Saturday, February 27, 2016

Interesting prediction of Trump victory

I thought this was interesting when I read it, and I just want to post it here so I can find it later on in the election cycle.

Professor Helmut Norpoth, at Stony Brook University, claims to have developed a statistical model for correctly forecasting American presidential elections. His method apparently correctly forecast the elections from 1996 onward, and when data for past elections was plugged into it, it "chose" the actual winner of every election since 1912, with the exception of 1960. (Interesting exception!)

Norpoth began the presentation with an introduction of the potential matchups in the general election, including a hypothetical Sanders vs. Trump general election.

“When I started out with this kind of display a few months ago, I thought it was sort of a joke.” Norpoth said referring to Trump and Sanders, as many alumni in the audience laughed. “Well, I’ll tell you right now, it ain’t a joke anymore.”

As the presentation continued, laughter turned to silence as Norpoth forecasted a 61 percent chance of a Republican win in the general election....

Norpoth then added data from the New Hampshire and South Carolina primaries to narrow down the forecast to specific candidates. As he brought up the first slide with matchup results, the silence was broken by muttering from the audience.

“Trump beats Hillary 54.7 percent to 45.3 percent [of the popular vote]. This is almost too much to believe.” Norpoth said, with a few members of the audience laughing nervously. “The probability of that [outcome] is almost complete certainty, 97 percent. It’s almost ‘Take it to the bank.’ ”

The primary model predicts a Trump victory with such certainty due to Trump’s relatively high success in the Republican primaries, Norpoth said. Clinton, in comparison, is in an essential tie with Sanders in the Democratic primaries. As a result, Sanders would also lose to Trump in a similar landslide if Sanders were to be the Democratic nominee, Norpoth said.
It'll be interesting to see if his model holds up as the election approaches. It seems to me very risky to be coming out with a prediction like this so early, which leads me to think that he must be looking at the likelihood of a blowout for Trump. Just as ridings can be "called" for a candidate with only 5% of returns counted if the margin of victory is big enough, his model must be showing such overwhelming results, he isn't even bothering to wait for Super Tuesday. It could be a gimmick, of course, just to get attention. But if I had a record of near 100% accuracy, I'd think twice before throwing it away just to gain some short term notoriety.

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