Presidential Vote--November 6, 1996, 10:00am
With 98 percent of the precincts reporting, President Clinton has received 54.6 percent of the two-party vote (V = .546). Based on the latest economic data, released last week, V was predicted to be .510 by the vote equation. (The latest data has g3 = 2.0, p15 = 2.3, and n = 3.) The equation thus made an error of .036, which is slightly less than twice the estimated standard error of the equation, .019. The equation was right in predicting that the election would be much closer than the polls were suggesting even less than a week ago, but the election was not as close as the equation predicted it would be.

It is important to note that the above vote prediction is based on preliminary economic data. As the economic data are revised, the predicted vote changes. One key revision will be the growth rate in the third quarter of 1995. Using the current estimates, the per capita growth rate in this quarter is 2.8 percent (annual rate), which makes the quarter not quite a good news quarter, since a good news quarter requires 2.9 percent. If future revisions increase this growth rate to 2.9 percent or above, then n will be 4 instead of 3 and the predicted value of V will rise, other things being equal, by .0099 to .520. The error then would be only .026. So the final judgment on how the equation did for 1996 will not be in until more economic data are in. Note that by using the latest data to evaluate the equation, it is implicitly assumed that the new data better approximate the economic conditions known to the voters at election time than do the old data. If voters look at the economic conditions around them and not at the numbers themselves, which is assumed here, then one should always attempt to use the most accurate data to evaluate the equation.