Latest Take On The United States Upcoming Presidential Election

Posted By on October 24, 2012

Here is an interesting new projection of the presidential election.  It comes from John Mauldin’s ‘Thoughts From The Front Line’ ….it looks like a toss up to us!

According to Bickers and Berry’s analysis, Romney is projected to receive 330 of the total 538 Electoral College votes. President Obama is expected to receive 208 votes – down five votes from their initial prediction and well short of the 270 needed to win. The focus of their study is on state-level economic stress. I think the approach of using economic-stress models to predict election outcomes is a very interesting one. Their model was within five electoral votes in Obama’s 2008 trouncing of McCain.

In addition to state and national unemployment rates, the authors analyzed changes in personal income since the prior presidential election. Research shows that these two factors, unemployment and income, affect the major parties differently: voters hold Democrats more responsible for unemployment rates, while Republicans are held more responsible for fluctuations in personal income. Accordingly – and depending largely on which party is in the White House at the time – either factor can either help or hurt the major parties disproportionately.

The authors also provided caveats. Their model had an average error rate of five states and 28 Electoral College votes. Factors they said might affect their prediction include the timeframe of the economic data used in the study and the fact that states very close to a 50-50 split might fall in an unexpected direction due to factors not included in the model. Right now their study is an interesting curiosity, but if it is as close to right this time as it has been in some past elections, it might have a serious impact on future campaigns. You can see the full report and their data at http://www.colorado.edu/news/releases/2012/10/04/updated-election-forecasting-model-still-points-romney-win-university.

I should note that PS: Political Science & Politics, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Political Science Association, has published collections of presidential election models every four years since 1996, but this year the 13 featured models showed the widest split ever in outcomes. Five predict an Obama win, five forecast a Romney win, and three rate the 2012 race as a toss-up. As with economic models and austerity programs, you can find something that makes the case for your favorite candidate. Serious data wonks and political junkies (I am both, so doubly cursed) can revel in all 13 models at http://journals.cambridge.org/action/displayJournal?jid=PSC.

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