Who Should Be Nominated to Run in the 2012 Presidential Election? Long-Term Forecasts Based on Candidates'’ Biographies

14 Pages Posted: 1 Aug 2011 Last revised: 28 Dec 2011

Andreas Graefe

Ludwig Maximilians University of Munich - Department of Communication Science and Media Research

J. Scott Armstrong

University of Pennsylvania - Marketing Department

Date Written: 2011

Abstract

The state of election forecasting has progressed to the point where it is possible to develop highly accurate forecasts for major elections. However, one area that has received little attention is the use of forecasting as an aid to those involved with political campaigns. In the run-up to the presidential primaries, we use the bio-index model to test the chances of potential nominees to defeat President Obama in the 2012 U.S. presidential election. This model uses the index method to incorporate 58 biographical variables (e.g., age, marital status, height, appearance) for making a conditional forecast of the incumbent’s vote-share, depending on who is the opposing candidate. These variables were selected based on received wisdom and findings from prior research. For example, several studies found candidates’ perceived attractiveness or facial competence to be related to their chances of winning an election. The model is particularly valuable for making long-term forecasts of who will win an election and missed the correct winner only twice for the 29 elections from 1896 to 2008. Thus, the model can help candidates to decide whether they should run for office and can advise political interests in deciding whom to support in the primaries and caucuses. The forecasts from the bio-index model are compared to forecasts from polls and prediction markets.

Keywords: elections, forecast, Obama, biography, index method

JEL Classification: D72, C43, C53

Suggested Citation

Graefe, Andreas and Armstrong, J. Scott, Who Should Be Nominated to Run in the 2012 Presidential Election? Long-Term Forecasts Based on Candidates'’ Biographies (2011). APSA 2011 Annual Meeting Paper. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1902852

Andreas Graefe (Contact Author)

Ludwig Maximilians University of Munich - Department of Communication Science and Media Research ( email )

Geschwister-Scholl-Platz 1
Munich, Bavaria 80539
Germany

HOME PAGE: http://www.andreas-graefe.org

J. Scott Armstrong

University of Pennsylvania - Marketing Department ( email )

700 Jon M. Huntsman Hall
3730 Walnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6340
United States
215-898-5087 (Phone)
215-898-2534 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://marketing.wharton.upenn.edu/people/faculty/armstrong.cfm

Paper statistics

Downloads
408
Rank
56,936
Abstract Views
2,278