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Came across this little nugget courtesy of the Twitter.

A University of Colorado analysis of state-by-state factors leading to the Electoral College selection of every U.S. president since 1980 forecasts that the 2012 winner will be Mitt Romney.

The key is the economy, say political science professors Kenneth Bickers of CU-Boulder and Michael Berry of CU Denver. Their prediction model stresses economic data from the 50 states and the District of Columbia, including both state and national unemployment figures as well as changes in real per capita income, among other factors.

"Based on our forecasting model, it becomes clear that the president is in electoral trouble," said Bickers, also director of the CU in DC Internship Program.

Now before you go discounting them, they claim to have correctly predicted the last 8 elections:

It also correctly predicted the outcome in 2000, when Al Gore received the most popular vote but George W. Bush won the election.
The model seems to stress economic factors above all else, not taking into account or deemphasizing approval ratings, likability, social issues...
In an examination of other factors, the authors found that none of the following had any statistically significant effect on whether a state ultimately went for a particular candidate: The location of a party's national convention; the home state of the vice president; or the partisanship of state governors.
They also make the claim that Pres. Obama will lose MOST of the swing states:
In 2012, "What is striking about our state-level economic indicator forecast is the expectation that Obama will lose almost all of the states currently considered as swing states, including North Carolina, Virginia, New Hampshire, Colorado, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Florida," Bickers said.
So don't start celebrating just yet!

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (10+ / 0-)

    The Republican Party is now the sworn enemy of the United States of America.

    Listen to All Over The Place - we play all kinds of music!

    by TheGreatLeapForward on Wed Aug 22, 2012 at 01:01:46 PM PDT

  •  Nonsense! (9+ / 0-)

    The truth is, this election could go either way because the few persuadables are so uninformed, they won't make up their minds until the last few days.

    My guess is, the deciding factor in this race hasn't happened yet.  It could be the debates, a huge gaff, Mitt's tax returns...  Something big will happen in the next 8 weeks and it'll be a surprise to everyone.

    We can tell how things are going on any particular day, but to claim you know who will win this far out, is silly.  Just look at the past several days.

    •  I agree (6+ / 0-)

      but just throwing this out there. Can't discount it just because we don't agree with the result.

      The Republican Party is now the sworn enemy of the United States of America.

      Listen to All Over The Place - we play all kinds of music!

      by TheGreatLeapForward on Wed Aug 22, 2012 at 01:11:41 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  We, may be you, but it is not me. :) (0+ / 0-)

        I did not criticize the results, I criticized the claim that anyone can predict the outcome of this race at this point in the race.  In order to make such a prediction, you have to predict how people will react to everything that will happen between now and election day.

        When people start claiming they know how people will react to things that may or may not happen in the future, I start claiming "nonsense".  Predicting peoples reactions to unknown events is more like astrology than science.

  •  You would think with their record (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    pollwatcher, sephius1

    we would have heard of this before.  After all, IF they have been correct since 1980 they surely would have tooted their horn before now.

    •  I don't think they made predictions back to 1980 (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mll, camlbacker, Supavash, Desert Rose

      I think they ran the various factors through their model for each of those election years and found that its predictions matched the outcomes.

      That said, I think it is something of a stretch to claim that in 2000 Bush "won" the election. It was handed to him by Supreme Court edict, nothing more and nothing less.

      •  That should be "contemporaneous predictions" n/t (0+ / 0-)
      •  Overfitting (6+ / 0-)

        Be very skeptical of any claim that a recent model explains "every election since XXX".   It is easy to construct a model based on prior data that will have no actual predictive power.

        Also ....since 1980?  Seriously?  That is only 7 presidential elections.   No economics based model can do very much with only 7 data points.

        I'll take Nate Silver over these guys.   He considers economic factors, he considers cultural factors, he considers recent polling, he considers prior polling bias, he is thoughtful about outliers and he predicts the odds that his model derives, not the outcomes, because that's all he honestly can do.  

        And no, his model won't "predict" every election back to whenever.  Many of the tools he uses (various economic indicators, certain questions asked in polling, how early polling is done, etc) are different or don't exist yet if you go back before even 2000.

