Methods of Forecasting American Election Outcomes: Studies in Strategies for Prediction

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This interdisciplinary monograph analyzes presidential and legislative elections themes. Topics covered in the work include a critical discussion of all the forecasting models used in the past 20 years, and an examination of the forecasting of Presidential elections from an engineering and mathematical point of view, and actual mathematical equations between predicted votes and the polls.


“The present volume incorporates a variety of models, data, and political settings as part of an ongoing and vitally important project—understanding how democratic elections work, and how, as a consequences, we are governed. There is no more important issue for students of politics; the essays in this volume are thus a welcome addition to an ongoing and essential scholarly conversation. – Phillip L. Gianos, Professor of Political Science (Emeritus), California State University, Fullerton

“It is a nice example of how scholars from different disciplines can see a topic, and is likely to be read and used by others who will work on this subject.” – Prof. Scott, McClurg, Southern University of Illinois

“The research topics of all these chapters in this monograph are very essential and promising in the area of political science. The conclusions and recommendations shown in these articles can make a lot of contributions to the field of political science. The publication of this monograph will result in significant progress in the area of political science, especially in the area of election-related research.” – Uksun Kim, Ph. D., Assistant Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering, California State University, Fullerton

Table of Contents

Foreword by Philip L. Gianos, Ph.D.

1. Jay A. DeSart and Thomas M. Holbrook: A Tale of Two Models: The Desart and Holbrook State-Level Forecast Model in 2008
The Two Models
Slope Estimates
The Forecasts
The Rolling October Forecasts
Generating Win Probabilities
Updating the Model for 2012

2. Kalamogo Coulibaly and Brian W. Sloboda: Summative assessment of the Performance of Forecasting models in American elections Introduction
The Use of Regression Models in Presidential Forecasting Models
Accuracy of these Forecasting Models
Some Estimation Issues in Presidential Forecasting Models

3. Mark Pickup: The Next Generation of U.S. Presidential Election Prediction Models
The Model
McCain’s Predicted Proportion of the Vote at the National Level
The Predicted State Deviations from the National Vote
The Prediction(s) for the 2008 US Presidential Election
Model Extensions
Discussion and Conclusion
Tables and Figures

4. Chandrasekhar Putcha, Michele Gomez, and Gerald Bryant: Development of a Methodology for Prediction of a Winner in American Presidential Elections
Literature Review
Discussion of Results

5. Chapman Rackaway: Predictors of success in State Legislative Campaigning
Prediction in Campaign Scholarship
Sub-Presidential Prediction
State Legislative Elections
Predicting State Legislative Campaign Success
Data and Method
Modeling State Legislative Success
Discussion and Concluding Observations

6. Michael Smith: From the Gut: How Real-World Political Practitioners Make Judgments
Introduction: Political Predictions In the Field
Canvassing the Politicians
Gladwell: Blink, Don’t Over-think
J.D. Trout: Simple Algorithms Beat the Brain’s Ability to Confuse Itself
Daniel Goleman: Emotions, Memory, and Intelligence
Blink Judgments and Samuel Popkin’s Information Shortcuts
Expanding the Work of John Zaller: Emotions Adjust the Picture in our Heads
What Political Scientists Can Do, Part I: Stylized Facts as Aids to Decision Making
What Political Scientists Can Do, Part 2: Study the Factors Influencing Blink Judgments

7. William B. Tankersley, and A.G. Cuzan: Fiscal Policy and Vote-getting efficiency in Presidential Elections: A Data Envelopment Analysis, 1880-2008
The Fiscal Model: A Brief Summary
Data Envelopment Analysis (DEA): A Brief Summary
Evaluating Vote-Getting Efficiency
Statistical Results

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