Thursday, August 30, 2012

Yet Another 2012 Election Prediction Tool

Updated November 5th, 2012

An interesting website, NerdWallet, founded by Tim Chen and Jacob Gibson in 2009, has just published its most recent outcome prediction for the 2012 Presidential election.  I realize that everyone and their dog has an analysis that predicts a November winner but I found this one intriguing.  Here is a summary of Joanna Pratt's analysis.

Let's start out with what the analysis uses as its baseline.

1.) President Obama has 201 safe electoral votes.
2.) Mitt Romney has 181 safe electoral votes.
3.) The winner needs 270 electoral votes out of 538 total. 

There are 12 states with a total of 156 electoral votes that could go to either candidate.  To get the 270 votes, Mitt Romney needs at least 89 of those 156 electoral votes or 57 percent of the total to win.  Here  is a chart showing the 12 states in play, the current polling numbers and the statistical odds of winning each state:

Right now, the margin of error in polling is 5.5 percent according to NerdWallet, a margin of error that was statistically gleaned from the 2004 and 2008 elections.

The computer simulations run using the current polling results and polling accuracy suggests that, at this point in time, Mitt Romney will win only 250 electoral votes, a number that is short of what is needed to win the Presidency.  Note, as well, that this is well down from 257 electoral votes just two days ago.

To summarize, here is a pie chart showing the odds of winning the election based on NerdWallet's analysis:

Basically, Mitt Romney's chances of getting the 89 electoral votes that he needs to win is only 19.7percent, compared to 79.5 percent for the incumbent President.  Keep in mind, however, that on November 1st, the odds of Mr. Romney taking the necessary votes was 31.3 percent so, it would appear that the momentum has swung in favour of the incumbent.

Tuesday November 6th will tell whether Ms. Pratt's analysis is correct.


  1. For claiming to be a nerd, you sure have failed to consider some key items, like funds remaining to be spent by each campaign, the impact of the current economy on the campaign, the liklihood of certain voting blocks getting out...this is a mere snap shot in time as if the election where today, not where the election will be in November.

    1. It doesn't matter how much money is still being sunk into the campaign. The majority of people have already made up their minds and 40-50% of voters have already voted either with absentee ballots or early voting. Obama will win and Romney will go someplace to cry.

  2. But maybe the reason why he said: "I will continue to follow NerdWallet's analysis as the weeks pass." and that the site in question was "intriguing". Inference being that; here is an interesting take I hadn't fully considered and I'll keep my eye on it as the days run up to Nov. 6th to see how their take plays out.

    There is also evidence that money spent does not insure one will achieve the goal, I'll use the Meg Whitman v. Jerry Brown race most recently here in California as a good example. It also underscores the "Businessperson v. Career Politician/Non-Businessperson" argument as being a possible non-issue or not having the weight with the voting public that its adherents would have you believe.

    1. I think the worry about Romney/Ryan and the war hawks of Congress getting us into a huge war with Iran will be a big reason that RR won't win. That and RR tax plan, Medicare, and womens Reproductive rights. Yes, those shiny objects are important Mr.Romney.

  3. There are a dozen polling companies out there.

    Based on 7 of those, using the same method of swing states, Romney has 60%+ chance of winning the election. Based on other 5, suggest Obama has 60 - 80% chance. Rest of pollsters give statistical tie.

    So a lot depends on who polling numbers you rely on.

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