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November 10, 2011

Why Obama Has a Better Chance Than Forecasts Suggest

Alan Abramowitz takes issue with Nate Silver's new forecasting model that shows the presidential race is essentially a toss up.

"First, it isn't really a forecasting model because the growth rate of the economy during the year of the election won't be known until long after the election is over. In addition, the measure of the opposition candidate's extremism is highly subjective... More importantly, Silver's model may underestimate Barack Obama's chances of winning a second term in the White House because it does not take into account the advantage enjoyed by first-term incumbents. And that advantage, as we have seen, is quite substantial."

Brendan Nyhan and Jacob Montgomery have similar concerns: "Ultimately, almost every analyst agrees at this point that it is still too soon to say with much confidence whether President Obama will win in November. In particular, there is still too much uncertainty about the state of the economy next year. However, both theory and data suggest that the conservatism of his opponent is likely to matter less than Silver's model suggests."


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