Predicting Elections from the Most Important Issue: A Test of the Take-the-Best Heuristic

Feb 3rd, 2012
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This paper is provided as study guides only please do not submit this document directly to any university. The take-the-best heuristic generated accurate forecasts based on voters’ perceptions on how the candidates will handle the single most important issue facing the country. In a cross-validation of 1,000 out-of-sample forecasts for the ten U.S. presidential elections from 1972 to 2008 (one forecast on each of the last 100 days per election year), the model correctly predicted the winner of the popular vote in 97% of all forecasts. This quick and simple model can help candidates to develop campaign strategies.

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