In conjunction with my New York Times Magazine article on President Obama’s re-election prospects, my colleagues Matt Ericson and Shan Carter have designed an interactive feature that allows you to handicap Mr. Obama’s re-election odds based on the assumptions of your choosing.
The forecasts are based on a relatively simple three-variable model that I developed in conjunction with the article and that reflect the most important things that we should be thinking about at this stage. The variables are:
– Economic growth (as measured by G.D.P.) in 2012.
– Mr. Obama’s approval ratings a year in advance of the election.
– The ideology of Mr. Obama’s Republican opponent — is he relatively moderate or very conservative?
The interactive chart is designed to allow the user to enter different levels of economic growth and see who would fare best in those particular circumstances. If GDP improves by, say 0.6% between now and Election Day, Jon Huntsman has an 87% chance of defeating the President in a head to head race. Mitt Romney would have a 78% chance. Rick Perry a 52% chance (snicker). And so on. The formula is based on Barack Obama’s approval rating, economic forecasts and the mainstream appeal of the GOP candidate’s views. And any way you manipulate the data, Jon Huntsman has the best odds against Obama in a head to head race by a wide margin. Try it out. It’s pretty cool!