a particular candidate. And if they did hurt a particular candidate, it would likely be Hillary Clinton that they hurt.

So what people are concerned about and what they’ve tried to tell their family members who have said I don’t really like either candidate. I’m not really sort of that into this election. But I still think I should participate. And if I’m going to the polls anyway to vote for my Senator, my Member of the House, ballot initiatives, I want to vote for the presidency so I’ll just vote for Jill Stein, or I’ll just vote for Gary Johnson. And so people have warned their relatives that a vote for a third party candidate is essentially a vote for Donald Trump because it would probably hurt Hillary Clinton, right? So that’s not guaranteed, but usually people who would vote for say, a Gary Johnson or a third party candidate in this particular election, and usually in particular types of states, it would probably hurt her. Because if you want her to win she essentially needs as many votes as possible, right?

Gary Johnson and Jill Stein are, unfortunately, not two very strong third party candidates. Jill Stein is a doctor who doesn’t believe in vaccinations; Gary Johnson didn’t know where Aleppo was, didn’t know what Aleppo was, and sort of made a joke about it. Well, if I don’t know where it is, we can’t invade it. Ha, ha, ha. And people are like no, this is real business, right? Like you’re the President.

So many people argue that this year in particular it’s a real missed opportunity because had we had a strong third party candidate and we had so many voters who don’t really like the Democratic candidate nominee and they don’t really like the Republican nominee. If we had a strong third party nominee this may have been the time where we actually see some traction on the third party. Unfortunately, we have two people who most people have never heard of and they don’t really have a real sort of political standing in a lot of ways.

PRESS: [Inaudible].

DR. GREER: No, they’re not Ross Perot. They’re not even Ralph Nader. And so if they do get votes it will be because essentially people are protesting not wanting to vote for Trump or Clinton.

PRESS: Sally Mendoza from [Inaudible].

The Latino vote, how important is going to be in this election? It was important during the 2008 election of President Barack Obama. It was important in his reelection. And in states like Colorado, North Carolina, even though they have more Afro-Americans. Florida, which is a particular case. How you see those states using the Latino vote?

We know that for the path to the 270 Donald Trump needs Florida and he will need Nevada, which right now will be one of those battle states and equally with Colorado.

DR. GREER: If the Democratic nominee wins, there are going to be three groups who hand her the victory. African-American women, Latinos, and I think the quiet group that one one’s really paying attention to, Asian-Americans. In most of our polling, we don’t ever ask about Asian Americans. It’s Black., White, Latino. And Asian-Americans have been trending Democratic, especially in the presidential level, steadily for the past three elections. But we just ignore them in our polling which is highly problematic.

So Latinos are going to be incredibly important. Why? Because Latinos have been in this country since the dawn of time, right? Since the dawn of this country. However, the registration piece hasn’t always been there, because the intimidation piece definitely has been.

So if you are a documented citizen, but you possibly have a cousin or a relative who maybe lives in your home who’s undocumented, why would you interact with the state at all? Right? Even something as easy as voting. So you essentially stay away from political processes that could possibly potentially bring harm to your family.

What more and more people are doing is realizing how rules work. More and more people are documented. More and more people are getting registered. It does take a while for communities to not just get registered, but to actually turn out to vote. But I think this particular election is mobilizing a lot of Latinos, solely because the Republican nominee has made it very explicit about how he feels about Latinos, right? How he thinks that they’re rapists and murderers and how they should all be sent back, whether or not they’re third, fourth, fifth generation. So that I think has been a mobilizing factor.

But also the migration patterns of Latinos have moved from beyond just the sun belt region, right? Moving beyond just Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and California. We’re now seeing strong Latino populations in northeastern cities, along the East Coast. Think about a state, a swing state like North Carolina which is getting an increasingly larger number of Latinos. On the local level there’s a totally different conversation we can have but on another date. On the local level, it’s creating some very interesting tensions between African Americans and Latinos when we think about Mayors and City Council structures and School Boards. But on the larger presidential level we’re seeing a more unified, big D Democratic vote.

So over time, I think, going back to this gentleman’s question, in 2020 some of these guaranteed states that we could always count on, if we see the projection still going steady for Latinos registering and then turning out to vote, which we’ve seen the long lines, I think some of these red states might be either light pink or possibly purple.

