(Huff Post) Two University of Colorado professors, one from Boulder and one from Denver, have put together an Electoral College forecast model to predict who will win the 2012 presidential election and the result is bad news for Barack Obama. The model points to a Mitt Romney victory in 2012.
Ken Bickers from CU-Boulder and Michael Berry from CU-Denver, the two political science professors who devised the prediction model, say that it has correctly forecast every winner of the electoral race since 1980.
“Based on our forecasting model, it becomes clear that the president is in electoral trouble,” Bickers said in a press statement.
To predict the race’s outcome, the model uses economic indicators from all 50 states and it shows 320 electoral votes for Romney and 218 for Obama, according to The Associated Press. The model also suggests that Romney will win every state currently considered a swing state which includes Florida, Virginia, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Minnesota, New Hampshire and Colorado.
The professors’ model shows a very different picture than what current data suggests. Currently, The Huffington Post’s Election Dashboard shows Obama with 257 electoral votes to Romney’s 191 with only six “tossup” states including: Colorado, Florida, Iowa, North Carolina, Ohio and Virginia.
Berry cautions that just because the model has worked in the past, doesn’t mean it will work this time. “As scholars and pundits well know, each election has unique elements that could lead one or more states to behave in ways in a particular election that the model is unable to correctly predict,” Berry said in a statement. Some of those factors include the timeframe of the current economic data used in the study (the data used was taken five months before the November election, but Berry and Bickers plan to update it with more current data come September) as well as tight races. States that are very close to a 50-50 split, the authors warn, can fall in an unexpected direction.
According to current data from The Huffington Post Election Dashboard, there are at least 13 states that are either dead heats or within a handful of percentage points in either direction.
This kind of Electoral College model developed by the Bickers and Berry is the only only one of its kind to include more than one state-level measure of economic conditions — both national unemployment rates as well as per capita income, according to a press release about the study from University of Colorado. Research suggested that voters hold Democrats more responsible for unemployment rates while Republicans are held more responsible for per capita income.
“The apparent advantage of being a Democratic candidate and holding the White House disappears when the national unemployment rate hits 5.6 percent,” Berry said. To which Bickers added, “The incumbency advantage enjoyed by President Obama, though statistically significant, is not great enough to offset high rates of unemployment currently experienced in many of the states.”