PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — Billionaire businessman Donald Trump claimed a historic victory early Wednesday morning as the 45th President of the United States.
Trump’s Election Day victory may have caught some by surprise, as pre-election polls appeared to forecast a clear victory for Democrat Hillary Clinton.
Dr. Rachel Bitecofer is an assistant professor at the Christopher Newport University Judy Ford Wason Center for Public Policy. The Wason Center released a series of polls leading up to Election Day.
Trump claimed victory in the early hours of Wednesday after capturing the Electoral College — even though he trailed in the popular vote.
Speaking with 10 On Your Side Wednesday, Bitecofer says, “With the way America is laid out in the Electoral College, we have these high population densities, cities. But, ultimately, no matter how well you do in cities like that, you’re capped at the state’s Electoral College total.”
Bitecofer says the most recent example of a divide between the popular vote and the Electoral College is in the 2000 Presidential Election between George W. Bush and Al Gore.
With some votes still being counted in a few states, Bitecofer says it is unclear whether or not Clinton will hang on to her advantage in the popular vote.
“We know it’s going to be a very close margin,” Bitecofer says. “When (President Barack) Obama won in 2012 — of course he also won the Electoral College — he also had a 5-million vote margin over his opponent (Mitt) Romney.”
Bitecofer added, “We’re going to be looking at an electorate that is clearly divided.”
Bitecofer says one of her assumptions with the 2016 outcome is that pre-election polling models over-estimated minority voter turnout — especially in large cities — and underestimated white working-class voter turnout in rural areas.
Locally, voters in Virginia Beach turned down a referendum to extend light rail from Norfolk to Town Center.
Will Sessoms, who has on record supported extending the Tide, was re-elected Tuesday as mayor of Virginia Beach.
“The light rail caught us a little bit by surprise,” Bitecofer said. “We had ran a survey in conjunction with The Virginian-Pilot, and our data revealed it would be a 50-50 split.
“To see it rejected so decisively was a little bit of a surprise, but again, it’s ultimately about which voters showed up in Virginia Beach on Election Day,” she added.