An update to an election forecasting model announced by two University of Colorado professors in August continues to project that Mitt Romney will win the 2012 presidential election.
According to their updated analysis, Romney is projected to receive 330 of the total 538 Electoral College votes. President Barack Obama is expected to receive 208 votes -- down five votes from their initial prediction -- and short of the 270 needed to win.
The new forecast by political science professors Kenneth Bickers of CU-Boulder and Michael Berry of CU Denver is based on more recent economic data than their original Aug. 22 prediction. The model itself did not change.
“We continue to show that the economic conditions favor Romney even though many polls show the president in the lead,” Bickers said. “Other published models point to the same result, but they looked at the national popular vote, while we stress state-level economic data.”
While many election forecast models are based on the popular vote, the model developed by Bickers and Berry is based on the Electoral College and is the only one of its type to include more than one state-level measure of economic conditions. They included economic data from all 50 states and the District of Columbia.
Their original prediction model was one of 13 published in August in PS: Political Science & Politics, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Political Science Association. The journal has published collections of presidential election models every four years since 1996, but this year the models showed the widest split in outcomes, Berry said. Five predicted an Obama win, five forecast a Romney win, and three rated the 2012 race as a toss-up.
The Bickers and Berry model includes both state and national unemployment figures as well as changes in real per capita income, among other factors. The new analysis includes unemployment rates from August rather than May, and changes in per capita income from the end of June rather than March. It is the last update they will release before the election.
Of the 13 battleground states identified in the model, the only one to change in the update was New Mexico -- now seen as a narrow victory for Romney. The model foresees Romney carrying New Mexico, North Carolina, Virginia, Iowa, New Hampshire, Colorado, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Florida. Obama is predicted to win Michigan and Nevada.