Another Election Prediction from the Dismal Science


Bush wins with 57.5 percent of the vote, predicts the Presidential Vote Equation. The equation is the brainchild of Yale University economist Ray C. Fair. Bushies shouldn't break out the champagne just yet because there are, of course, a few caveats.

My gratitude to Russ Harris for the link.

NEXT: The Things They Parried

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  1. Meh… I read about this last week. It still didn’t prevent me from wagering $20 with a pro-Bush friend over the weekend on the outcome of the election.

    Fair’s equation seems great on paper, but the results seem divorced from reality.

  2. Breaking News: CNBC just reported that Bush has called for a cessation to the “swift boat ads”.

  3. no rick, Bush repeated his lame “end all 527 ads” line and couldn’t bring himself to mention the SBVT by name, even when asked specifically…same old story, same old song and dance

  4. thoreau,

    Actually, if you dig into his web site, you find that his equation actually predicted that Gore would win the two-party popular vote by 50.8%. Gore won the two-party popular vote by 50.3%, well within the standard error of 2.15%.

    So what you suggest has already happened, albeit four years ago.

  5. Wow. Just wow. The analysis freely admits that job growth is completely absent from the economic outlook factors on which it is based. …not that a typical mediot is making it to paragraph four of the caveats to read that. Are voters more concerned with ouput growth or job growth? We shall see, sayeth regression analysis.

    Oh, and in paragraph six we learn that the regression was tried many times until arriving at a result deemed worth of publication.

  6. Hey, uberkind,

    The author makes it very clear, on multiple pages, that his equation is likely to have many pitfalls.

    Regression analysis relies or prior information, and the test of any mathematical model is, “how well does its predictions mirror real life?” The author is stringently honest about this. The model has done strikingly well in predicting all previous elections from 1916 until 2000. The author does note that a change in voting habits, or a change in perceptions, could lead to a failure in the model.

    Regression is a great tool for interpolation, and (very) near extrapolation. I wouldn’t trust his model to predict an election 50 years from now, but that’s not what he’s doing.

    Your points were all made by the author himself, so not much has really been added to the discussion (except for people who actually read the whole site).

    Note I’m not disagreeing with you, but your statements could be mischaracterized to imply that the author was not on the level regarding the nature of his predictions. He also takes great pains to dissociate himself from either political party, and has, since 1978, when he first published the equation.

    As far as splitting job growth from overall output growth, the model, in the past, has not required such a split to be accurate. It’s certainly a possibility that such a split could become important enough to throw the result this time around, in which case, the model will be modified, and tested to make it more accurate using the newly acquired data.

  7. Bush repeated his lame “end all 527 ads” line

    Bush *would* like to see all 527 ads end. The Democrats have an edge where 527s are concerned; Bush would happily see the end of the SVBT ads if MoveOn’s ad campaign also went away. But it’s hard to see why his request is “lame” and Kerry’s equally self-serving demand isn’t.

    and couldn’t bring himself to mention the SBVT by name, even when asked specifically

    Bush can no more order SVBT to stop running ads than he could order them to *start* running the ads in the first place. Coordination between candidates and 527s is illegal. Futhermore, there is no ethical, moral, or political justification for insisting that the SVBT ads end while other 527 ads are allowed to continue, so even if Bush *could* issue a “stop” order to SVBT there would be no reason for him to do so.

  8. MY MODEST PREDICTION: The election will be close but not as close as 2000, the winner probably winning by about a million votes or a one percent margin. If the third party candidates rack up about three percent, that means either Bush or Kerry will claim victory with roughly 49% of the vote.

  9. “Bush can no more order SVBT to stop running ads than he could order them to *start* running the ads in the first place.”-Dan

    Precisely, Kerry and his people assume Bush is behind the SwiftVets and behave as if it is a known fact by demanding he order them to stop. Bush cannot accede to that demand (especially if it is true, given the current law),Kerry’s supporter call Bush’s defiance proof of evil intent. A cute win-win propaganda scenario by Kerry and his people, but quite dishonest.

