Analysis & Comment

Opinion | The High School Sophomore Who Nailed the Electoral Vote

In late October we asked readers to make their election predictions and published a sampling of the more than 500 responses. Many readers predicted a Joe Biden landslide, others thought that President Trump would win the Electoral College and some rightly guessed that the results would be too close to call on Election Day.

We promised to highlight the letter that was most prescient. Raj Patel, a sophomore at John P. Stevens High School in Edison, N.J., correctly predicted on Oct. 26 that the winner would not be known on Election Day but instead several days later (he predicted a week; it was actually four days later).

While his popular vote margin for Joe Biden was overly generous and a few states voted differently than he predicted, he was the only letter writer who nailed the Electoral College count, 306 to 232 — assuming no changes because of recounts, lawsuits or faithless electors.

Raj told The Times on Wednesday that he wrote the letter for his U.S. history class after studying on his own how the candidates were faring in each state. He stayed up till 2 a.m. the night of the election, but had to wait a few days to learn how his prediction had put the pollsters to shame. He called it “a great honor” to be named the winner.


To the Editor:

With the election fast approaching, everyone loves to place bets on who will win. This year is a highly important election year and will determine if many of our country’s problems will be solved over the next four years. Thus, as the tradition goes, here are my predictions:

Winning states for President Trump are Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska (Democratic win in 2nd District), Nevada, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, West Virginia, Wyoming.

Former Vice President Joe Biden will win Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Maine (Republican win in 2nd District), Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin.

The electoral vote will be Biden 306 to Trump 232. The popular vote will be 68,313,800 Biden to 58,715,300 Trump. All in all, the election results will not be given the night of the election, but rather a full week later and will be consequential in the rest of American history.

Raj Patel
Edison, N.J.

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