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Jason Holliston
Tuesday, November 02, 2004  
Final Presidential Vote Equation Numbers

This is something I posted about a couple months ago, but it bears repeating on Election Day. Ray C. Fair, a professor of economics at Yale, has an equation for predicting the popular vote for presidential elections based off results over most of the last century. It has proven to be very accurate, but certainly isn't infallible, as he points out.

So, for what it's worth (and it's definitely worth something), he has given us the final results of his equation, based upon three factors that he's found makes a majority of the difference in presidential elections: growth, inflation, and a variable called "goodnews". Here it is:

The predictions of GROWTH, INFLATION, and GOODNEWS for the previous forecast from the US model (July 31, 2004) were 2.7 percent, 2.1 percent, and 2, respectively. With the release of the NIPA data on October 29, 2004, all the actual economic data are available for the vote prediction. The actual values (as of October 29, 2004) of GROWTH, INFLATION, and GOODNEWS are 2.9 percent, 2.0 percent, and 2, respectively.

Given that the actual economic values are close to the values used for the previous vote prediction, the current vote prediction is little changed. The new economic values give a prediction of 57.70 percent of the two-party vote for President Bush rather than 57.48 percent before.

With the real, honest-to-God results coming out in only seven hours, what's the point? I believe it to be this: if John Kerry does win, it will represent one of the greatest collapses of a re-election bid ever in U.S. presidential politics. Or, you could turn that around and say it represents a fantastic campaign by Senator Kerry, but I'm trying to be serious here.

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