Like predicting the stock market based on the winner of the Super Bowl or a guide to selecting winning lottery numbers, some people have a model for predicting election winners.
From the New York Times: It is often asserted that elections are easy to predict and that the economy decides most of them….
But is it true? Can political scientists “predict winners and losers with amazing accuracy long before the campaigns start”?
The answer to this question, at least since 1992, has been emphatically not. Some of their forecasts have been better than others, but their track record as a whole is very poor.
And the models that claim to be able to predict elections based solely on the fundamentals — that is, without looking to horse-race factors like polls or approval ratings — have done especially badly.
Will the economy predict the outcome of this election? It is the issue that concerns North Carolinians the most.
— John Robinson
Different day, different poll. And worse ratings for President Obama.
Yesterday, the Washington Post-ABC poll reported sinking approval rates for the president. Today the New York Times-CBS poll puts an exclamation mark on those results. The question was the same as the Post asked last week and as we asked two weeks ago: “Do you approve or disapprove of the way Barack Obama is handling his job as president?”
The response in the Times-CBS poll: 47% disapprove, 41% approve.
The Times notes: The poll provides a statistical reminder of how unsettled and unpredictable this year’s political landscape remains. Just one month ago, Mr. Obama reached a critical benchmark by winning approval from 50 percent of Times/CBS News poll respondents, his re-election prospects lifting along with confidence that the nation was finally emerging from the aftermath of the Great Recession.
The Times-CBS poll also reflected continued disapproval of how the president is handling the economy. In its survey 54% said they disapproved and 39% approved. In the Elon Poll two weeks ago, 50% of North Carolinians disapproved and 43% approved. Since then, of course, gas prices have continued to rise.
Update: I added the word “maybe” to the headline, based on this from the Daily Kos, which has a left-of-center leaning:
Indeed, says Gallup: “Obama’s current approval rating is the highest measured since early February, and before that the highest since June 2011.”
You wouldn’t know that from reading what the NYT has to say, of course. And with PPP’s newest numbers for Daily Kos and SEIU, there are now two polls which say the president’s job approvals have moved up, not down, in recent days.
— John Robinson