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Friday, October 21, 2016

Forecast that got every race right since 1912 says Trump wins big

Set the Wayback Machine for July 17, 2012, Sherman. Place, Stony Brook University, New York. Let's see what political science professor Helmut Norpoth has to say about the presidential race between incumbent President Obama and challenger Mitt Romney.

The abstract of his paper, "History and Primary: The Obama Re-Election":
President Barack Obama is going to defeat Republican challenger Mitt Romney by a comfortable margin. Obama has history on his side as well as the fact that he was unchallenged in the primaries. The PRIMARY MODEL, which formalizes these predictors, forecasts an Obama victory with 53.2 percent of the two-party popular vote. This forecast assures Obama’s re-election with 88-percent certainty. The forecast model relies on primary elections as well as an electoral cycle, using elections as far back as 1912, the first year of presidential primaries. The primary performance of the incumbent-party candidate and that of the opposition-party candidate enter as separate predictors. For elections since 1952, the primary-support measure relies solely on the New Hampshire primary. In the period since then, no other primary beats New Hampshire in predictive power. The Primary-Model forecast was posted January 12, 2012, on the Huffington Post.
That was then, this is now, courtesy of the Daily Mail:
Norpoth's model, which has been correct since it was first used in 1996, has Donald Trump winning on Nov. 8 with an 87 percent degree of certainty.
Based on Trump's and Clinton's performances in their party primaries, The Primary Model projects that the Republican businessman will beat the former secretary of state with 52.5% to her 47.5% of the two-party vote.
His assertion flies in the face of FiveThirtyEight's election forecast, which is rooted in polling and says there's an 86.6 percent likelihood that Clinton will win. Trump has a 13.4 percent chance of pulling it off on the Nate Silver-helmed site.
Ah yes, Nate Silver's site, which said on the day Trump announced:
Trump has a better chance of cameoing in another Home Alone movie with Macaulay Culkin—or playing in the NBA Finals—than winning the Republican nomination. 
I love that quote and used it as the epigraph of my book, "Trump the Press," although he could have had a better series than Stephen Curry.

More from Professor Norpoth in a column in the Hill:
Virtually all the opinion polls right now give Hillary Clinton a firm lead over Donald Trump in the race for the White House this November. The latest poll average compiled by RealClearPolitics puts her at least five points ahead of Trump, with or without Gary Johnson and Jill Stein included as choices; the Huffington Post Pollster projects a better than 99-percent chance that  “Clinton is very likely leading;” and Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight gives her an 85 percent chance of winning.
It looks like the race is decided.  
But that was the same sentiment that led the major pollsters 68 years ago to stop polling several weeks before the 1948 election. Tom Dewey’s lead was so firm and consistent that there was no way Harry Truman would be able to win. At least, so it seemed. The man from Missouri did win, of course, thrust to victory by a late surge of votes sparked by his whistle-stop campaign.
Truman won.

And this:
Election-day exit polls quiz citizens who just turned out to vote, asking them to mark their vote one more time on a two-page questionnaire. This happens minutes after someone cast a vote, so there is no reason to worry that voters don’t remember how they voted; also, since they are filling out a form, voters need not directly express their decision to the poll-taker.
With a properly drawn random sample, such an exit poll should hit the result of the election like a hammer on the head of a nail. But that didn’t happen in the 2004 presidential election. At the end of a full day of exit-polling, the final tally of the national electorate showed Kerry beating Bush by 51 to 48. It was a safe lead, way beyond statistical shadows of doubt, given the large number of voters in the poll (over 10,000). But of course, Bush was re-elected that day.
And this:
In the most recent presidential election, Gallup’s final estimate of likely voters, issued on the eve of Election Day in 2012, projected Mitt Romney as the winner.  A day later, Obama was the winner by nearly 4 percentage points.
Soon after this debacle the Gallup Organization, the inventor of scientific polling in the 1930’s, fell on its sword and quit the election horse-race business altogether. Rasmussen got it wrong in 2012 as well, but they opted to stay in the business.  
But in all fairness to those polling giants, they weren’t alone. Three pollsters wimped out, projecting a tied vote, and of the four remaining polls on the RealClearPolitics summary, only two predicted an Obama victory, and those two did so with minimal confidence. 
But we shall see, shan't we?

Another Home Alone movie is possible.


Like the Home Alone quote? Then you will love my new book, "Trump the Press." It is a fun romp through the Republican nomination that uses the deadliest weapon to skewer the media experts: their own words. "Trump the Press" is available as a paperback, and on Kindle.




  3. Your chapter title for the next book: Silver, Not Just Tarnished, But Corroded.

  4. Malik Obama: my brother promised us money to help with our problems, turned out to be a scam. Is he Nigerian?

  5. I made a comment the other day outtin the web somewhere that if a graduate student ever pulled off a study designed like these so-called polls they would not only be expelled by any graduate college but they would have an ethics violation permanently appended to their transcript.

    Interestingly, there are several *non respondent* polls out there that have had the Trump trumping the global casinos managed by Nate Silver. But, then again, that's why his spread is there for those that are backing up the truck. One of the models probably conceptually underlies the motivation of primary voters, maybe yielding what Norpoth visualizes. So, if we assume Norpoth is measuring the outflow from the pump, Alan Abramowitz is trying to measure the depth of the water table. That model can be found at .

    Basically there are economic and polarization variables mixed up with presidential approval, and that's probably the top two reasons folks go to the polls:

    NETAPP Incumbent president’s net approval rating (approval-dis-approval) in the final Gallup Poll in June 6

    G2GDP Annualized growth rate of real GDP in the second quarter of the election year

    TERM1INC--Presence or absence of a first-term incumbent in the race


    V--Incumbent share of the two-party presidential vote

    Polarization--This last one has been recently used and though not shown is probably off the scale.

    Alan Abramowitz, by the way, is that screeching sound made by Silver's main and rod bearings whenever he publishes something. They like to bring him up a lot--to dismiss him. Good sign in my book.

  6. There are many factors in play behind the scenes, both for good and ill. Professor Norpoth makes some good points and a rather reliable history to back him up. Maybe he really is onto something in political SCIENCE. - Elric

  7. Donald Trump can be such a puzzle. At times vulgar. But equally as often eloquent beyond the tears I shed for my country.

    "Our Independence Day is at hand, and it arrives, finally, on November 8th. Join me in taking back our country, and creating a bright and glorious new dawn for our people."

    ~ Donald Trump

    1. Yes Iapetus, he is vulgar. But, it is clear
      that his in his heart he really does have the best interests of our country at heart--unlike the progressives and other globalists who seek to subdue the greatest country that has every existed. Their plans are disgusting and I thank God for Donald J. Trump! John C/CA

  8. Two observations.

    (1) The Democrats with by-lines in MSM say it's all over but the shouting, and Trump might as well just concede already.

    (2) The Democrats in politics have to trot out the Obamas to campaign for Clinton the closer we get to the election.

    Reminds me of the adage, "watch what they do, not what they say".

  9. Yesterday I found a clip of Morning Joe with Bill Kristol. It was such fun, I watched it twice! Kristol was melting down & accused Morning Joe of being too easy on Trump! He was really losing it, and that to me is a Good Sign!

    1. Sorry, that link above appears to have been edited (what a surprise!- not.)

      Here's a better one showing the whole exchange: