Electoral College computer model predicts loss for Barack Obama and the Democratic Party
A model which has foretold the correct results of the Electoral College selections in U.S. Presidential elections since 1980, has predicted a loss for Barack Obama and the Democratic Party.
The forecast was made by two professors at the University of Colorado who used economic data and unemployment figures from each state to predict a Republican win come November.
Political science professors Kenneth Bickers and Michael Berry’s study predicts 218 electoral votes for Barack Obama and 320 for Mitt Romney with the Republican candidate winning every seat currently considered to be on the fence.
The prediction model uses economic data from all 50 states and the District of Columbia, including income per capita and both state and national unemployment figures.
The research concluded that U.S. voters blame Democrats for high unemployment rates but hold Republicans more responsible for low per capita income.
It also showed that the advantage of holding the White House disappears for Democratic candidates when the national unemployment rate hits 5.6%.
“Based on our forecasting model, it becomes clear that the president is in electoral trouble,” Prof. Kenneth Bickers said.
The professors’ analysis concluded that Mitt Romney would take home all swing states including Florida, Virginia, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Minnesota, New Hampshire and Colorado.
Colorado voted for Barack Obama in 2008 but the current president is predicted a marginal loss at 48.1% against Mitt Romney’s 51.9%, although with the caveat that only the two major parties were considered.
Although the economy has improved under Barack Obama, Prof. Michael Berry said in a statement that it remains to be seen whether voters will consider the economy in relative or absolute terms.
“If it’s the former, the president may receive credit for the economy’s trajectory and win a second term. In the latter case, Romney should pick up a number of states Obama won in 2008,” Prof. Michael Berry said.
Although the model devised by Prof. Michael Berry and Prof. Kenneth Bickers has predicted the correct results of eight consecutive presidential elections, the data used for analysis was collected in June.
An update with figures from September is due next month which the team said could have a completely different outcome.
The results of the model’s calculations are in stark contrast to current polling data. The New York Times’ latest figures for the Electoral College selections forecasts a blue win with 282.6 electoral votes for Barack Obama and 255.4 for Mitt Romney.
Although the figure is well above the 270 electoral votes President Barack Obama needs to hold on to his presidency, it is a decrease by 12.8 seats since the last figures on August 15.
While the race remains a dead heat, a new AP/GfK poll out today says that most Americans expect Barack Obama to retain the presidency.
Overall, registered voters are about evenly split, with 47% saying they plan to back Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden and 46% favoring Mitt Romney and Republican Paul Ryan of Wisconsin.
About one in four voters say they are undecided or could change their minds between now and November 6.
The contours of the race are little changed from June, when an AP-GfK survey showed 47% of voters backing Barack Obama and 44% siding with Mitt Romney, suggesting Romney’s decision earlier in August to tap Paul Ryan as his running mate was not the game-changing event he may have desired.
Both campaigns have been competing fiercely for a small sweet spot in the middle of the electorate: Independent voters who say they don’t lean toward either party.
Mitt Romney holds a narrow lead among that group with 41%, compared to 30% for Barack Obama.
But few think the Romney-Ryan ticket will win in the end.
Asked to predict the race’s outcome, 58% of adults say they expect Barack Obama to be re-elected, whereas just 32% say he will be voted out of office.
Even among those who say they have a great deal of interest in following the campaigns’ bitter back and forth, a majority expect Barack Obama to win.
Partisans generally expect their own candidate to win, though Republicans are less sure about Mitt Romney than Democrats are about Barack Obama – 83% of Democrats say Barack Obama will be re-elected while 57% of Republicans think he’ll be voted out of office.
Among those Republicans who think Barack Obama may pull out a victory is Catherine Shappard, a 78-year-old from Dallas.
Catherine Shappard said all of her friends agree that Mitt Romney would be a better president, yet she’s alarmed to hear even conservative commenters say Barack Obama has a good shot at re-election.
“I think it’s close,” Catherine Shappard said.
“A lot closer than I’d like it to be.”
The perception that Barack Obama has the advantage could cut both ways.
On the one hand, people like to vote for a winner, so if voters think Barack Obama will win, they may be more inclined to cast their lot with him.
On the other hand, it could backfire for Barack Obama and help Mitt Romney if it drives down turnout among Democrats.
If Barack Obama’s supporters think the race is in the bag and their vote isn’t necessary, they may stay home.
But if, like Catherine Shappard, voters suspect the race is close, they’ll be more likely to cast a ballot, said Patrick Murray, a political analyst at Monmouth University.
“It’s less important who people think will win than if they think it’s a close race,” said Patrick Murray.
After just over one week on the campaign trail, Mitt Romney’s running mate remains unknown to about a quarter of voters.
Paul Ryan is viewed favorably by 40% of registered voters, while 34% see him unfavorably.
Barack Obama’s running mate and current Vice President Joe Biden, has come under scrutiny in recent weeks for a string of gaffes he made during campaign stops.
On August 14, Joe Biden told a Danville, Virginia, audience that included hundreds of black people: “[Romney] said in the first 100 days he’s going to let the big banks write their own rules, unchain Wall Street. They’re going to put y’all back in chains.”
Less than 24 hours later, Joe Biden appeared to be off by 100 years when he asked another Virginia crowd: “Folks, where’s it written we cannot lead the world in the 20th century in making automobiles?”
While Mitt Romney’s campaign strategy has been to hammer at Barack Obama on job creation and his fiscal policy, Obama has been going demographic by demographic in an effort to woo voters.
The president has alternately tailored his campaign speeches and his ad campaigns to women, older voters and, most recently, new young voters who may not have been old enough to cast a ballot four years ago.
In each case, Barack Obama has used Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan as foils, arguing that their policies would limit women’s health care choices, force seniors to pay more for Medicare and cut back on student loans.
Barack Obama’s appeal to female voters got an unexpected boost by the eruption of dismay over Missouri Senate candidate Todd Akin’s remarks about rape and abortion, prompting an unexpected debate on that social issue.
The president’s campaign also enlisted the help of former President Bill Clinton with a TV ad blitz on the economy.
In the ad, Bill Clinton speaks directly to the camera and says voters face a “clear choice” over which candidate will return the nation to full employment.
“We need to keep going with his plan,” Bill Clinton says of Barack Obama in the ad, which will run in eight battleground states.
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