Now it also depends though in 2020 if people are really mobilized, right? Donald Trump has definitely mobilized people to protect their interests, both good and bad. If people feel like the candidates in 2020 are both relatively normal people, we may not see, so we may see a surge and a spike, and then possibly die down. Or we could see people totally galvanized to participate in the political process and then they’re voters for life.

PRESS: Good morning. I’m working for a newspaper in Vietnam and I have two questions for you.

The first question is, Trump said he will not accept the outcome of the election if Hillary Clinton wins. What do you think about that?

And my second question is, can you comment on who is most like to win the election?

DR. GREER: Give me the second question one more time.

PRESS: Can you comment on who will win the presidency?

DR. GREER: Who will win?

PRESS: Yeah.

DR. GREER: Are we going to put money on it? Okay, so -- [Laughter].

Trump not accepting the outcome of the election. To me of all the dangerous things that he’s said, right? And I know this is not a partisan place. But think of we’re in America. That is probably in my esteemed opinion the most dangerous thing that he’s said the entire election cycle.

The founding principle of American democracy besides capitalism and some other things, but the founding principle of American democracy is that we have free and fair elections, which we’re working on. And that we have peaceful transitions of power. Right? And most of us know nations that don’t have peaceful transitions of power. Right? So whenever I travel abroad, I always look to see who’s having an election because I don’t want to get caught in a nation that’s actually having an election and they don’t know how to have peaceful transitions of power.

We think about say 2000, right? And the significance of Al Gore accepting the results. Right? Saying you know what, even though more people voted for me, I’ll respect the Electoral College, it’s in the constitution. Even though the Supreme Court that George H.W. Bush largely appointed, even though they said Bush wins it, but we will never follow this precedent again. So this is essentially a farce, right? Al Gore says I’ll accept it. For the good of the nation I will acquiesce and let George Bush be President. That’s it, right? It’s incredibly, it was razor thin.

If we have someone before the results are even in saying I don’t know, we’ll see. It’s like this is not season two of The Apprentice. We can’t wait for a commercial break. Right? This is actually real life and you must actually accept the will of law, right? If we don’t vote for you, you can’t say that it’s because it’s rigged or voter fraud. So hence, planting the seeds that it’s rigged so that if he loses, whether he loses by a slim margin or whether he loses terribly, he can say I don’t know, we’ll see.

What really is frightening, though, is that he is galvanized a faction of this country that believes that they should be armed, and because they feel threatened that people like me and people like you are in this country, then there’s a threat of violence. That’s always been sort of the undercurrent of this particular campaign, which is somewhat worrisome.

The second one. Who wins? [Laughter]. I’m essentially two people. I love this country, I really do, but I have very complicated feelings about this country because I’m a descendant of slave holders and people who were enslaved. So the political science in me, political science professor in me, the one who has a PhD from Columbia University, the one who’s written books, says that 270 is possible for Hillary Clinton and I think she will be victorious tomorrow evening. I think she’ll get over 270 and I think she’ll win. The Black girl in me is totally confused. I don’t know how strong these factions are. These people are real. Right? They have guns, they have confederate flags and they are very angry, and I don’t know how mobilized they are because they haven’t really been in our polling in the past because they’ve sort of been in the shadows. But essentially they’re very angry that A, they’ve had to live under a Black President. They cannot fathom living under a woman as the President, and they think that whatever it is, they don’t have is because of people like me and immigrants.

So I don’t know. [Laughter]. I don’t know.

PRESS: I’m [Jung] from Hong Kong and I’ve got two questions.

Firstly, you mentioned the winner takes all system applies to all states. So it’s a kind of regulation in the U.S. constitution, or is just a kind of coincidence? Or just a kind of unwritten norm?

Secondly, do the Americans think that this system needs to be amended, especially after Al Gore lost in 2004?

DR. GREER: The winner take all system -- Maine and Nebraska, Nebraska is odd because they even have a unicameral system on the state level which means they only have one House of Government and every other state has a two-House system. I don’t know exactly when it was decided about the winner take all system. Keep in mind, when we wrote the constitution we only had 13 states. So none of these people counted. So over time we’ve added in more states, and until like the mid-20th century and so we’ve settled in on this winner take all system.

