Professor Predicts A Win For Obama

This story was written by Scott Kanowsky, The Maneater


A University of Iowa political science professor held a lecture on Oct. 17 atthe University of Missourito present a mathematical model that predicts Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama would win the election.

"If you believe there is no Bradley effect, it looks to me that Obama will win," Michael Lewis-Beck said, referring to an incident in which a black candidate for governor of California was leading in the polls but did not win the election.

The forecast, Lewis-Beck said, has Obama winning by a slim margin of 50.1 percent to 49.9 percent over his rival, Sen. John McCain R-Ariz.

Starting before the 2000 election, Lewis-Beck, along with political science professor Charles Tien of Hunter College in New York, created a model to predict the outcome of the election.

By using factors such as incumbency advantage, presidential popularity, job creation and economic growth, Lewis-Beck and Tien were able to devise a formula that, Lewis-Beck said, accurately predicts the political future.

Although the formula incorrectly picked former Vice President Al Gore to win the 2000 election - when, Lewis-Beck said, "things went hay-wire" - the two have revised the model trying to find complete accuracy.

This year, Lewis-Beck said, the two men were inspired by a study on race and the election by sociology students at New York University to include race as a new dimension to their forecast.

Lewis-Beck also said that the model shows the Republican Party would have one of its worst years since post-World War II.

Junior and political science major Jeff O'Brien, who attended the lecture and said he is an Obama supporter, said he wanted more insight and that his opinions won't be changed.

"It was interesting hearing the effect of race on the election," O'Brien said. "I hadn't heard it any where else."

Lewis-Beck said his forecast is nearly the same as other scholars around the country, but he said that with the state of the economy there has been "more variance in forecast of opinion then there has ever been."

MU political science professor Peverill Squire, who organized Lewis-Beck's visit to MU, said he believes the actual numbers for Obama will be greater than Lewis-Beck's forecast.

"The number will be slightly higher because of the economy and the Obama campaign has good turn-out-the-vote numbers," Squire said.

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