Election prediction power

Professors at SIUE may have found a way to accurately predict the future … political future, that is. Two professors at SIUE, in conjunction with several professors and students from the University of Illinois, were able to accurately predict the outcome of the 2004 and 2008 presidential elections.

Steven Rigdon, distinguished research professor of mathematics and statistics, and Edward Sewell, professor of mathematics and statistics, were the primary authors of the study. Through a complicated series of mathematics, statistics and analysis, they found a method that provides a very accurate prediction rate of elections.

The video below shows local news coverage of the event during the 2008 elections.

The system of election in the U.S. is not based on the popular election. Rather, it is through an electoral college that a president is elected.  The prediction works because the U.S. uses the electoral college to judge the outcome of the election.

“Except for Maine and Nebraska [which split electoral votes], the candidate receives all of the electoral college votes from each state,” said Rigdon. It is less complicated and more reliable to collect the data of the electoral votes to get a solid prediction.

The system they envisioned gathered data from polls across the nation leading up to the election. The polls asked voter to answer who they would vote for, if the election was held on that day. Information from those polls was entered into the formulas designed by Rigdon and Sewell. With help from students of the U of I professors, data points were compiled into a histogram.

The histogram was put together into a video format and shows the probability of each candidate’s chances of being elected.

As the election day neared, the probability of a win by candidate Obama became more evident.

This method could be used in any election, as long as there was sufficient polling data gathered Rigdon said. Rigdon and Sewell believe that if mid-term election polling becomes more common place and accurate, this method could be used to determine which party will win the majority in the house and senate

Be Sociable, Share!

Filed Under: Mathematics & Statistics


Comments are closed.

Switch to our mobile site