Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Math Model Shows McCain Ahead By As Many As 27 Electoral College Votes

Date:
September 17, 2008
Source:
Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences
Summary:
A new approach to determining who will win the most electoral votes in the US Presidential race factors in lessons learned from the 2004 election and uses sophisticated math modeling. The research will be presented at the annual meeting of the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS). As of Sept. 16, the margin in electoral votes could be as high as 282.8 votes for McCain against 255.2 for Obama.

A new approach to determining which candidate will win the most electoral votes in the U.S. Presidential race factors in lessons learned from the 2004 election and uses sophisticated math modeling. The research will be presented at the annual meeting of the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMSฎ).

Related Articles


As of September 16, the margin in electoral votes could be as high as 282.8 votes for Senator John McCain against 255.2 for Senator Barack Obama, depending on the forecasting scenario.

Operations researcher Sheldon H. Jacobson, a professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, along with a group of students and collaborators at Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville, created http://election08.cs.uiuc.edu/, a math model that dynamically forecasts the outcome of the election.

Prof. Jacobson and colleagues will present their findings at the INFORMS annual meeting, which takes place in Washington, D.C. at the Marriott Waldman Park Hotel and Omni Shoreham Hotel from October 13 – 15, less than three weeks before the election. Over 4,000 analysts and experts in analytics are expected to attend. Information is at http://meetings.informs.org/DC08/.

Jacobson's model applies a mathematical model to state polling data, using a dynamic programming algorithm to forecast electoral results.

"The results from the 2000 and 2004 presidential election suggested that it can be difficult to predict the winner of the presidential election based on popular vote," says Jacobson. "In fact, it is possible that the popular vote and the Electoral College vote can lead to significantly different results."

Jacobson's model employs Bayesian estimators (which help scientists make decisions when conditions are uncertain) to determine the probability that a candidate will win each state. He obtains state polling data from Rasmussen Reports, the Quinnipiac University Poll, and SurveyUSA. State-by-state probabilities are then used in a dynamic programming algorithm to determine a probability distribution for the number of Electoral College votes that each candidate will win in the 2008 presidential election.

Professor Jacobson believes that this model provides a more realistic method of predicting the results. In 2004, when most other polls showed Kerry with a clear edge, his model consistently showed a Bush victory.

"We take into account 'safe' states— states that each candidate is basically guaranteed to win," says Jacobson. "In 2004, once you took into account Bush's 'safe' states, he had a much narrower gap to close to get to 270 electoral votes than Kerry."

In the model, a safe state is one in which the candidate has an 85% chance or greater of winning.

Jacobson's model also factors in undecided voters. It accounts for five different voting scenarios involving undecided voters, each considered individually. A "Neutral" scenario provides an unbiased handling of undecided voters. "Strong Republican" and "Strong Democratic" scenarios provide two extreme envelopes around which results can be judged and evaluated, while "Mild Republican" and "Mild Democratic" provide more realistic possibilities if late-breaking information surfaces that shift voter preferences.

"Undecided voters can have a significant role on the outcome of the election. In fact, they are likely to be the ultimate deciders of who will win this election," says Jacobson.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences. "Math Model Shows McCain Ahead By As Many As 27 Electoral College Votes." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 17 September 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/09/080917145413.htm>.
Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences. (2008, September 17). Math Model Shows McCain Ahead By As Many As 27 Electoral College Votes. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 1, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/09/080917145413.htm
Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences. "Math Model Shows McCain Ahead By As Many As 27 Electoral College Votes." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/09/080917145413.htm (accessed April 1, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Science & Society News

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Models in Masks Highlight Indonesian Environmental Devastation

Models in Masks Highlight Indonesian Environmental Devastation

AFP (Mar. 31, 2015) — Wearing gas masks and designer dresses, models condemn the fashion industry&apos;s role in causing environmental devastation. Duration: 00:40 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Future Of Japanese Whaling: Heritage Vs. Conservation

The Future Of Japanese Whaling: Heritage Vs. Conservation

Newsy (Mar. 30, 2015) — In 2014, the International Court of Justice ruled Japan could no longer engage in whaling in the Antarctic, but Japan has plans to return this year. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Soda, Salt and Sugar: The Next Generation of Taxes

Soda, Salt and Sugar: The Next Generation of Taxes

Washington Post (Mar. 30, 2015) — Denisa Livingston, a health advocate for the Din้ Community Advocacy Alliance, and the Post&apos;s Abby Phillip discuss efforts around the country to make unhealthy food choices hurt your wallet as much as your waistline. Video provided by Washington Post
Powered by NewsLook.com
UnitedHealth Buys Catamaran

UnitedHealth Buys Catamaran

Reuters - Business Video Online (Mar. 30, 2015) — The $12.8 billion merger will combine the U.S.&apos; third and fourth largest pharmacy benefit managers. Analysts say smaller PBMs could also merge. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Science & Society

Business & Industry

Education & Learning

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins