Wednesday, August 22, 2012
An analysis from the University of Colorado that has correctly predicted the outcome of presidential elections since 1980 is forecasting Mitt Romney as the frontrunner, with voters in Colorado helping the presumptive Republican nominee unseat Barack Obama
Political science professors Kenneth Bickers, of CU's Boulder campus, and Michael Berry, of CU's Denver campus, found that the ailing economy spells trouble for Obama's re-election bid. The professors conducted a state-by-state analysis, incorporating economic data such as unemployment figures. The results of their analysis show that Obama will win 218 votes in the electoral college, short of the 270 that he would need to be re-elected. While their study focuses on the electoral college, the political scientists predict that Romney will win 52.9% of the popular vote compared to 47.1% for Obama when considering only the two major political parties. The economy is a main driver in elections, said Bickers, who also runs the "CU in DC" internship program. "If the economy were just average, we would be forecasting Obama to win," Bickers said. "But the economy is below average, and he is struggling." Bickers said that this election cycle has some parallels with 1980 - a period when the economy was slumping and inflation was skyrocketing - and voters chose Republican Ronald Reagan over Democratic incumbent Jimmy Carter. In Colorado, which turned blue for Obama in 2008, the model predicts that Romney will receive 51.9% of the vote to Obama's 48.1%, again with only the two major parties considered. Joel Champion, former chairman of the Boulder County Republican Party who stepped down recently due to health reasons, said that Obama has lost some support among the voter base that helped elect him in 2008. He said that he would like to see a repeat of 1980, when Reagan gained the support of many Democrats. "Obama hasn't been what he said he would be, and we need a change," Champion said. "I think it's not going to be as close as a lot of people believe." Bickers said that Obama risks losing almost all of the states now considered swing states, including Colorado, North Carolina, Virginia, New Hampshire, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Florida. The CU model has accurately predicted the winner for the last eight presidential elections.