    Here is a full version of what Bush said with regard to 527s:

    “I haven’t seen the ad, but what I do condemn is these unregulated, soft-money expenditures by very wealthy people, and they’ve said some bad things about me. I guess they’re saying bad things about him. And what I think we ought to do is not have them on the air. I think there ought to be full disclosure. The campaign funding law I signed I thought was going to get rid of that. But evidently the Federal Election Commission had a different view.” – Pres. Bush

    The supposed justification for McCain-Feingold was that large money contributions to campaigns and political parties are effectively bribes (a generalization I find rather dubious, but there it is). Bush has now expanded it to include speech which is paid for by an expense of money which the government does not have some control over, with a gratuitous shot at “wealthy” patrons of such speech to boot (one has less right to disseminate one’s views if you are wealthy?). Also, “soft money” is an artificial term with little meaning outside the direct world of campaign organizations and political parties, it is ill advised to use it beyond that narrow legal meaning.

    I used to think that Bush signed McCain-Feingold out of a craven but strategically understandable caving in to the political pressure in the Congress. With the above statement, I now fear that he signed it becuase he, along with McCain, Feingold, Shays, Meehan and most of the Democrat party that the problem in American politics is too much free speech by people outside the political and pundit classes.

  10. That’s insane. Bush could well win this election, but we’re not going to be seeing anything close to a 15 point gap in a presidential election for years.

  11. Wouldn’t it be funny if this prediction came true but Kerry won the electoral college anyway?

    Hey, stranger things have happened in this world.

  12. “Coordination between candidates and 527s is illegal.”

    “Kerry and his people assume Bush is behind the SwiftVets and behave as if it is a known fact by demanding he order them to stop.”

    Let me quote from Fodderstomp’s post below. Ahem.

    “The SBVT have extensive links to Bush. Their biggest funders are Bob J Perry and Harlan Crow. Perry, a Houston homebuilder, is a friend of Karl Rove (who dodged the draft) and John O’Neill, who has represented many of Perry’s friends. Perry is also one of Texas GOP’s biggest benefactors. Crow is a trustee of the George H W Bush Presidential Library Foundation. He is a personal friend of Clarence Thomas, who was nomited to the Supreme Court by George H W Bush. The SBVT are advised by Merrie Spaeth, whose late husband Tex Lezar was John O’Neill’s law partner and ran for Texas lieutenant governor in 1996 on the same ticket with Bush. Another of O’Neill’s law partners, Margaret Wilson, was Bush’s general counsel when he was the governor of Texas and later became the deputy counsel for the Department of Commerce in the Bush administration. Spaeth was a spokeswoman for a group hilariously calling itself “Republicans for Clean Air”. The group, financially backed by Texan Bush supporter Sam Wyly, was a part of Bush’s dirty tricks campaign against John McCain – which included attacking McCain’s military service. Spaeth is a close friend of Texas senator and Rove client Kay Bailey Hutchison. When asked, Spaeth ‘forgot’ about a 2003 visit to the White House, claiming she had been there only once, in 2002. The SVBT ads are made by the political advertising agency Stevens, Reed, Curcio & Potholm, who, among other Republican clients, worked for Bush’s father’s campaign in 1988. The most recent SVBT ad featured one Kenneth Cordier, who isn’t a Swift boat veteran, but was on the national steering committee of Veterans for Bush.”

    Look in the “Things They Parried” post, below, for Fodderstomp’s links. I guess we can put the “no links to the Bush campaign” lie in the pile with all the others.

  13. Let me quote from Fodderstomp’s post below. Ahem. [blah blah blah – snip]

    I fully expect that SVBT has ties to Republicans. Why wouldn’t it? Both Vietnam veterans and high-ranking Republicans have good reasons for disliking John Kerry and wanting him to lose; I would expect them to make common cause.

    And your point is? It is illegal for Bush to coordinate with SVBT. It is not illegal for SVBT to associate with people who have ties to George Bush.

  14. “I guess we can put the “no links to the Bush campaign” lie in the pile with all the others.”-joe

    And if you played this game with any anti-Bush group you will find prominent Democrats and Democrat supporters as its backers and financial suppporters. At issue is Kerry’s assumption that the Bush campaign has control over the SwiftVets organization, not that they have overlapping supporters. Fodderstomp’s little list does not prove that by a long shot.

    By the way, joe, your last name wouldn’t be McCarthy, would it?

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