The International Institute of Forecasters (IIF) will make a $1,000 award to the author(s) of the model that best predicts the outcome of the 2008 American presidential election.
The pollyprize competition seeks to advance the scientific approach to political forecasting, and to promote greater understanding of the factors that influence presidential election outcomes.
To Qualify for Consideration
Qualifying forecasting models must be these conditions:
- The variable to be forecast is the percent of the two-party vote going to the candidate of the incumbents (the Republicans) or to the opposition (the Democrats).
- The forecast must be made with a quantitative model estimated from historical data.
- All data used to estimate the model should be submitted in machinereadable form and the models should be replicable with the data submitted.
- All qualifying entries will be evaluated according to the accuracy of their forecasts. The three models whose forecasts are closest to the actual election outcome will qualify as finalists.
- Finalists will be further evaluated according to the quality of the model: the model's contribution to our theoretical understanding of why presidential candidates win elections, the model's simplicity and ease of replication, and the forecast lead time (how far ahead of the election was the forecast issued).
Submissions and Due Dates
Submissions are to be made in two stages:
- The first submission must be made by March 14, 2008. This submission shall include a brief description of the model and the data used, along with a contingency table of predicted outcomes given alternative values of the model variables. The description should not exceed 1000 words, not counting title page, tables, figures, endnotes and references. All data used to estimate the model should be attached in machine- readable format, such as an Excel spreadsheet, and all data sources listed. Qualifying entries will be published in the Summer 2008 issue of Foresight.
- The second submission is due by October 14th, 2008. It should present the final prediction in an essay of less than 250 words.The final predictions from all entries will be assembled into a table published in a post-election issue of Foresight.
Selection process and awarding of the prize
A majority vote of the pollyprize organizing committee– Alfred Cuzán, Randy Jones, and Scott Armstrong — will decide whether a submission meets the stipulated qualifications and determine which models advance to the finalist stage. The finalists will be evaluated by a separate panel of judges consisting of a diverse group of experts in forecasting, elections, and other relevant fields. The $1,000 award will be presented to the authors following final determination of the election outcome. Additionally, the winner(s) will be invited as guest speakers at the February 2009 Forecasting Summit,
normally held in Orlando. No member of the organizing committee, the panel of judges, or the Board of Directors of the International Institute of Forecasters is eligible for the Pollyprize.
For additional information on the International Institute of Forecasters and the journal Foresight, visit www.forecasters.org.