Computer models predict Obama victory

This is interesting.

Using computer forecast models, political scientists predict Sen. Barack Obama will win the popular vote presidency over Sen. John McCain on Nov. 4. Of course, the winner of the popular vote does not always win the presidency; it is the Electoral College that picks the winner.

Here’s the full press release from the American Political Science Association:

Forecast models developed by prominent political scientists, some made as much as nine months ago, predict a victory for Senator Barack Obama over Senator John McCain in the two-party contest for the popular vote in the 2008 U.S. presidential election.

Obama is predicted to win an average of 52% of the vote with an 80% probability that he will gain more than half the total two-party popular vote. Six out of the nine presidential election forecasts predict an Obama victory with popular vote totals ranging from 50.1% to 58.2%, while two predict a race too close to call and one predicts a narrow McCain victory.

All of the predictions appear in an election-themed symposium in the October issue of PS: Political Science and Politics, a journal of the American Political Science Association (APSA). The forecasts are based on different combinations of statistical and historical data and differ in their complexity and how far in advance their predictions were made.

The earliest forecast was made 294 days in advance while the latest was made 60 days before the election; however, all were made before the Wall Street financial crisis of the past few weeks.

Together these forecasts use a range of approaches and indicators that are critical to understanding national electoral processes and the dynamics at work in U.S. presidential elections.

Lisa Vorderbrueggen

  • Lisa – You should take a look at FiveThirtyEight.com. Much more detailed statistical analysis of the polling data, updated every day. Nate (the guy behind the site) weights each poll based on past performance, consistency and other factors, then runs 10,000 simulations of the election based on that data.


  • Lisa Vorderbrueggen

    I had heard about this site a few days ago from a high-tech colleague of mine, so thanks for reminding me to check it out.

    As of a few minutes ago, FiveThirtyEight.com says Obama is winning 345 electoral votes to McCain’s 193. I’m going to add this site to my favorites and track it … if Nate’s right, this will be a blow-out.

  • Brian Lawrence

    Nate’s already been right about the Tampa Bay Rays and the Dem primaries in NC and Indiana.

  • Alex

    Love 538. I went there for the numbers but stayed for their coverage of the campaigns’ ground games.