Wednesday, October 17, 2012

U Of CO Study That Correctly Predicted The Last 8 Elections Updates, Still Says Romney Will Win

You might recall a piece I wrote back in August about a University of Colorado study that has correctly predicted the winner of the last 8 elections. Unlike most such studies, the model used by political science professors Kenneth Bickers of CU-Boulder and Michael Berry of CU Denver 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.

The track record on this study,published in the journal of the highly respected American Political Science Association is pretty impressive. They've gotten every election right since 1980, including two years when independent candidates ran in 1980 and 1992.

Back in August, Professors Bickers and Berry predicted a victory for Mitt Romney. They gave themselves wiggle room because the data they used then was taken five months in advance of the election, and they promised to to update it with more current economic data in September.

Well their update is out:

An update to an election forecasting model announced by two University of Colorado professors in August continues to project that Mitt Romney will win the 2012 presidential election.

According to their updated analysis, Romney is projected to receive 330 of the total 538 Electoral College votes. President Barack Obama is expected to receive 208 votes -- down five votes from their initial prediction -- and short of the 270 needed to win.

The new forecast by political science professors Kenneth Bickers of CU-Boulder and Michael Berry of CU Denver is based on more recent economic data than their original Aug. 22 prediction. The model itself did not change.

“We continue to show that the economic conditions favor Romney even though many polls show the president in the lead,” Bickers said. “Other published models point to the same result, but they looked at the national popular vote, while we stress state-level economic data.”

While many election forecast models are based on the popular vote, the model developed by Bickers and Berry is based on the Electoral College and is the only one of its type to include more than one state-level measure of economic conditions. They included economic data from all 50 states and the District of Columbia.{...}

The Bickers and Berry model includes both state and national unemployment figures as well as changes in real per capita income, among other factors. The new analysis includes unemployment rates from August rather than May, and changes in per capita income from the end of June rather than March. It is the last update they will release before the election.

Of the 13 battleground states identified in the model, the only one to change in the update was New Mexico -- now seen as a narrow victory for Romney. The model foresees Romney carrying New Mexico, North Carolina, Virginia, Iowa, New Hampshire, Colorado, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Florida. Obama is predicted to win Michigan and Nevada.

In Colorado, which Obama won in 2008, the model predicts that Romney will receive 53.3 percent of the vote to Obama’s 46.7 percent, with only the two major parties considered.

Like last time, the professors make a point of stating that that states very close to a 50-50 split may fall in what they term 'an unexpected direction.' But they still predict a solid Romney win.

My take? While I love the results shown, I think they're a bit optimistic.For instance, I see Mitt Romney winning either Ohio or Pennsylvania, but not both, and Barack Obama winning Minnesota. And I'm not sure about Wisconsin. That still gives Mitt Romney a win with 285 electoral votes even if Obama takes Pennsylvania, Nevada, Michigan, New Mexico, and Wisconsin.

And I wouldn't be at all surprised to see Obama losing a couple of those states, especially Nevada, where unemployment is out of control.

Personally, I see Romney winning the popular vote and getting something in the low 300's electorally,(I'll be making in depth predictions closer to the election) but this study, given its track record is definitely good news.

No comments: