Let me preface this by saying itsa long way to November, but the political scientists and data geeks at Yahoo are calling the 2012 election for President Barack Obama.
From this story on Yahoo:
The Signal predicts that Barack Obama will win the presidential contest with 303 electoral votes to the Republican nominee’s 235.
How do we know? We don’t, of course. Campaigns and candidates evolve, and elections are dynamic events with more variables than can reasonably be distilled in an equation. But the data–based on a prediction engine created by Yahoo! scientists–suggest a second term is likely for the current president. This model does not use polls or prediction markets to directly gauge what voters are thinking. Instead, it forecasts the results of the Electoral College based on past elections, economic indicators, measures of state ideology, presidential approval ratings, incumbency, and a few other politically agnostic factors.
Our model combines powerful scientific algorithms with both real-time and historical data sources. We have examined the last 10 presidential elections and found that the Yahoo! model, which is the work of Yahoo Labs economists Patrick Hummel and David Rothschild, would have correctly predicted the winner in 88 percent of the 500 individual state elections.
Say what you will about this research, but I tend to review with Nate Silver of the New York Times and 538.com has to say. The only race I know that Silver booted was he called the 2010 US Senate race in Nevada for the Republican.