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When American voters go to the polls on November 8, they will bring to an end an election cycle that has wholly captivated and sometimes shocked the nation. On that day, the United States will elect its 45th President, and the electoral college map will once again assume the shades of red and blue.

As of high summer, Hillary holds a commanding lead. But in an election cycle marked by unpredictable twists and turns, the tide may yet turn several times before polling day.

This special blog series, USA Decides 2016, focuses on the intersection between election coverage and political science, bringing together insight from our academics and students on an election posing a range of contested questions. How is electoral data changing? Will more blue-collar voters drift to the GOP column? What does this election say about the power of political parties? Can the centre-left hold on to power in a year defined by populism?

Join the Oxford University Politics Blogs to engage with our regular coverage. If you are an academic or student interested in contributing, please contact our editorial team through the contact link above.

The majority of forecasts point to Hilary Clinton winning tomorrow’s US presidential election. Several of the poll, market and expert forecasts with probabilities for who will win are helpfully summarised by the New York Times here.  The polls-based predictions are all, apart from one, pretty confident that Clinton will win. At the time of writing, Drew Linzer’s model at Daily Kos puts the probability of a Clinton win at 87%, HuffPost has 98% and Sam Wang at the Princeton Election Consortium estimate is as high as 99%. The New York Times’ own model is slightly less confident, on 84%. The exception is …

Casual observers and the millions who have tuned in to watch the Presidential debates might be unaware of the other important vote taking place tomorrow: cannabis legalisation. While the omission of any question on climate change during the three Presidential debates garnered widespread attention, the legislation of this soft drug was the second major absentee in the televised clash between Hilary Clinton and Donald Trump. On November 8th, US citizens will not only elect a new President; initiatives to legalise recreational cannabis are also on the ballot in five states. There is a good chance that disappointed Trump or Clinton …

The 2016 United States presidential election—or in John Oliver’s most recent definition: ‘lice-on-a-rat-on-a-horse-corpse-on-fire-2016’—has reached its final leg. As a political scientist and a computational text analyst, I cannot resist sharing my two cents on an election that has certainly broken a model or two. Following in the footsteps of two colleagues who recently produced two excellent articles (you can read them here and here), in this post I’d like to analyse a few examples of the exceptional language used in this elections cycle. Text analysis can help us understand two commonly held beliefs or facts (the distinction has become a …

The final Presidential debate of 2016 was as heated as the previous two—well demonstrated by the following name-calling exchange: CLINTON: …[Putin would] rather have a puppet as president of the United States. TRUMP: No puppet. No puppet. CLINTON: And it’s pretty clear… TRUMP: You’re the puppet! CLINTON: It’s pretty clear you won’t admit … TRUMP: No, you’re the puppet. It is easy to form our opinions of the debate and on the differences between the Presidential candidates on excerpts like this and memorable one-liners. But are small extracts representative of the debate as a whole? Moreover, how can we objectively analyse …

I recently spent a month travelling in the US and the word on the street is that Donald Trump could be the next president. Before the EU referendum earlier this year, I wrote about public opinion in the UK. At the time, most political pundits were predicting a remain result but there was a noticeable public sentiment to leave. Something similar is happening in the lead up to the US presidential election. While many political commentators still find it difficult to accept that Trump is a contender, many of the people whom I met on my road trip expect him to win. …

Donald Trump is probably not a Manchurian candidate planted by Vladimir Putin to disrupt the American political landscape. That is just the latest attempt to explain how, of all people, the crude thrice-married billionaire from the outer boroughs became the Republican nominee for President of the United States. While the “Trump as Russian sleeper agent” theory is far-fetched, several well thought-out explanations have caught on. Too often, though, these fail to explain why Trump specifically became the standard-bearer of the GOP and stands a shot at winning the election. The jump from “what is happening” to “why him,” is key …