And for the most part it has worked. Right? However, every four years there’s a faction of Americans who say this is so stupid. Why don’t we directly elect the President? Right? But the founders, based on compromise, wanted to make sure that we have, we vote for our Members of the House directly; we vote for our Senate directly. That wasn’t always the case before. The House used to vote for the Senators. It was a much more complicated process. But they thought that this would be an equitable process. Right?

Keep in mind, there are states like Rhode Island versus a New York. A state like Delaware versus Pennsylvania. So they thought that this would protect small states and large states. Hence, we have this complicated system of every state has two Senators. Rhode Island has two Senators; California has two Senators. Right? But they thought they could balance that out also with Members of the House and making it somewhat proportional. So this is one of those systems where every election year there’s a clamoring to say we have to get rid of the system. Especially in 2000 where the system almost didn’t work in the sense that the popular vote said one thing and the Electoral College vote said something else. That had only happened one other time, way back in the 1800’s.

So for the most part it seems to work out, but many people are very disgusted with the system. However, it’s in the constitution. And so if we’re going to change it, then we’re talking about amending the constitution, which we’ve done before. But keep in mind, the people who would do it are people who are currently elected officials themselves, many of whom are from states where they’re looking, maybe I might want to run for the presidency one day and it would actually help me too, right?

So I don’t know how we would sort of get that groundswell. Because honestly, people are talking about in 2016 we’ll probably have crickets in 2017 and in 2018 and in 2019. And then in 2020 again, a certain portion of Americans are like this is a ridiculous system and we hate it. Then it goes away for four years.

PRESS: Good morning. I am Alex Bidell and I am from the Philippines.

We hold our presidential election every six years and like in the United States, there are more than 100 candidates who file a certificate of candidacy. And before the election proper commences, the names of the [inaudible] candidates are removed from the ballots.

So we’ve learned that in the United States, in this year’s election there are at least, 1,780 people who signified their statement of candidacy. So how do you handle this situation? Are their names still there in the ballot?

DR. GREER: Depending on I think the state in which they possibly declared, but no. We know that most people have never heard of any of these people. Right? And you have to get a certain threshold to actually show up on a ballot. So you may have declared your candidacy, but you are not on a ballot as a proper party. A recognized party.

There are lots of ways that you can write in particular individuals, but unfortunately, I think that goes back to an earlier question where it’s like the country and the institutions, mechanisms that create sort of how we run our elections are really based on a two-party system. Right?

The interesting thing, though, is there has been a conversation and I don’t know how this would happen because again it would be a constitutional amendment, but some people argue that because of the influx of money in campaigns these days. We know that essentially we’ve been dealing with this campaign for about a year and a half. Because of so much money and like the billions of dollars that it now costs to run for the presidency, we know that the sitting President has to start running essentially immediately after the mid-term elections. Right? So when Barack Obama got through the 2014 mid-term elections, or the 2010 elections, he essentially geared up for his reelection campaign for 2012.

Some people argue, well if we gave the presidency just six years, so it’s a one term of six years, we wouldn’t have to worry about someone spending essentially two years running for reelection. They could just get in and get the job done and then they leave. Right?

However, our Senators are there for six years and so it’s an interesting proposition, but I don’t know if that would happen.

PRESS: Good morning. [Inaudible], Suddeutsche Zeitung Munich in Germany.

There is one elector I think in Washington state that already said he wouldn’t vote for Hillary Clinton even if he had to. Isn’t he legally bound to the decision by the people, and could that be a factor?

DR. GREER: Yes. Again, we have never seen an election like this one before with such ire for a particular candidate. So tomorrow night let’s just say we’ve chosen a victor, right? All these things need to be confirmed. So I think it’s the second, the first Monday after the second Wednesday in December is when the electoral votes are properly tallied sort of officially, right? And then on January 6th is when Congress essentially sort of verifies the vote and the President and the Vice President are there. And then on January 20th is when we have our new President sworn in. Pending we know what’s happening.

So I’m sure an election lawyer would say, I’m not an election lawyer, but I’m sure an election lawyer would say he can tell us that he’s not going to pledge his ballot, but at the end of the day if he is sworn to be an elector and a delegate of that capacity, then that ballot will go to Hillary Clinton.

Keep in mind, the electors, each party has electors in each state, and because it’s winner take all, then all the Democratic nominee candidates in Washington state which is solidly blue, right, Hillary Clinton would get all of Washington’s. So it would be, I don’t know by whom, but it would definitely be signed by the Democratic electors.