        He's still seeing 2/3 chance of Obama victory, but the margin has narrowed since the Ryan announcement.  Good as that sounds, that means 1 in 3 elections, right now, Romney wins.   If he wins, we likely lose the congress for this cycle and the supreme court for a generation.

        That's a hell of a lot of risk on rolling a 1-2 on a 6 sided dice.   That's enough to make me freaking scared.

        •  So well done (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          A personal thanks for providing this model for rebutting the model. More has come on line (including from Nate himself). I love people who can think in straight lines. Bravo.

          I copied and pasted your thoughts here with attribution at two other blogs. Hope you do not mind.


    •  By "predicted" (7+ / 0-)

      they mean after the fact. The model is brand spanking new. It hasn't yet "predicted" anything that hasn't already happened. What they mean is that if you input the variables for the past eight elections, it generates a simulated result consistent with what actually happened. That's how political scientists often use the term prediction when discussing these models.

      FWIW, the study is here. [PDF]

      The authors' web pages are here (Bickers) and here (Berry). (Judging by his photo, Berry may not even have been born before the 1980 election.)

  •  Without commenting on the particulars of this work (10+ / 0-)

    There are DOZENS of "models" out there that can make plausible claims to correctly predict the outcome of infrequent events.

    If I flip a coin 8 times, with heads being Democrats and tails being Republican, I've got a 1/256 chance in throwing T T T H H T T H.  Doesn't mean my next toss will tell you anything.

    It wasn't too long ago that you could accurate "predict" elections by looking at the Super Bowl winner.

    You might want to read about overfitting on Wiki; also look up Nate Silver's writings on the subject.  

  •  It's tough to say without seeing the details. (10+ / 0-)

    But I'm skeptical of it for two reasons. Firstly, it considers absolute economic numbers as opposed to relative numbers. That means that they assume people will blame Obama for the bad economy, despite it improving since he came into office. Secondly, it uses only economic numbers, which aren't the whole story in elections.

    Considering Obama is leading in the polls, their assumptions seem to be off. If people only cared about the economy the way they assume, wouldn't Romney be leading currently?

  •  It's a pure Model driven prediction. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Given a) the Great Recession (which most people still pin on Bush), and b) the likability of Obama, and c) the cold fishiness of Romney, and d) we've got a Democrat with foreign policy/dead Osama cred... I think their model is for another time.

    Liberals: Taking crap for being right since before you were born. - Driftglass (and the amazing Professional Left Podcast at

    by briefer on Wed Aug 22, 2012 at 01:18:46 PM PDT

  •  Of course it's a plausible scenario. (7+ / 0-)

    If all the swing states would break Mitt Romney's way, it would be a 324-214 win for him.

    It's not out of the question.

    Yes, the economy is improving, but people are frustrated.

    But that's not the sole issue in this campaign.

    President Obama has a long list of tangible accomplishments, is a far superior candidate, has a better team, and is well-liked.

    Plus, he has more paths to victory than Romney does.
    In those states mentioned in your post, Obama could lose North Carolina, New Hampshire, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Ohio and still win.

    I'm not as confident as I was four years ago, but I'm still fairly confident.

    How about I believe in the unlucky ones?

    by BenderRodriguez on Wed Aug 22, 2012 at 01:18:57 PM PDT

  •  No matter (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    It gives the cons something to hang on to and this story is starting to gain traction.

    The model missed by an average of 20 electoral votes when applied to those prior elections, Bickers said. He said the formula employed in the analysis is unusual because it measures the states, rather than trying to predict a popular vote for the entire nation.

    The Boulder, Colo.-based Bickers acknowledged polls that have shown Obama consistently leading, both nationally and many of the states considered key to an electoral college victory. But he said that historically such early leads have not necessarily been meaningful.

    While there has been considerable “background noise” on other matters, Bickers said “the big driver in an election is the same driver—the economic performance of the incumbent party.”

    The Republican Party is now the sworn enemy of the United States of America.

    Listen to All Over The Place - we play all kinds of music!

    by TheGreatLeapForward on Wed Aug 22, 2012 at 01:20:36 PM PDT

  •  Predicting every election since 1980 (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    yet another liberal

    is no big deal.  Anyone who paid attention could have seen it would go Reagan, Reagan, Bush, Clinton, Clinton. Okay,  2000 was a wild card.  But then Bush and Obama were fairly predictable as well.  I agree about the economy but Romney is painfully unpopular even within his own party.  

