Political scientists believe you can get a pretty good prediction for a presidential candidate’s election chances based on just three pieces of data.
According to Ezra Klein of the Washington Post:
The final model uses just three pieces of information that have been found to be particularly predictive: economic growth in the year of the election, as measured by the change in gross domestic product during the first three quarters; the president’s approval rating in June; and whether one of the candidates is the incumbent.
That may seem a bit thin. But it calls 12 of the past 16 elections right. The average error in its prediction of the two-party vote share is less than three percentage points.
I used the new economic figures released yesterday (2.3%) and Obama’s latest approval rating from Gallup (50%), and the thing calculated that the incumbent wins 89.5 percent of the time when the economy is growing a 2.2 percent and his approval rating is 50 percent.
So go here, fiddle around with the data and start predicting.