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A terrible day for election forecasters. Where are the winners?


The 2016 presidential election result may well be one of the biggest upsets in the history of election forecasting. Usually, after an election, people look for the best forecasters. This time, it’s hard to find anyone who got it right, us included.

Regarding the Electoral College, PollyVote combined state-level forecasts from 20 different sources, none of which predicted Trump to win a majority of electoral votes.

Now, people are pointing to the fact that some models did in fact predict Trump to win, such as those by Alan Abramowitz or Helmut Norpoth.

Yet, these models predicted Trump to win the popular vote, which, according to the latest projections, he most likely won’t. Norpoth’s model, for example, predicted Trump to gain 47.5% of the two-party vote and thus might miss by about three points, which is a larger error than most of the other econometric models will end up with.

So are there any winners? Well, you could look at the individual models’ vote share predictions to judge their accuracy. For example, Jim Campbell’s well-known trial-heat model predicted Clinton to gain 50.7% of the vote and might thus be very close. But then, these models don’t provide us with the most important information of who will become president. So, no winners in sight.

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