Harry S. Truman Presidential Library & Museum

Predicting the 2016 Presidential Election Results
Jordan McGaughey
US History
Time Frame:
3 days
Grade Levels:
8, 9, 10, 11, 12

Classroom/Homework Activity to be performed:

Students will individually aim to use socio-economic and political data to determine and predict how each swing state will vote in the upcoming 2016 Presidential Election.  


Students will be evaluating data such as unemployment and education ratings for each state, how states have voted in recent Presidential elections, and examining which party controls the political scene in each state to provide an educated guess at how each presumed swing state will vote on Tuesday, November 8th.  

District, state, or national performance and knowledge standards/goals/skills met:


Missouri CLE’s:


1) Processes of Governmental Systems - SS2 1.10: Explain the processes pertaining to selection of political leaders.


2) Interpreting Various Social Studies Resources - SS7 1.5: Interpret maps, statistics, charts, diagrams, graphs, timelines, pictures, political cartoons, audiovisual materials, continua, written resources, art and artifacts.


Missouri State Standards:


1) Tools for Social Science Inquiry: Create and use tools to analyze a chronological sequence of events related to a study of government.


2) Tools for Social Science Inquiry: Create and use graphic representations in order to explain relationships and reveal patterns about government.


3) Key Concepts and Understandings: Analyze state and federal electoral results to determine the social, regional and demographic characteristics.


4) Key Concepts and Understandings: Evaluate factors that shape public opinions on election and policy issues.

Secondary materials (book, article, video documentary, etc.) needed:
Full description of activity or assignment.


On the first day, students will have the project packet distributed to them.  For roughly 10-15 minutes, I will run through the instructions for the project, how the project will be graded, how I would like them to construct their projects, and how they will need to submit/turn in their projects.  I will also review relevant resources that I would like students to use, such as 270towin, polls such as Gallup and Quinnipiac, and websites that refer students to socioeconomic data for each swing state as well as the political officials running the state (specifically the parties of state governors and US Congressmen for each state).  I will then tell students that they will not need to profile the “safe” states (states which will almost assuredly vote for Trump or Clinton such as California and Texas), but they will need to profile and prognosticate results for the states currently polling a difference of only 3-5 percentage points for each candidate.  


Once instructions have been given, students will spend the rest of class on the first day, all of the second day, and the first ten-fifteen minutes of the third day conducting research and determining their results.  On the third day, students will be asked to give a short 30 second to 1 minute presentation on their results and why they believe the results will occur in the way that they are predicting.  




Printable/Saveable Documents:


  1. Presidential Election Prediction Assignment Copy

Full explanation of the assessment method and/or scoring guide:


  1. Students will be assessed on their full completion of the project, with special emphasis being given to the quality of their explanations given as to why they chose the candidates they did to win each swing state and, ultimately, the 2016 Presidential election.  

  2. Students will also be graded on their brief presentations (for this, though, there will only be a small grade because their presentations will be relatively short).  Most of their grade, however, will come from the quality of the completion of their projects.