Congressional Prediction for 2010 The equation used to predict the Democratic share of the two-party House vote in 2010 is equation 3a in Table 2, page 61, in Presidential and Congressional Vote-Share Equations, American Journal of Political Science, January 2009, 55-72. All the right hand side variables are known except the inflation variable and the good news variable. Using a value of 54.8 for the 2008 Democratic share of the two-party presidential vote and a value of 53.4 for the 2008 Democratic share of the two-party House vote, the equation can be written: VOTECC = 48.34 - .347*INFLATIONCC + .568*GOODNEWSCC*(15/7) where VOTECC is the Democratic share of the two-party House vote in 2010, INFLATIONCC is the growth rate of the GDP deflator in the first 7 quarters of the Obama administration, 2009:1-2010:3, at an annual rate, and GOODNEWSCC is the number of quarters in the first 7 quarters of the Obama administration in which the growth rate of real per capita GDP is greater than 3.2 percent at an annual rate. The constant term 48.34 reflects the effects of the 2008 House and presidential vote shares and the party dummy variable (variable I in the paper). See the paper for discussion of the equation. This discussion is not repeated here. The current and past forecasts of VOTECC are: ``` INFLATIONCC GOODNEWSCC VOTECC October 29, 2010 0.97 1 49.22 July 30, 2010 0.77 1 49.29 April 30, 2010 0.98 2 50.43 January 30, 2010 1.03 3 51.63 October 31, 2009 0.80 2 50.50 ``` The current forecast (dated October 29, 2010) of the Democratic share of the two-party House vote is 49.22 percent. This has changed only slightly since last October. The equation has always predicted a close election. The current forecast is based on actual (preliminary) economic values, values that were released by the BEA on October 29, 2010. INFLATIONCC is 0.97 percent, and GOODNEWSCC is 1. The low inflation is good for the Democratic party, but the fact that there is only one good news quarter is not. On net, the Democrats are predicted to get slightly less than half of the two-party vote, 49.22 percent. This is down from 53.4 percent in 2008 for the on-term House vote. I do not have an equation that translates the vote share into House seats, and so I have no prediction of House seats. If you want to compute your own prediction of the vote share using different assumptions about the economy, go to: 2008 Post Mortem November 17, 2008, post mortem, presidential vote equation: The presidential vote equation did well in predicting the 2008 election. The following chart lists the nine predictions that were made from November 1, 2006, through October 30, 2008. The most important prediction from the point of view of judging the vote equation is the last one, which uses the actual economic values (actual as of October 30, 2008). The two-party vote was 53.4 percent for Obama and 46.6 percent for McCain. ``` Nine Predictions from the Presidential Vote Equation (Rep. pred.- Rep. act.) Dem.--Rep. GROWTH INFLATION GOODNEWS ERROR Nov. 1, 2006 53.5--46.5 1.8 3.6 1 -0.1 Jan. 31, 2007 53.4--46.6 1.7 3.4 1 0.0 Apr. 27, 2007 53.2--46.8 1.9 3.3 1 0.2 July 27, 2007 52.0--48.0 2.2 3.5 2 1.4 Oct. 31, 2007 51.9--48.1 2.2 3.3 2 1.5 Jan. 31, 2008 52.0--48.0 1.8 3.1 2 1.4 Apr. 30, 2008 52.2--47.8 1.5 3.0 2 1.2 July 31, 2008 51.5--48.5 1.0 3.0 3 1.9 Oct. 30, 2008 51.9--48.1 0.22 2.88 3 1.5 Actual 53.4--46.6 0.22 2.88 3 ``` One feature of the predictions is that they did not change much across time. On July 27, 2007, the NIPA data revisions led to one more good news quarter, as did the July 31, 2008, data revisions. Other things being equal, each additional good news quarter leads to an increase in the incumbent (Republican) vote share of 1.075 percentage points. The predictions for the Republicans varied from 46.5 to 48.5 across this two-year period. Another feature of the predictions is that they are all fairly accurate. The errors are well within the standard error of the equation of 2.5. In the final analysis the error was 1.5. In general, even two years before the election the equation was giving a fairly accurate view of the election outcome. The presidential vote