In the latest proof that the fall presidential election will be a nail-biter, a new and authoritative analysis of the factors weighing on President Obama finds that he will edge out Mitt Romney, becoming the first-ever two-term African-American in the Oval Office.
Going far beyond the normal review of job approval which typically is the best election predictor, Larry Sabato’s University of Virginia Center for Politics team also factored in the economy and the public’s desire for change. The bottom line: Obama will win 51 percent of the vote.
Typically, predictions are made on job approval numbers from Gallup. Based on the president’s 47 percent approval rating in May, several projections suggest Obama will receive 51.6 percent of the vote, making him a “slight favorite” for reelection.
But Sabato team member Alan Abramowitz has a way to “greatly improve the accuracy” of the vote prediction by adding the impact of the predicted 2 percent economic growth and what he calls the “time of change factor,” which finds that parties that have held the White House for two or more terms “do significantly worse” than those, like Obama, who’ve had just one term.
“We are now explaining over 90 percent of the variation in the incumbent’s share of the vote,” said Abramowitz.
“If we assume that real GDP will grow by 2 percent during the first half of 2012, the full forecasting model predicts that Obama will end up with 51 percent of the major party vote in November,” said Abramowitz.