a1 Washington University, St. Louis
a2 Duke University
a3 Duke University
For more than two decades, political scientists have created statistical models aimed at generating out-of-sample predictions of presidential elections. In 2004 and 2008, PS: Political Science and Politics published symposia of the various forecasting models prior to Election Day. This exercise serves to validate models based on accuracy by garnering additional support for those that most accurately foretell the ultimate election outcome. Implicitly, these symposia assert that accurate models best capture the essential contexts and determinants of elections. In part, therefore, this exercise aims to develop the “best” model of the underlying data generating process. Scholars comparatively evaluate their models by setting their predictions against electoral results while also giving some attention to the models' inherent plausibility, parsimony, and beauty.