More election forecasts

Today the phenomenon that is FiveThirtyEight has joined the UK General Election fray, announcing it’ll be running a forecast. FiveThirtyEight, or perhaps more so its head Nate Silver, is well known for his forecasting prowess, particularly in US election, but as detailed in the linked article, his forecast of the 2010 UK General Election went awry somewhat. It sounds like he’s taking things a lot more seriously this time around, which will be very interesting to see.

In the interview style of the linked post, Silver talks about the issue of going from polls to seats, and how well it works – as in, not particularly well. Which is why I’m still surprised that my simple linear regression model of polls since 1970 did as well as it did (and accounts for 90% of the variation in historical data). Unlike the other forecasts of the outcome that Silver refers to, that model actually points towards a Tory majority on May 7.

It’s a really basic model, however, and has none of the basic ingredients we would want to include in a proper election forecast model. But it certainly provides an interesting alternative forecast…