It's "Bush by a Nose" in Forecast by Delphi Survey Experts

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Media Contact:Jacquie Posey | | 215-898-6460November 1, 2004

PHILADELPHIA -- In the most recent Delphi Survey on this year's presidential election, a panel of 17 American political experts predicts a hair-splitting, 1 percent margin of victory for President Bush in the two-party vote for president.  

J. Scott Armstrong, professor of marketing at the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School, said the experts were 95 percent certain that Bush will receive at least 48 percent and not more than 53 percent of the two-party vote.   

If the panel's point forecast, 50.5 percent for Bush, proves accurate, it would be the closest margin of victory for a sitting president since Grover Cleveland beat Benjamin Harrison in 1888, only to lose in the Electoral College.

This is the first time that the Delphi method has been used for presidential election forecasting.  

"As in our previous two Delphi surveys, each of the experts first made a prediction of the most likely forecast of the vote, along with 'best case' and 'worst case' outcomes for Bush, offering reasons for each," Armstrong said.  

Next, Armstrong said that the experts were shown the individual predictions made by their peers in the survey and the reasons offered for them, along with the median and other statistics for the group. The experts were then asked to revise their predictions in light of the data.  

Armstrong and his collaborators at expect that the Delphi forecast will be more accurate than other forecasts.

Armstrong said that the Delphi forecast also has an advantage over other forecasts because information about bellwether states and historical patterns from past elections inform the experts' prediction.

The results are reported at