Professor’s election forecast model used by the Wall Street Journal

Utah Valley University professor of political science Jay A. DeSart was recently quoted in the Wall Street Journal blog for an election forecast model determining a presidential victory for Obama in November. It was a model that DeSart and co-author Dr. Thomas Holbrook from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee created nearly 10 years ago.

The DeSart and Holbrook Forecast Model was first published in the International Journal of Forecasting in 1999 then further refined in 2004 and again in 2008.

The model, which is based on state and national polling data combined with state historical voting patterns, predicts that Obama will receive 51.81 percent of the national two-party popular vote to McCain’s 48.19 percent. In addition, it predicts that Obama will win the Electoral College vote, 336 to 202.

“The analysis that we put forth looked at data from the elections from 1992 to 2004, and shows that the model was able to correctly predict 90 percent of state outcomes, predict the national popular vote to within an average of 0.5 percent of the two-party vote, and predict the Electoral College vote to within 23 Electoral Votes,” DeSart said.

While several other forecast models predict the national popular vote of the presidential election, DeSart and Holbrook’s is unique because it also looks at the Electoral College.

“Ours is one of the only models that also generates a prediction of the all-important Electoral College vote,” DeSart said. “We can generally predict, usually with amazing accuracy, how the election will turn out a month or two in advance of the election. We’re able to do that because we are looking at state data — at least that’s the simple answer.”

The model was used by reporter Carl Bialik, also known as The Numbers Guy, of the Wall Street Journal blog in “The Wisdom of Political Crowds.” In his article he uses the DeSart and Holbrook Model to counteract a national Gallup poll and a seven-day rolling average of predictions from the Iowa Electronic Markets that gives Obama an eight percent lead over McCain.

To view the complete article, visit Read more about Jay A. Desart in Hooge’s Heroes.

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