Algorithm predicts Barack Obama Will Be Re-Elected President

Algorithm Predicts Barack Obama Will Be Re-Elected President

by Eric Schulman and Daniel Debowy, August 11, 2012

Now that both major US political parties have announced their nominees for president and vice president, the Annals of Improbable Research U.S. Presidential Election Algorithm (Debowy and Schulman 2003) can be used to predict the results of the upcoming November election.

The algorithm predicts that the Democratic ticket of Barack H. Obama II and Joseph R. Biden Jr. will win the election in November 2012.

The algorithm was developed based on the experience of the major party candidates for president and vice president in each of the 54 U.S. presidential elections between 1789 and 2000 and correctly predicted the outcome of the 2004 and 2008 U.S. presidential elections.

Background: About the election-prediction algorithm

According to the algorithm, being a United States senator does not contribute to one’s electability for president or vice president, being president contributes five electability points per year, and being vice president contributes four electability points per year, so the Obama/Biden ticket has a total electability of 36. Williard M. Romney was governor for four years, giving him 44 electability points. However, Romney is the first Mormon to be a major-party candidate for president, which subtracts 110 electability points and results in his total electability being -66. Paul D. Ryan Jr. has spent 14 years in the U.S. House of Representatives, giving him 14 points of vice presidential electability, so the Romney/Ryan ticket has a total electability of -52.

A flawless history of correct projections

Although the Annals of Improbable Research U.S. Presidential Election Algorithm has a 100% rate of successful predictions, the majority of Republican Party voters do not appear to have accepted the validity of this algorithm. Schulman and Debowy (2010) found nine Republican candidates who would win the November election if they were the Republican presidential nominee and Ryan was the Republican vice presidential nominee, including two who actively campaigned for president (Timothy J. Pawlenty and Ronald E. Paul) and seven who decided not to do so (George E. Pataki, Michael D. Huckabee, David H. Petraeus, John E. Bush, Haley R. Barbour, Pyush Jindal, and Sarah L. H. Palin).

The behavior of the majority of Republican primary voters in 2012 appears to be consistent with the behavior of the majority of major party primary voters in 2008 in that neither appeared to take the Annals of Improbable Research U.S. Presidential Election Algorithm into account when making their choices for presidential candidate.

In 2008, the Democrats nominated Obama/Biden (total electability of zero), the weakest ticket since Barry M. Goldwater and William E. Miller (total electability of -96) lost to Lyndon B. Johnson and Hubert H. Humphrey, Jr. (total electability of 17) in 1964. However, the Republicans nominated McCain/Palin (total electability of -104), the weakest ticket since Alton B. Parker and Henry G. Davis (total electability of -110) lost to Theodore Roosevelt and Charles W. Fairbanks (total electability of 37) in 1904. As a result, Obama/Biden won the election of November 2008, becoming the weakest ticket to win a presidential election since John Adams (total electability of zero) defeated Thomas Jefferson (total electability of -88) in 1796.

  • daisymaiden

    I find the algorithm results interesting, although I’m curious if Ryan’s economic background substitutes for the banking variable in which case the Romney/Ryan ticket will win. Eeeeks! Would greatly appreciate Eric’s thoughts on this…thanks!

    • Alex K

      I also wonder whether or not Romney would be considered a corporate banker, which would add 110 to his score. Also, the algorithm adds 110 for having a U.S. Senator as a father. Was the variable of having a governor as a father ever considered?

  • Joe C

    I’m sorry, but did you seriously just say -110 for being a Mormon? Where the hell does that number come from?

  • Joe C

    On top of that, are you seriously suggesting that Palin would win over Obama? If that’s the case, your “algorithm” is completely flawed!

  • dan

    propaganda! I don’t vote based on algorithms, I vote based on issues!!!

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  • Tothian

    While not a lot of us as individuals base our decisions off these factors – they are often accurate nonetheless… Not that these algorithms are what determines winners, but rather they use patterns and data from the past to predict the future.

    …But, one thing I’m wondering, is if the fact that Romney’s father was a Governor, U.S. Cabinet Secretary, and his mother was a U.S. Senate candidate – if that will add 110 in addition to the 110 already subtracted because of his religion, and therefore because of his 4 years as Governor, give him an electability of 44, plus Paul Ryan’s electability of 14, equaling 58. Which goes ahead of Obama/Biden’s electability of 36.

    Take in to consideration that Romney’s not the first Mormon to be a major party Presidential Candidate. Just a Nominee. His father also ran for the GOP Presidential Nomination in 1968, and he himself in 2008.

    Many Americans believe Barack Obama is a Muslim because of his time in Kenya being raised by his father. He claims to be a Christian but because of his upbringing and his coldness towards Israel indicates that he isn’t a true Christian.

    More factors that study the patterns of winners and losers of Presidential elections – being put in to these algorithms, the better.

    Here’s a blog post I made about some interesting trivia about the Presidents and Vice Presidents of the United States:

    http://tothian.blogspot.com/2011/05/us-presidency-history-electability.html

    -Tothian