Professors recognized for political forecasting model

December 11 2006

Two Indiana State University professors have emerged as winners in this year?s mid-term elections, even though their names were not on any ballot.

The International Institute of Forecasters has named Carl Klarner and Stan Buchanan, assistant professors of political science, as co-winners of its 2006 "Pollyprize" competition for election forecasting.

Klarner and Buchanan were recognized for developing a forecasting model that accurately predicted a Democratic takeover of the U.S. House of Representatives. In a forecast first released in April, Klarner and Buchanan predicted a 22-seat gain for Democrats. The party's actual net gain in the Nov. 7 election was 29 seats.

"In addition to high accuracy, the model affords excellent lead time," Pollyprize panelists wrote in unanimously selecting the Klarner and Buchanan model, which takes into account national and district-level political trends as well as the attributes of individual candidates.

"House elections are not purely national contests but are largely decided by the strength of the district candidates, with national tides having some bearing on the outcome," judges said.

Panelists noted the ISU forecast had a greater lead time than all other efforts reported to the institute's Web site. It also covers both Presidential-year and mid-term elections and "is based on the strong theoretical notions that are behind the best of forecasting literature" and has a low standard error of estimate, at fewer than seven seats.

The Pollyprize competition is intended to advance the scientific approach to political forecasting through greater understanding of legislative election outcomes and of the policy or campaign factors that influence such outcomes.

Klarner joined Indiana State?s faculty in 2005. He holds a bachelor's degree from the University of Nebraska at Lincoln, a master's from California-Davis and a Ph.D. from Texas A&M. His research interests include campaigns and elections, state politics, and welfare policy, especially as they pertain to political inequality and reform.

At ISU since 2001, Buchanan - a California native - holds a master of public administration degree from Baylor University and a Ph.D. from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville. His research interests lie with state and local government, Congress and the bureaucracy.

Contact: Carl Klarner, assistant professor, political science, Indiana State University, (812) 237-2436 or cklarner@isugw.indstate.edu ; Stan Buchanan, assistant professor, political science, Indiana State University, (812) 237-2437 or sbuchanan1@indstate.edu

Writer: Dave Taylor, media relations director, Indiana State University, (812) 237-3743 or dave.taylor@indstate.edu

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Story Highlights

The International Institute of Forecasters has named Carl Klarner and Stan Buchanan, assistant professors of political science at Indiana State, as winners of its Pollyprize competition for election forecasting. Klarner and Buchanan developed a model that accurately predicted a Democratic takeover of Congress in April 2006 - more than six months before the election.

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