This is interesting..a University of Colorado study that has correctly predicted the winner of the last 8 elections says Mitt Romney will win in 2012:
The key is the economy, say political science professors Kenneth Bickers of CU-Boulder and Michael Berry of CU Denver. Their prediction model stresses economic data from the 50 states and the District of Columbia, including both state and national unemployment figures as well as changes in real per capita income, among other factors.
“Based on our forecasting model, it becomes clear that the president is in electoral trouble,” said Bickers, also director of the CU in DC Internship Program.
According to their analysis, President Barack Obama will win 218 votes in the Electoral College, short of the 270 he needs. And though they chiefly focus on the Electoral College, the political scientists predict Romney will win 52.9 percent of the popular vote to Obama’s 47.1 percent, when considering only the two major political parties.
“For the last eight presidential elections, this model has correctly predicted the winner,” said Berry. “The economy has seen some improvement since President Obama took office. What remains to be seen is whether voters will consider the economy in relative or absolute terms. If it’s the former, the president may receive credit for the economy’s trajectory and win a second term. In the latter case, Romney should pick up a number of states Obama won in 2008.”
This model correctly predicted all elections since 1980, including two years when independent candidates ran in 1980 and 1992.
The study is scheduled to be published in PS: Political Science & Politics, the journal of the American Political Science Association.
The Electoral College model developed by Bickers and Berry is unique reportedly because it's the only one to include more than one state-level measure of economic conditions.
Aside from state and national unemployment rates, the authors looked at per capita income. Their research indicates that voters hold Democrats more responsible for unemployment rates while Republicans are held more responsible for per capita income.
Their results show that “the apparent advantage of being a Democratic candidate and holding the White House disappears when the national unemployment rate hits 5.6 percent,” Berry said. The results indicate, according to Bickers, “that the incumbency advantage enjoyed by President Obama, though statistically significant, is not great enough to offset high rates of unemployment currently experienced in many of the states.”
In 2012, “What is striking about our state-level economic indicator forecast is the expectation that Obama will lose almost all of the states currently considered as swing states, including North Carolina, Virginia, New Hampshire, Colorado, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Florida,” Bickers said.
In Colorado, which went for Obama in 2008, the model predicts that Romney will receive 51.9 percent of the vote to Obama’s 48.1 percent, again with only the two major parties considered.
Needless to say, the researchers give themselves wiggle room.The data used in the current study was taken five months in advance of the election and Bickers and Berry plan to update it with more current economic data in September. Another factor they mention is that states very close to a 50-50 split could end up with an unexpected result.
Since I don't expect the economy or unemployment to improve between now and November 6th, it'll be interesting to see if Bickers and Berry make it 9-0.