The results are in for one Illinois university's famous mock presidential election, but the clear winner may surprise some.
Western Illinois University's mock election predicted a landslide victory for Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders, with running mate Martin O'Malley, in 2016. The predicted Sanders-O'Malley ticket garnered 404 electoral votes to Jeb Bush-Marco Rubio's 114 votes. In the popular vote, Sanders earned 741 votes (49 percent) to Bush's 577 (38 percent).
The famously accurate mock election correctly predicted the outcomes of the 2008 and 2012 elections, and the university claims it's the "largest and most elaborate mock presidential simulation in the nation."
The election was conducted over 10 sessions on the Macomb campus between Oct. 20 and Nov. 2, and thousands of students at the university participated. The sessions included simulations of the Iowa Caucuses and state primaries as well as national nominating conventions and the Electoral College vote. Throughout the process, students chose the candidates' running partners before taking the final presidential vote.
Illinois was among the few states that went red in the mock election. Iowa and Missouri were the other two Midwestern states that joined Texas, Alabama, Louisiana and Arizona, among others.
Although the race focused mostly on Sanders and Bush, the mock election also showed a slight turnout for the Libertarian Party's Lex Green (10 percent) and the Green Party's Jill Stein (3 percent).
The mock election was organized by Dr. Richard J. Hardy, director of the Centennial Honors College and a professor of political science.