    Kiss my ass--this a holy site

    by chicago minx on Wed Aug 22, 2012 at 01:21:39 PM PDT

  •  Nothing about the time of year or how close to (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    the other 8 election they supposedly made their prediction? They say they got the last 8 right? If so, they must have known the elections in 2000 and 2004 would be stolen? We are only talking about 5 presidents. Who couldn't call Reagan twice? So out of their last 8 elections, they had 2 easy ones, and two stolen ones. Which leaves 3. And with Obama 2008, and the other 2, it depends on what month they made their prediction. In other words, i don't see where their predictions are all that impressive.

  •  It doesn't change a thing. (4+ / 0-)

    Regardless of all the predictions and studies by the so-called experts, we'll have to work harder than ever to re-elect President Obama this year.

  •  How Stockbrokers Win Clients (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Bob Duck, MA Mom, Woody

    They divide their terrority in half. To one half, they say the stock will go up and to the other half they say the stock will go down. To the side that got the right prediction, they split them in half again. To one half, they say the stock will go up and to the other half the stock will go down. To the side that has seen two correct predictions, the split them in half again. They do this for several rounds. Eventually, a certain segment will see that the stockbroker was right five or six times in a row. These people will become the stockbroker's permenant clients.

    Moral: With so many people making predictions, by random chance there will almost always be some forecaster who has been right for many elections in a row. We tend to take to much stock in these forecasters. I would bet that given that in 1936 the unemployment rate was a lot higher than it is today, this same forecasting group would predict a Landon landslide.

  •  It was a 2009 study (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    chicago minx

    using data going back to 1980.

    It was only a predictor retroactively for more than two elections.

  •  In what universe (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mll, virginislandsguy, Supavash, badlands

    Is obama going to lose Minnesota?

    Santorum/Bachmann 2012

    by sujigu on Wed Aug 22, 2012 at 01:32:58 PM PDT

  •  The only way this "analysis"..... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    virginislandsguy, Supavash

    could ever come true is if every latino AND african american does not, or is keep from voting. Besides I've never heard of them.

    Nate Silver is acclaimed because OTHER statisticians have peer-reviewed his work and came to the same results. It is one of the reason that Kos is not including Gallup and Rasmussen in the DailyKos polls. Their methodologies underweight certain demographics more than normal.

    I need not thank the rich for the crumbs they have tossed me, rather, I curse them for the bread stolen from our tables. -- MinistryOfTruth

    by sephius1 on Wed Aug 22, 2012 at 01:35:05 PM PDT

  •  I didn't see the money factor in (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dfarrah, Woody

    that analysis.  Billions to elect Romney

    And, I didn't see the disenfranchised voters analysis in there either.  Hundreds of thousands who will not be allowed to vote for Obama.

    The religious fanatics didn't buy the republican party because it was virtuous, they bought it because it was for sale

    by nupstateny on Wed Aug 22, 2012 at 01:35:32 PM PDT

  •  to validate something like thise (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    they should hold out each election one time, run the model and then see how it does for the election not included in the modeling process.

    Doing something like that will also show you how stable the varibles are.

  •  ordinarily I would buy this (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TheGreatLeapForward, dfarrah

    The economy is terrible and voters usually punish incumbents for that.

    But Mitt Romney is the most unlikable candidate nominated by either party in that time period, with a very low approval rating for a challenger.

  •  When this is published later this month (0+ / 0-)

    it will be interesting to assess their methodology, and interesting as well to see their caveats. At this moment, this seems like a bit more hype than necessary.

    Real stupidity beats artificial intelligence every time. (Terry Pratchett)

    by angry marmot on Wed Aug 22, 2012 at 01:44:02 PM PDT

  •  There would have to be a 15 point turn a round for (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Romney to win Wisconsin and a 11 point turn around in Pennsylvania for Romney to win there. Now I'll take a look at the other swing states the diarist listed.

  •  Wait a f***ing minute (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TheGreatLeapForward, Supavash

    How could ANY MODEL using the economy solely as predictor have picked Bush over Al Gore?

