Monday, October 13, 2008

Candidate attention in 2008

Following up on my earlier post on candidate attention, David Strömberg emails me about an interesting update to his article.

He uses his model to figure out out where presidential candidates should spend most of their time. Again, Florida comes on top, followed by Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Virginia and Colorado, which are the so-called battleground states. I am somewhat puzzled that California is next on the list: while loaded with electoral votes, it is a near certain Obama state.

Do candidates actually optimize? Obama does very well, with a correlation on 0.9. This is rather surprising given earlier promises to campaign in all states. But it is not surprising that McCain does not optimize well, with a correlation of 0.8. In particular, he spends a lot of time in New York, which he has a 0.3% chance of winning.

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