We assign a lot of bandwidth to the FiveThirtyEight presidential forecast model, but that doesn’t mean it’s the only thing you should look at to get a sense for where the election is headed. So it’s time for a quick gut-check. How does the FiveThirtyEight model — where Barack Obama’s probability of winning the Electoral College recently ticked above 70 percent — compare against alternative means of forecasting the election?
There are a number of other statistical forecasting systems, most of which rely on polls, economic variables or some combination thereof.
I tracked down about every one of these models that I could find, subject to the condition that it couched its forecast in probabilistic terms (or that it was well-documented enough to allow this to be inferred with relative ease, like from the standard error that the model stated).
In my view, it’s in estimating the uncertainty in a forecast where most of the challenge and intrigue lies. To paraphrase Charles Barkley, any knucklehead can make a point prediction — but it takes brains to calculate a confidence interval.Read it at The New York Times | Five Thirty Eight
Models, Models, Everywhere