With second quarter economic data now available, many of the typical political science presidential election forecasts are beginning to emerge. And this week seemed to be the time for their unveiling. Thomas Edsall, who is writing for The Huffington Post now, had a great run down of some of them earlier in the week and since then Seth Masket and Robert Erikson and Christopher Wlezien have released their numbers. Those add to the back and forth between Abramowitz, et al. and Campbell that I discussed in the electoral college post last Sunday.
Let's look at the numbers here and some of the impressions we can draw from them. [As a side note, I should add that I tried to track down some of the sources from Edsall's piece (Some forecasts have links while others do not.) and stumbled upon a special issue of the International Journal of Forecasting* focused on presidential election forecasts. Now, while the issue does not contain the actual forecasts, it does provide more than adequate insight into the models and debates within the forecasting area of the literature.]
Abramowitz, Mann and Sabato: Comfortable win for Obama (a Democratic environment, Democrats' party ID advantage, and recent state and national polls)
Campbell: Close election (Bush approval does not translate to McCain necessarily, McCain was the best-positioned of the Republican candidates to for the general election, open seat elections are close)
Erikson and Wlezien: Obama = 53% of the popular vote (based on state trial-heat polls and leading economic indicators)
Geer: Close election (electorate's comfort zone with candidate's foreign policy stances post-9-11, McCain is a good candidate for the GOP, the last two elections have been close)
Lewis-Beck and Tien: Obama = 50.6% of the popular vote (based on jobs growth and growth in GNP and including a correction for the race factor in the contest)
Masket: McCain = 47.7% of the popular vote (based on 2nd quarter real per capita disposable income)
Norpoth: Obama = 50.1% of the popular vote (based on support of major party candidates in the primaries among other factors)
I withheld Sandy Maisel's prediction because it doesn't neatly fall into either category, landslide or toss up. He sees an Obama win unless the Illinois senator does something to lose it. With that said, we have seven forecasts; 4 close calls (two unambiguously finding Obama winning) and 3 -- I hesitate to call them landslides -- more comfortable victories for Obama. Five of these forecasts see Obama wins, but find different margins based on the underlying factors included in their models.
I should also mention that there were two forecasting models discussed at this past spring's Western Political Science Association conference: De Sart and Holbrook and Gurian and Cann. De Sart's forecasting web page hasn't yet updated for the 2008 election, but the forecast is based on both state and national polls (While we're citing, I should go ahead and include Thomas Holbrook's blog (again) as well.). The paper that Paul Gurian -- an occasional FHQ contributor -- presented at WPSA wasn't intended as a forecast, but he and Damon do have a forecasting component to it. They are still waiting on another couple of factors to add in to complete the forecast portion, though.
H/T to The Monkey Cage for the head's up on the Edsall article and Erikson and Wlezien's latest forecast.
* The pdf files of those articles are gated (for purchase), but the abstracts should be available to those who, at the very least, want to check those out. Simply click on the title of the article to get the abstract.
VP Announcement Timing
5% of Democrats Say They'll Vote for McCain
The Electoral College Map (7/30/08)