Modeling and forecasting US presidential election using learning algorithms

Authors

1 Department of Industrial Engineering, Sharif University of Technology, P.O. Box 11155-9441, Azadi Ave, Tehran, Iran

2 Department of Statistics, Eberly College of Arts and Sciences, West Virginia University, Morgantown, USA

Abstract

The primary objective of this research is to obtain an accurate forecasting model for the US presidential election. To identify a reliable model, artificial neural networks (ANN) and support vector regression (SVR) models are compared based on some specified performance measures. Moreover, six independent variables such as GDP, unemployment rate, the president’s approval rate, and others are considered in a stepwise regression to identify significant variables. The president’s approval rate is identified as the most significant variable, based on which eight other variables are identified and considered in the model development. Preprocessing methods are applied to prepare the data for the learning algorithms. The proposed procedure significantly increases the accuracy of the model by 50%. The learning algorithms (ANN and SVR) proved to be superior to linear regression based on each method’s calculated performance measures. The SVR model is identified as the most accurate model among the other models as this model successfully predicted the outcome of the election in the last three elections (2004, 2008, and 2012). The proposed approach significantly increases the accuracy of the forecast.

Keywords