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Renowned Political Analyst Discusses 2016 Election at LVEDC Event

By Colin McEvoy on December 2, 2016

Chris Borick of Muhlenberg College discussing the election at the LVEDC Conversation and Cocktails event.

Chris Borick of Muhlenberg College discussing the election at the LVEDC Conversation and Cocktails event.

One of the foremost political analysts in the state of Pennsylvania provided his insights into the 2016 presidential election during the Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corporation’s (LVEDC) final Conversation & Cocktails event of the year on Thursday.

Chris Borick, professor of political science at Muhlenberg College and Director of the Muhlenberg College Institute of Public Opinion, weighed in on the historic election, in which Donald Trump was elected President and Hillary Clinton became only the fifth person in U.S. history to win the popular vote while losing the electoral college.

“No matter which side of the aisle you fall on, this was a historic election,” Borick told a crowd of about 75 people at Muhlenberg College’s Moyer Hall in Allentown. “This was an incredibly close election by any standard you want. You witnessed history with this election.”

Chris Borick

Chris Borick

Although Trump won the electoral college vote by a projected tally of 306 to 232, Clinton won the popular vote by a margin of about of more than 2.5 million votes (as of Dec. 2), the largest popular vote margin in history for a candidate who failed to win the electoral college.

“A shift of just over 100,000 votes out of 130 million votes would have given Clinton the win,” Borick said.

The Conversation and Cocktails series gives LVEDC investors the opportunity to have targeted interaction with members of the legislative body in an intimate setting to discuss pressing economic issues. U.S. Sen. Bob Casey, U.S. Rep. Charlie Dent, and state Rep. Ryan Mackenzie also hosted events from this series earlier in the year.

Borick although the gender gap in the election was impressive, it was not dramatically different than previous elections, Clinton won among female voters 54 percent to 41 percent, while Trump with male voters by 52 percent to 41 percent.

That margin did not prove to be the deciding factor Clinton had hoped for, according to Borick, who said Clinton’s gap would have needed to be closer to 18 to 20 percent for her to win the Presidency.

Clinton also failed to make the gains expected among non-college-educated white women, where Trump won 61 percent to 34 percent, Borick said.

“That was the group there was anticipation that Clinton would do better,” he said. “Nobody thought she would win that group, but some of the pre-election polls thought she would perform significantly better.”

Clinton won among white college-educated women 51 percent to 44 percent, according to Borick, and won among non-whites by 74 percent to 21 percent. Trump prevailed among white college-educated men 53 percent to 29 percent, and among white non-college-educated men 71 percent to 23 percent.

Pennsylvania went to Trump 49.8 percent to 47.6 percent, a margin of about 75,000 votes over 5.7 million cast. Borick said only 3 out of 67 counties in the state switched from Democratic to Republican: Northampton, Luzerne, and Erie. Chester County was the only one that switched in the other direction.

Clinton led in suburban Philadelphia areas by about 70,000 votes, which Borick said most analysts – including himself – gave her a lead in the state that they believed Trump could not overcome. But Trump did so by flipping a large number of working class Democrats and bringing out impressive turnout among the working class white population elsewhere in the state.

“Mathematically, I would have said that was a long-shot,” Borick said. “But his turnout levels were off the chart.”

The Conversations and Cocktails series is sponsored by Air Products. For more information about upcoming LVEDC events, visit and bookmark lehighvalley.org/events.

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