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Mosaic

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Home country: USA
Member since: Thu May 10, 2007, 09:08 PM
Number of posts: 1,451

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The US presidential election is no contest

If the models are robust, and their predictions strongly in favour of Obama, why are we being told that the race is a dead heat? I think it is partly a cultural issue. Earlier this year I wrote a story about election forecasting for a British publication. The science editor liked it, but a colleague on the politics desk vetoed the piece, in part because he simply didn't believe the forecasts. I can see why. The hurly-burly of day-to-day politics is filled with dramatic events, like the recent leaked video of Romney talking in unvarnished terms about voters he cannot hope to win over. These events make the race feel like a roller-coaster ride.

The truth, as revealed by the science, is much more prosaic. Obama is way ahead and has been for ages. The meat and drink of daily political reporting - party conventions, gaffes, attack ads - have a limited and often passing impact. That's not to say that an unforeseen event couldn't put Romney in the White House. But it would have to be something huge, because studies of previous elections show outcomes depend far more on fundamental factors such as employment rates.

Full piece here: http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg21528840.200-the-us-presidential-election-is-no-contest.html
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