Unemployment is not as important as we think, when it comes to predicting the next President

Make no mistake: the higher the unemployment rate in November 2012, the less likely President Obama is to win a second term.

But we should be careful about asserting that there is any particular threshold at which Mr. Obama would go from favorite to underdog, or any magic number at which his re-election would either become impossible or a fait accompli. Historically, the relationship between the unemployment rate and a president’s performance on Election Day is complicated and tenuous.

…historically, the correlation between the unemployment rate and a president’s electoral performance has been essentially zero.

Unemployment increased by 1.9 percentage points over the course of Richard M. Nixon’s first term, but he won re-election easily. It also increased in George W. Bush’s and Dwight D. Eisenhower’s first terms, and their re-election bids were also successful. The unemployment rate fell to 3.9 percent from 5.3 percent, meanwhile, in Bill Clinton’s second term — but his vice president, Al Gore, could not beat Mr. Bush in the Electoral College.

There are also cases in which the data behaved more intuitively: Jimmy Carter and the elder George Bush all faced high unemployment rates when they lost their re-election bids, as did Gerald R. Ford in 1976, and that was surely a factor in their defeats.

 

Keep reading: On the Maddeningly Inexact Relationship Between Unemployment and Re-Election

 

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Analyzing female VP’s for Mitt Romney…all disqualified because they support abortion?

A fascinating article by Nate Silver about the potential female candidates for Vice President with Mitt Romney.

Is it ironic that most of them are disqualified because they generally support abortions (“mildly pro-choice”).

 

If Mr. Romney wanted to pick a woman this year, whom might he choose?

Actually, Mr. Romney has a bit of a problem. The Republican women with the most traditional qualifications for the vice presidency tend to be moderates, especially on abortion choice, probably making them unacceptable to the Republican base. Another group of up-and-coming female governors and senators may not be adequately seasoned for the rigors of the campaign trail. The few exceptions are probably too old, or too controversial, to be smart choices with swing voters. It has nothing to do with their gender, but any of the women that Mr. Romney might choose would be at least a little risky.

Let’s start by drawing up a “long list” of potential candidates. The qualifications for this are pretty straightforward. You have to be a woman, and a Republican. And you have to have served as governor or U.S. senator in the past five years, or as an alternative, have run for president before.

There are 14 women that meet these criteria…The first five women on this list have generally supported abortion choice — some mostly so, and some more emphatically.

 

Keep reading: N.Y. Times – In Search for Female Running Mate, a Shortlist for Romney

 

 

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Nate Silver predicts our next President – by keeping a running forecast

If you haven’t heard of Nate Silver then you are in for a ride. Nate is very, very famous in two distinct areas, baseball and politics, for his ability to predict things.

For baseball he developed, PECOTA, a system for predicting future performance of baseball players, and sold it to Baseball Prospectus in 2003.

From there he moved into politics and went on a run, correctly predicting the winner in 49 out of 50 states for the 2008 presidential election, and all 35 of the Senate races.

That made him some enemies, specifically all those existing pollsters who were proved wrong time and time again.

They still don’t like him, but he is the reigning king of political predictions and now a blogger for the New York Times. Where he maintains a running forecast for the 2012 presidential election.

This screenshot shows the forecasted winner in November:

 

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