From the Constitution Party of Idaho’s website, September 13th, 2016:
General elections are much like the cycle of seasons. Spring follows Winter. Summer follows Spring, and Autumn…is the season of the general election.
Normal events (e.g. like seasonal weather) typically do not fall beyond the bounds of a Gaussian function. This election cycle we suspect will be no different. This, despite a cacophony of hoarse excited whispers about change. Surely change will come this time. Surely it’s in the cards. It’s in the wooly worm. The tea leaves…
With due respects, regarding a rumored potential windfall for the Constitution Party from “protest votes,” we must demur from the irrational exuberance. 2016 does not have the makings of a paradigm shift. If anything, this election remains as normal (which is in itself a sad commentary) as ever.
As for the national Constitution Party, which will not have Idaho’s state ballot line for the reasons already well established, we suggest a mathematical look at the prospects. In other words some sort of objective clarity. We want to be honest as possible because we are obliged to be so, even though we do understand that some politicians will avoid honesty at whatever cost.
We wish to provide a few projections, and discuss how we have used them in the past to predict a total national vote take of the Constitution Party, current dubious national candidate inclusive. Please note: we make our prognostications two months in advance of the General Election. So, we are at risk of our estimate missing the mark wide.
But, we figure that if the TV weather guys have the grit to risk derision nightly for an educated forecast, then we can certainly do so too. It keeps us humble…which we find in short supply within the political arena, sadly. If we’re wrong, we’ll not be above admission of the error. As an added bonus, if our estimate is right, our readers shall have the distinct pleasure of not hearing the end of it…
A bargain at any price. We have used a national CP total vote simple forecast model a few times before. In 2008, it was “spot-on” accurate; and then…not so much.
After an accurate 2008 forecast of the range of realized CP national votes (for Chuck Baldwin), the same basic model woefully overshot the 2012 results (for Virgil Goode). As it turned out, the reason for the miss was fairly straight forward. The original simple forecast model was based only on the actual total ballots realized.
The simple original model did not consider the effect of a variable number of states with (or without) ballot lines. Roughly speaking, as long as the number of states with ballot access was more or less constant (as was the case in 2008 viz. 2004), the forecast worked tolerable well. It broke apart in 2012, however, due to a nearly 30% reduction in state ballot lines.
The diminished pool of ballot lines available for the CP in 2014 was significant enough to alter the basic condition upon which the original estimate rested. The chart above gives the historical CP state ballot lines; it has 2016’s ballot lines at 24 states…as far as we are aware. (CP’s national executives are not exactly bosom buddies of CP-Idaho these days…more like estranged at best.)
Regardless, in hopes of improving the forecast accuracy, we modified the original forecast model, and we will provide our new projection in Part 2. Here, however, we do want to give the original simple forecast model for 2016…lest we be maligned by “yellow dog” CP nationals as somehow “dissing” them.
The original model range of 181,365 to 212,837 total votes is much too aggressive; for the same reason that 2012 missed the vote range forecast. The number of state CP ballot lines in 2016 has dropped again (apparently by two states—a 7.7% state ballot line pool reduction).
So, we expect 2016 total CP national ballot returns will be muted; and this dampening is irrespective of the particular candidate. We modified the original model, calibrated it for the specific array of states with a CP ballot line.
The modified forecast will be discussed in the upcoming Part 2. We will also look at the inelasticity of CP voting data from write-in votes, and what that all implies.
Back to you.