When Western Illinois University puts together their annual mock presidential election, some pundits tend to perk up and pay attention. After all, they accurately predicted Barack Obama’s presidential win in 2007, and his narrower reelection win in 2011, after the same system had been used to astonishingly predict every presidential election since 1975 with 100% accuracy.
The results of WIU’s 2015 mock election are in, and if you tend to take the mainstream media seriously, the results of that election will more than likely surprise you: Bernie Sanders won the presidency, then the general election… and he did both in a massive landslide.
The WIU mock election, in which thousands of students from multiple schools form parties and caucuses and play out a small-scale election over the course of several days, has Bernie Sanders beating Hillary Clinton in 22 out of 26 primary states; Hillary Clinton survives past Super Tuesday, but loses out before the month of March is concluded.
As Sanders’ running mate, the school picked Martin O’Malley, though WIU hasn’t had a perfect record with vice presidential candidates, nor with losing tickets; in 2007, they had a Barack Obama/ John Edwards, while saying the GOP ticket would be Giuliani/ McCain. The school made up for that however in 2011, when they (somehow) accurately predicted the losing Mitt Romney/ Paul Ryan ticket. Nobody saw that coming, but somehow, WIU’s students did.
The Republican student body put together a Jeb Bush/ Marco Rubio ticket for 2016, and if you thought WIU’s primary results were interesting, get a load of this: The Sanders/ O’Malley ticket creamsthe Bush/ Rubio ticket heavy-handedly, with a blow-out landslide win in which Sanders/ O’Malley takes home 404 electoral votes, to the measily 114 picked up by Bush/ Rubio.
Keep in mind, however, that the participating schools only usually accurately predict the next presidency; their record with picking electoral victories is about as shaky as their records with choosing vice presidential candidates and the candidates on the losing ticket.
Will WIU’s mock elections pull off a hat-trick? There’s no real reason to assume they won’t. If I were a Republican, this would certainly keep me up at night. Thankfully, however, that isn’t a problem I need to deal with.
With more than 400 Electoral College votes, the Democratic ticket — Bernie Sanders (president)/Martin O’Malley (vice president)—was declared the winner in Western Illinois University’s third Mock Presidential Election (MPE).
The Jeb Bush (president)/Marco Rubio (vice president) Republican ticket garnered 114 electoral votes.
Here’s the popular vote chart followed by a detailed explanation.
The latest Quinnipiac polling data indicates although Sen. Sanders is behind Sen. Clinton in the Democratic primaries by more than 30 points. He polls considerably better than any of the GOP presidential candidates, including current GOP front-runner Donald Trump.
“Sanders does just as well, or even better [than Clinton], against top Republicans.”
Sen. Sanders beats Trump by eight points, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) by one point, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) by five points, and retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson by 10 points, according to Quinnipiac.
Something to keep in mind: WIU’s system predicted Barrack Obama’s victory in 2007 and 2011. And then Sen. Obama (D-IL) was pretty much in the same boat as Sanders around this time in 2007. Obama was behind Clinton by 18 percentage points on December 14th through to December 16th in 2017.
The Vice Presidential Blemish
The WIU wrongly predicted that Pres. Obama would pick the Sen. John Edwards (D-SC) and not current Vice President Joe Biden. The calculations could have been made before the Edwards scandal, as many saw Edwards as the favorite to become either Obama or Clinton’s running mate.
That being said, there is some strong hope for Sanders supporters out there. Most Republican candidates have already dismissed Sanders and started campaigning against Clinton. A Sanders upset could throw the Republicans off balance.
And with the phrase “democratic socialist” becoming more and more popular, the Republicans could be left without a simple and effective attack to use against a genuine heavyweight policy wonk like Sanders.
A Sanders presidency could also see a huge shift in how people perceive the role of government. People recognize and resonate with the opportunity for real change in Washington. The WIU’s system hasn’t been wrong since 1975, and they predict the election of a self-described “Democratic Socialist.”