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Forecasts of the 2012 US Presidential Election based on Candidates’ Perceived Competence in Handling the Most Important Issue*

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  18 November 2013


The Big-Issue Model predicts election outcomes based on voters’ perceptions of candidates’ ability to handle the most important issue. It provided accurate forecasts of the 2012 US presidential election. The results demonstrate the model's usefulness if one issue clearly dominates the campaign, such as the state of the economy in the 2012 election. It is also particularly valuable if economic fundamentals disagree, a situation in which forecasts from traditional political economy models suggest high uncertainty. The model provides immediate feedback to political candidates and parties on the success of their campaign and can advise them on which issues to assign the highest priority.

Original Articles
Copyright © The European Political Science Association 2013 

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*Dr. Andreas Graefe is a Research Fellow at the Department of Communication Science and Media Research at LMU Munich, Oettingenstrasse 67, 80538 Munich, Germany ( J. Scott Armstrong is Professor of Marketing at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, 748 Huntsman Hall, Philadelphia PA 19104, USA ( We would like to thank Jennifer Kwok for editorial work.


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Graefe and Armstrong Dataset