    The economy in November, 2000, was very strong (or at least, we all believed it was).

    And furthermore, regarding these idiots on TV who say, "No President has been re-elected with unemployment over 7.5% since..."

    WAIT A F***ing minute...

    What has the post-WWII unemployment rate for every Presidential election? How many were OVER 7.5%?

    There were 3: Ford in '76, Carter in '80 and Bush 1 in 1992.

    Ford v Carter was close, and many people would argue, fairly persuasively, that had Reagan not gone after Ford so hard in the GOPer fight, he might have gotten a full term in office.

    Carter's problems went WAY beyond the unemployment rate. Skyrocketing inflation, Iranians with US hostages and a failed rescue attempt, general perception of weakness, Ted Kennedy going after him, Anderson in the race... The guy was toast.

    With Bush, two words: Ross Perot. If Perot hadn't been in that race, I think Bush wins a second term, fairly easily.

    Let me add a few other nuggets: No Democrat will be much above 50% in any poll at any time in the near future. The right-wing anger-pornography machine will never allow any "threatening" Democrat (meaning one who can affect policy) to tough 40% of the electorate now fully in the grasp of Fox News and Hate Radio, meaning a guy or gal would have to get 100% approval from the rest of the country to tickle 60%, and that won't happen.

    Also, what other President was every handed this kind of a shitstorm, honestly? Yeah, the U3 and U6 numbers suck, but the idea that we're anywhere near as bad off right now as we were in January, 2009 is held only by people so off in the fringe...well, you get my drift.

    And finally: no President has a bully pulpit worth spit anymore, given the 500 channels, the internet, the chattering class on steroids and the SuperPac billions.

    Our democracy has changed, fundamentally so, and unless and until the American people deliver a massive beat-down to one side or the other - and I mean MASSIVE - AND we find a way to weasel disinformation money out of politics at least a bit, we're done.

  •  Any word on whether Dewey will defeat Truman? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    You can call it "class warfare" -- we call it "common sense"

    by kenlac on Wed Aug 22, 2012 at 01:50:25 PM PDT

  •  there are a few economic models that predict (4+ / 0-)

    a Romney win. The most famous is Douglas Hibbs' Bread and peace model. Some of them discount incumbency and job approval, which is the basis for the better models.

    it is true that VP pick, convention state and debates matter less than GDP, job approval and incumbency.

    Intrade and Iowa electronic market disagree with this guy, as does Nate Silver as do the polls.

    so it goes.

    "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

    by Greg Dworkin on Wed Aug 22, 2012 at 02:00:51 PM PDT

  •  There would have to be a 10 to 11 point turn a (3+ / 0-)

    around in New Hamphire for Romney to win there. So I have listed 3 of the swing states where in order for Romney to win, he would have to overcome large numbers compared to 2008 to win. Wisconsin 15, Pennsylvania 10, New Hamphire 10 to 11. As far as the close states, like CO, Fla, Virginia and NC, the Latino and women vote will more likely carry those states for Obama. I say president Obama is more likely to carry all the swing states. Add in a little increase of older voters especially in FLA, I can say with confidence, Obama has a very good chance of winning all swing states.

  •  Social Security, Medicare and Birth Control Were (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    OrganizedCrime, Supavash

    never seriously at issue in those elections. Just reported today, seniors are only leaning Republican by 2% just now. That alone could give Obama the election.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Wed Aug 22, 2012 at 02:05:09 PM PDT

    •  In 2008, McCain won by 10 points over Obama (0+ / 0-)

      among seniors. A 2% margin now, means as it stands now, Republicans have lost around 8 points among them. And that's a large group. Obama's increase support among women, Latinos, and senior voters could actually negate a potential drop among younger voters. Plus in 2008, 27% of gays voted for McCain. I think that number will drop also. If Obama gets a 2% increase support from these groups, I can't see how republican can come close to winning.

  •  If the President loses the swing states, it won't (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Supavash, peptabysmal

    be because of the economy, or any prediction out of the University of Colorado, but because of the effective voter suppression laws of the GOP.

    "I cannot live without books" -- Thomas Jefferson, 1815

    by Susan Grigsby on Wed Aug 22, 2012 at 02:12:44 PM PDT

  •  Our model uses ALL the elections ever held (0+ / 0-)

    And is a parody to boot, but correctly predicted the last two elections based on everything through 2000 (including W getting away with the tie-breaker).

