By NuQum Economists (Source: NuQum.com, 1/31/2016)
NuQum.com is predicting Hillary Clinton and Ted Cruz will win tomorrow’s Iowa presidential caucuses. As of 11:30am (CST), NuQum.com forecasts that Ted Cruz will win the Iowa Republican caucus by two percentage points over Donald Trump (29 percent and 27 percent, respectively). This forecast is in contrast to most of the recent polling and prediction market forecasts that show Donald Trump winning the Iowa Republican caucus. NuQum.com also forecasts Marco Rubio to finish a distant third at 15 percent of the caucus vote, followed by Ben Carson (12%), Rand Paul (4%), Jeb Bush (3), Mike Huckabee (3%), Rick Santorum (3%). Chris Christie (2%), Carly Fiorina (1%), and John Kasich (1%).
In the Democratic race, NuQum.com forecasts that Hillary Clinton will win 52 percent of the Democratic caucus votes, followed by Bernie Sanders with 45 percent and Martin O’Malley at three percent. The NuQum forecast shows the former Secretary of State with a more comfortable advantage over Bernie Sanders than most of the recent polling in Iowa.
NuQum.com economists utilize Real Clear Politics’ poll averages for its initial forecast and then modify this forecast using marginals from the most recent public poll (in this case, the Des Moines Register Iowa Poll) to adjust caucus vote percentages for each candidate. The adjustment employed for the Iowa caucus involves identifying the urban/rural composition for each candidate and weighting results accordingly. Based on a historical analysis, NuQum.com corrects for known biases in Iowa caucus polling data that typically under-represent rural votes in the final vote percentages. For example, in the 2012 Iowa caucus, most polling data significantly under-represented the final Santorum vote totals. In the 2016 caucus forecast, Ted Cruz benefits most significantly from this bias adjustment. It is a safe assumption that this bias adjustment accounts for the ability of the Iowa evangelical community to organize and get out the vote for their preferred candidate(s). For this election, those candidates most benefiting from evangelical support are Ted Cruz and Ben Carson.
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