There are similarities with UK elections in that the election is 'indirect' with the President (in the UK the Government) chosen via Electoral Votes/Colleges. But there are big differences, most obviously in there being realistically only two parties. My gut feeling is that this makes it harder for voters to change allegiance than in the UK. (E.g. in the UK if one is dissatisfied with the Conservatives but unable to stomach voting Labour then there are many intermediate parties to vote for.) This and the supposed appeal of Trump to a certain type of person leads to my first experiment.
The first results I'd like to share are in the above graph. Here I've assumed the very simple scenario that people vote exactly as they did in 2012 but that some of those who did not vote in 2012 come out in favour of Trump. The horizontal axis is the percentage of non voters who will vote for Trump.
Key numbers are:
1. Trump needs 5.5% of previous non voters in order to get 50% of the popular vote. This does not make him President however. Although this also coincides with him getting a majority of states (26 out of 50 + DC) he only gets 253 Electoral Votes. To be President requires a majority of the 538 available.
2. With 8% of previous non voters he gets 50.85% of the popular vote, 28 states, and 286 Electoral Votes and thus becomes President. Going by swings in turnout from election to election this 8% is not easy but possible.
The nonlinearity in the problem, that becoming President is not simply a function of number of votes, is similar to the UK. In the UK the current significant bias in favour of the Labour Party is (will be?) easily corrected by boundary changes. Removing any bias is obviously not so simple in the US.
I am analysing the recent US election(s) and conducting some thought experiments to see what might happen this November. I'll post some results here. Please feel free to make suggestions for analyses and thought experiments.