Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Obama v. Palin in 2012? One Forecast is Already In

A month and a half ago, FHQ posted a link to and discussed a presidential election forecasting model built on candidate biographical information. The benefit of this model -- and it performs quite well stacked up against other forecasting models -- is that the biographical data exists now. In other words, you don't have to wait until the second quarter economic numbers are released or to wait on polling data from a particular period of time in the election year to put an accurate forecast together. [But hey, if you want to continue to come here and watch FHQ wade through the quadrennial polling data on the presidential race, we won't fault you. We here at FHQ may go so far as to encourage it.] I left off in that post urging folks to start scouring the biographical data on the prospective 2012 Republicans.

But why do that? Well, if you're patient, you'll be pleasantly surprised by an email from the authors of the original research. And lo and behold, one of those co-authors, Andreas Graefe (the other is J. Scott Armstrong), emailed me this morning to inform me that -- yes, that's right -- they've already looked at the Obama v. Palin numbers. How does Palin fare against the President?

[Click to Enlarge and here for the full description of the 2012 update at PollyVote.]

That nine point difference between the two candidates' biographical indicators translates to Obama carrying a 59.6% share of the two-party vote in 2012 if this was the match up (For some context, Obama received 52.9% of the vote in 2008 or 53.4% of the two-party vote). That's Reagan-Mondale territory and would likely make for quite the electoral college sweep for Obama.

But didn't you say that this model wasn't particularly adept at picking elections involving incumbents? (Ah, you followed the link and read the previous post, didn't you? Thanks.) That's right. Three incumbents with biographical score advantages lost re-election bids (to: Truman '48, Carter '76, Clinton '92). It has been done, then, but let's look a little more closely at those three elections. Carter and Truman had deficits of 5 points on the biographical index while Clinton trailed Bush by just three points. Palin's disadvantage against Obama is over twice the average deficit across those three incorrectly predicted elections, though.

That's a real hole to be in even before you start considering running for president. But back to my question from the last post: Who among the 2012ers does the best?

A special thanks to Andreas Graefe for drawing our attention to the updated 2012 outlook.

Recent Posts:
St. Cloud St. Poll: Obama leads Pawlenty in 2012 Horserace in MN

Twenty Ten or Two Thousand Ten?

A Follow Up on Palin and Winner-Take-All Presidential Primaries

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