Yahoo’s Pick For Presidential Election?

by InvestorPlace Staff | February 16, 2012 6:31 pm

[1]In today’s 24/7 news cycle, where even the smallest events can get hours and hours of coverage, presidential elections are like the king’s feast. There are TV ads to talk about, stump speeches to rate, debates to grade, and more polls than you can shake a pole at. All, of course, with one goal in mind: figure out who the next president will be.

Or, if you’re Yahoo! (NASDAQ:YHOO[2]), you write a program[3] to do all the guessing for you.

Rather than look at polls, campaign strategies, or even the candidates themselves, Yahoo! scientists created a prediction engine based on factors that were better predictors of electoral success, like economic factors and the electorate’s political ideology. They fed this engine the results of the last 10 presidential races, along with corresponding economic, political, and social indicators, and found their algorithm was successful 88% of the time in matching historical results.

So, who does Yahoo! tap to win the fall election? In their current model, president Barack Obama would win, with 303 electoral votes versus 235 for the Republican challenger.

This, however, may be subject to change. Yahoo! plans to run the algorithm one last time, once the president’s approval rating is announced in June. Beyond that, changes to model variables did not significantly impact results.

For more on this story, check out this article from Fast Company[4].

— Benjamin Nanamaker, InvestorPlace Money & Politics Editor

The opinions contained in this column are solely those of the writer.

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