Forget the Polls: Obama's a Nov. Shoo-In
Political scientist's odd metric suggests history is on Democrat's side
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 21, 2008 3:08 PM CDT
In this July 16, 2008 file photo, Barack Obama, listens to panelists at a roundtable discussion on nuclear non-proliferation at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Ind.   (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, File)
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(Newser) – It’s hard to reconcile Barack Obama’s narrow lead in the polls with the massive enthusiasm that seems to surround his campaign, so Clive Cook of the Financial Times has some advice: Ignore the polls. Midsummer polls are notoriously worthless, he says. Instead, he touts political scientist Alan Abramowitz’s “election barometer,” which has correctly called 14 of the last 15 elections. It’s predicting an Obama landslide.

The "laughably simple metric" weighs a candidate’s chances based on the current president’s popularity, economic conditions, and whether the incumbent is a two-termer. In this system, McCain has the second-worst figure of the postwar era. "The unsettling thing about this way of predicting the outcome, of course, is that it does not matter" who's running, Cook writes.