Forecast error: POTUS 2020

face masks and election mail

An election to the office of President of the United States happens every four years on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November. The next presidential election will take place on 3 November 2020. It is held in extraordinary circumstances, as an incumbent fights for re-election in the middle of a global pandemic.

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The US economy: Trump or trend?

President Donald Trump and VP Mike Pence

At the 2020 Republican National Convention, Assistant to the President for Economic Policy and Director of the United States National Economic Council Larry Kudlow stated that as President Trump took office, he was ”…inheriting a stagnant economy on the front end of recession,” and under the President, “…the economy was rebuilt in three years.” This is consistent with the repeated claims by Trump and members of his administration that they faced a weak economy when Trump took office and had built a strong economy.

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The Brexit debate and the prosecutor's fallacy

Will Self and Mark Francois

Politics is, by definition, adversarial. Its systems are designed to bring together people with competing views, so that they might argue over and decide on the “affairs of the cities” – which is the literal translation of the Greek word πολιτικά (Politiká). But, in recent times, politics has felt like it has become more adversarial, more polarised.

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You can trust the polls in 2018, if you read them carefully

Midterm sticker on jumper

On the morning of 8 November 2016, many Americans went to bed confident that Hillary Clinton would be elected the nation’s first female president. Their confidence was driven, in no small part, by a pervasive message that Clinton was ahead in the polls and forecasts leading up to the election.

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Forecast error: Are polls getting worse at predicting elections?

Polling booths

Voting intention polls appear to have an accuracy problem. The UK House of Lords recently instructed the polling industry “to get its house in order”, citing its failure to predict the outcomes of the 2015 and 2017 general elections and the 2016 “Brexit” referendum. The Lords report stated that: “For each of those events, albeit to varying degrees, the polls ‘called it wrong’.” But is this recent poor performance a temporary blip? Or is it part of a longer term decline in accuracy?

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