Forecasting the 2016 General Election in Jamaica

Posted: 16 May 2016 Last revised: 27 Aug 2016

See all articles by Christopher Charles

Christopher Charles

University of the West Indies

Gleasia Reid

University of the West Indies (Mona), Department of Government, Students

Date Written: May 16, 2016


The objective of the article is to explain the methodologies and the findings of the 2016 Jamaican General Election forecasts. The Good Judgment Project’s CHAMPSKNOW system was applied using qualitative and quantitative methods. The research question was: what were the probabilities of the JLP or the PNP winning the February 25, 2016 General Election? The data was drawn from election results and macroeconomic variables from 1962-2016; polls from 1976-2016; campaign ads; election newspaper stories; constituency fund disbursements; and independent surveys in marginal seats. The results showed that the JLP also received more positive news coverage during the campaign. MPs who spent a large part of heir constituency funds on welfare were more likely to win. The PNP had more garrison, traditional and marginal seats than the JLP so the PNP had the edge. Moreover, the data from the independent surveys and the macro-economic analyses indicated the likelihood of a PNP win. The national polls revealed a statistical dead heat but the forecasts started with the governing PNP having a slightly greater probability of winning because of its active political business cycle. The forecasts were revised when the JLP narrowed the gap because the PNP refused to participate in the national debate, which generated negative news about the PNP. The final forecast said the election would be close with the PNP having the edge. However, the JLP’s tax plan was a wild card, which gave the party the edge with a one-seat victory.

Keywords: prediction, forecasting, election forecasting, CHAMPSKNOW

Suggested Citation

Charles, Christopher and Reid, Gleasia, Forecasting the 2016 General Election in Jamaica (May 16, 2016). Available at SSRN: or

Christopher Charles (Contact Author)

University of the West Indies ( email )

Kingston 7
Mona, Mona Kingston 7

Gleasia Reid

University of the West Indies (Mona), Department of Government, Students ( email )


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