equation is equation 1 in Table 2 in Presidential and Congressional Vote-Share Equations, American Journal of Political Science, January 2009, 55-72. November 17, 2008, post mortem, congressional vote equation: The congressional vote equation also did well in predicting the 2008 election. The following chart lists the nine predictions that were made from November 1, 2006, through October 30, 2008. Again, the most important prediction from the point of view of judging the vote equation is the last one, which uses the actual economic values (actual as of October 30, 2008). The actual two-party vote share for the House of Representatives was 54.8 percent for the Democrats and 45.2 percent for the Republicans, although these values at the present time are only estimates. ``` Nine Predictions from the Congressional Vote Equation (Rep. pred.- Rep. act.) Dem.--Rep. GROWTH INFLATION GOODNEWS ERROR Nov. 1, 2006 56.7--43.5 1.8 3.6 1 -1.9 Jan. 31, 2007 56.6--43.4 1.7 3.4 1 -1.8 Apr. 27, 2007 56.5--43.5 1.9 3.3 1 -1.7 July 27, 2007 55.8--44.2 2.2 3.5 2 -1.0 Oct. 31, 2007 55.8--44.2 2.2 3.3 2 -1.0 Jan. 31, 2008 55.9--44.1 1.8 3.1 2 -1.1 Apr. 30, 2008 55.9--44.1 1.5 3.0 2 -1.1 July 31, 2008 55.5--44.5 1.0 3.0 3 -0.7 Oct. 30, 2008 55.8--44.2 0.22 2.88 3 -1.0 Actual 54.8--45.2 0.22 2.88 3 ``` Again, the predictions did not change much across time, and they are all fairly accurate. In the final analysis the error was -1.0 percent, well within the standard error of the equation of 2.1 percent. The congressional vote equation is equation 2a in Table 2 in Presidential and Congressional Vote-Share Equations, American Journal of Political Science, January 2009, 55-72. Presidential Vote Equation---2004 Update The following paper presents the 2004 update of the presidential vote equation. No specification changes have been made to the equation since the update in November 1994, following the 1992 election---the "1992 update." The equation has simply been reestimated each four-year interval using the latest economic data and the results of the previous election. The following paper also contains the first prediction for 2008 using the 2004 update. November 1, 2006: 2004 update and prediction for 2008 The following paper also presents the 2004 update of the presidential vote equation in addition to estimated equations for the on-term and mid-term House elections. All the estimated equations are presented in Table 2, page 61, of this paper. Presidential and Congressional Vote-Share Equations, American Journal of Political Science, January 2009, 55-72. The following link allows you to compute your own predictions of the 2008 presidential election and the 2008 House election. The presidential equation is in column 1 in Table 2 of the above paper, and the House equation is in column 3. In the above paper the vote-share variables are Democratic vote shares, but for purposes of the following calculations the vote-share variables have been taken to be incumbent (currently Republican) vote shares. With appropriate transformations, the estimated equations are idential using either Democratic vote shares or incumbent vote shares. Also, the constant terms in the two equations listed in this link incorporate the effects of all the non-economic variables in the two equations, which are known at this time. The currently unknown variables are just the three economic variables. Compute your own predictions for 2008 using the 2004 update Predictions for 2008 using the 2004 update: January 31, 2007, prediction April 27, 2007, prediction July 27, 2007, prediction October 31, 2007, prediction January 31, 2008, prediction April 30, 2008, prediction July 31, 2008, prediction October 30, 2008, prediction Original paper: 1978#2---data through 1976. Previous update papers: 1982#1---data through 1980. 1988#5---data through 1984. 1990#3---data through 1988. 1996#1---data through 1992. 1998#1---data through 1996. 2002#4---data through 2000. Web site material for previous elections: Old site material for the 1996 election Old site material for the 2000 election Old site material for the 2004 election Related work: Interpreting the Predictive Uncertainty of Elections