    For those of you who prefer Bartlett to Obama, re-watch the West Wing. For those who prefer Clinton, re-watch old news videos.

    by Ptolemy on Wed Aug 22, 2012 at 02:22:09 PM PDT

  •  The more well known predictive models have (4+ / 0-)

    Obama winning with around 300 EVs.  In addition, 538 also gives Obama somewhere between 65-75% chance of winning depending on which polls have been released.  In-trade has the President at around 57%.

    The growth in the stock market is also predictive and that favors Obama.

    The economy is becoming a neutral factor in this election.  August's numbers will determine how big a role it plays in the election, but Romney has essentially downplayed the economy since the July numbers, probably because the economic forecasters he consults say that the economy will be better in Q3 than in Q2.  With the Fed set to provide additional stimulus,  Romney decided to choose Ryan to turn this into an ideological choice election rather than a referendum election.  If August's numbers are similar to July's (and initial signs are decent), then Romney won't be talking that much about the economy in September.  When the Fed takes its expected action, that will also give a boost of confidence that will augur for stability rather than change.

    The way I see it, once we get through the convention periods, Obama will probably be up by around 2.5-3.5 points nationally and will be ahead in the majority of polling in 7 of the 8 battleground states.  From that point, Obama's registration and turnout machine will kick into overdrive and deliver a larger number of voters into the likely voter pool which will have the effect of expanding his margins.

    Romney is going to try to run a campaign to ratchet up his share of the white vote in order to offset Obama's strength among minorities.  That's why the women vote is so important.

    Alternative rock with something to say:

    by khyber900 on Wed Aug 22, 2012 at 02:26:32 PM PDT

  •  There are at least 4 of those swing states Obama (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    won by 10 points or more in 2008. Wis 15, Minn 10, NH 10, Penn 10. Romney would first have to overcome a 10 point lead in 3, a 15 point lead in Wis. And then win some of the states Obama narrowly won. I don't think Romney is in a better position than McCain, especially after offending all minority voters, women, seniors, gays, Muslims, which has resulted in increase support for president Obama since 2008. There will be a very high turnout among Latinos, because if they don't come out for Obama, close to 1 million Latinos will lose that 2 years. I think Latinos will come out around 70 to 75% for Obama. I can't see how Romney can win fairly. Maybe these pollsters are under counting some groups. Plus, people criticized the Bloomberg poll when they posted that Obama leads by 13 points about 2 months ago. I think they were right.

  •  Does the economic analysis include... (0+ / 0-)

    ...29 straight months of private-sector job growth?

  •  This is what's troublesome. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Today on NPR, I listened to people who were told that Mitt Romney is lying, and the fact checking that had occurred.

    Republican Mitt Romney keeps saying that President Obama has gutted the law, even though every major fact-checking organization says the attacks are false.
    But it didn't matter to the Wingnutters
    "We think that the fact that the work requirement has been taken out of welfare is the wrong thing to do," said Peggy Testa, attending a Tuesday rally near Pittsburgh for Romney running mate Rep. Paul Ryan.

    When told that's not actually what had happened, Testa replied: "At this point, [I] don't know exactly what is true and what isn't, OK? But what I do know is I trust the Romney-Ryan ticket, and I do not trust Obama."

    Another when told about the lies said this:
    "I think we always have to look at who the fact checkers are," Ken Mohn said. "There's lots of ... groups that purport themselves to be neutral, nonpartisan, but often are partisan"
    So it's really not about anything except hating Obama.

    Remember, you can't have crazy without az.

    by Desert Rose on Wed Aug 22, 2012 at 06:38:27 PM PDT

  •  These are the same moronic quants (0+ / 0-)

    who project interest rates and control the vigorish on Wall Street.

    I've worked with these guys. They are drooling idiots! Trust me ... I've seen more than one of them drool at lunch and not be able to catch it with their napkins.

    These are guys that don't understand humans in herds since they are disconnected loners.  

    "A pride of lions" "A murder of crows" "A wunch of bankers"

    by Glinda on Wed Aug 22, 2012 at 09:05:52 PM PDT

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