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.

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