PRESS: Good morning, thanks for coming. [Inaudible] of Japan, Sankei Shimbun.

A question to this little girl in you, for whom are you going to vote for? And can you tell us why? I just want to fathom the margin of error [with] your objective comments.

DR. GREER: Okay, so I don’t know if I’m a proxy for a lot of people. So who am I going to vote for? That’s usually an illegal question. But I’ll tell you guys since we’re friends now.

So I’m going to vote for Hillary Clinton largely because I think Donald Trump is a racist, homophobic, anti-Semitic, misogynist, anti-immigrant -- [Laughter] -- anti-Muslim charlatan. Who is actually a thousandaire, and I probably have more money in my checking account than he does. I don’t like the fact that he doesn’t pay his debts. I don’t like the fact that he didn’t expose his taxes. I don’t like the fact that he has hateful rhetoric. I don’t like the fact that he’s essentially reignited the Klan and people who wear confederate flags and people who carry guns to try and intimidate people of color.

Am I in love with Hillary Clinton? No. Am I in love with the Clinton family? Absolutely not. Do I see them as the lesser of two evils? No way. I see her, people are like well we need to shake up the system. We don’t like the status quo. Neither do I. However shaking up the system and destroying the country and the world are two totally different things. I think Donald Trump would sink this country in about ten minutes if it could make him an extra quarter. I do. I genuinely do and I really worry about the fate of the larger world because he’s never been successful with anything he’s ever touched. [Laughter].

PRESS: Good morning. My name is [Inaudible], I’m from Jordan.

I have a question of a global overseas dimension which is about the Middle East. That region now is having great problems, not to mention that terrorism, [inaudible], fragmentation, [inaudible], all these kinds of social evidences and diseases.

The visa process has been off the table for so long. I just want to ask you, is it because the focus has been shifted or diverted to other issues like countering terrorism?

Now my question to you as a political science professor, now are we going to see the visa process and two-state solution once again on the table? [Inaudible] Mrs. Clinton or Trump?

DR. GREER: I have no idea how either candidate would deal with the visa process or any sort of foreign policy. We know that Hillary Clinton was Secretary of State. She’s more of a Hawk than a Dove. So I have no idea. Donald Trump, we know that he has sort of issued, like he’s on a whim, right? One day he could be for it, one day he could be against it. So I genuinely don’t know.

PRESS: Thank you so much. I’m [Viktoria Kochanetski], the Voice of America, the Russian Service.

Can you talk about the actual process of calling a state? The counting, the mechanics of actually, what is the percentage when it’s enough to actually call a state? Because we all, and this is a self-serving question because I’m going to be on the air every half hour for five hours throughout the night. So we all watch CNN and Fox, and how reliable are their calling the states are?

DR. GREER: They have folks who have, again I think this goes back to the very first question which is based on exit polling data, based on past projections of a state, based on sort of different people that they have working in various centers who have said by this period X number percent of the people in this county who are registered voters have already voted. They can make all these projections based on these different factors, and then call a state.

Sometimes when it’s razor thin, like if you all remember Florida in 2000, they called it, then they had to not call it. Because part of the issue is every station wants to be the first to call the state. Right? And so you use your projections and your contacts and your percentages based on past behaviors and changing demographics of who’s there and who’s registered, and how many people early voted and how many absentee ballots you have, and you can sort of figure out how that is. But largely because I would say what, maybe 35 states, have solid behaviors where if these states sort of continue on with the behaviors that we’ve seen in the past several elections it’s pretty much guaranteed. We know how they behave. But I don’t think we’ll be calling Ohio early. I don’t think we’ll be calling North Carolina early. I don’t think we’ll be calling Pennsylvania early. But also though, those states, especially some place like Pennsylvania, they had a very contentious Senate race going on and so that Senate race will also drive people to actually come to Pennsylvania. Some people who probably don’t participate as often.

PRESS: So it’s not [inaudible]?

DR. GREER: For some places, especially with automated you can tell. Like okay, we have, let’s just say we have 10,000 registered people in this particular county. The votes that have already come in are 8,000. Based on what it is and our computer generated 6,000 one way, 2,000 the other. So we can pretty much project it that way.

MODERATOR: Unfortunately, we’ve run out of time. I’d like to thank Dr. Greer for coming this morning. As you know, her opinions are her own and do not reflect the U.S. government. Thank you.