INTRODUCTION Understanding the Unprecedented 2016 Campaign: Two Historical Candidacies Yield an Unexpected Result Benjamin R. Warner and Dianne G. Bystrom Four days ­after the 2016 presidential election, Sam Wang, a professor of neu- roscience at Prince­ton University and publisher of the Prince­ton Election Con- sortium site, ate a bug on national tele­vi­sion. On November 7, the day before the 2016 U.S. presidential election, Wired published a lengthy article in which they declared that Wang had replaced FiveThirtyEight’s Nate Silver as the true election data hero (Nesbit, 2016). How did Wang unseat the reigning king of po­liti­cal prognostication? It was the bold certainty with which he forecast the election—­Wang declared Hillary Clinton the victor on October 18, more than three weeks before the 2016 election. As explained in the November 7 profile, “Wang has been the intrepid election data explorer furthest out this election cycle, never once wavering from his certainty of a Clinton win” (Nesbit, 2016, para. 9). When the dust settled on November 8 and Donald Trump was declared the 45th president of the United States, election forecasters ­were left
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