During spring 2000, we released to the press a preliminary forecast of a Gore victory. Indeed, one of us, in a widely-read quotation, declared, "It's not even going to be close" (Washington Post, May 26, 2000, p. 1). We were wrong, as were all of our fellow modelers. Indeed, among "five of the best forecasters" identified by Robert Kaiser (Washington Post, May 26, 2000, p. 1), the Gore projection ranged from 53% to 60% of the two-party popular vote, pointing to a Democratic landslide. Such gross error raises the question: Should the models be junked? Some journalists, pundits, and scholars have suggested the answer is "yes." We disagree. Remember that forecasters of all stripes -- modelers, pollsters, marketers, campaign experts -- failed to call 2000. (See the review of 49 forecasts, from multiple and international sources, in Lafay and Lewis-Beck 2000). The virtually total inability to predict the Bush-Gore result also reminds us that no model will ever be perfect, that electoral behavior can never be fully determined. Still, while falling short of perfection, we believe that modeling can be improved.
Available at: http://0-works.bepress.com.library.simmons.edu/michael_lewis_beck/166/