Political Forecasting Unit

The Political Forecasting Unit at Nottingham Business School is involved in the investigation and analysis of all areas of election and political forecasting. The Unit undertakes privately commissioned contracts and reports and is available for consultancy and media enquiries.

Available for advice and consultation on all matters to do with election and political forecasting globally, the unit employs state-of-the art forecasting techniques including:

  • polling analysis
  • betting and prediction market analysis
  • Expert judgements
  • econometric and statistical modelling.

Techniques employed by the Unit were utilised by the Director of the Unit, Professor Leighton Vaughan Williams, to correctly call the winner of every state in the 2004, 2008 and 2012 US Presidential elections as well as numerous Congressional elections. Some of these forecasts were featured in the Economist magazine and on MSNBC and ABC News prior to polling. Professor Vaughan Williams also accurately predicted the winning majority in the 2005 British Election in the Economist magazine over two weeks before polling day, as well as on BBC Radio 4's Today programme and the BBC World Service

The unit was consulted by the Economist again in October 2007 for a forecast of the likely outcome if a general election were to be called in the UK. Prof. Leighton Vaughan Williams has also acted as election analyst for Channel 4 News and called accurately the outcome of the 2010 British General Election as well as the 2014 Scottish Independence Referendum. He also correctly forecast weeks in advance of the 2015 General Election, in the national and international print and broadcast media, that David Cameron would win the election and be returned to office as Conservative Party Prime Minister.

To provide the best possible analysis of available polling data, as well as the most accurate forecasts of election outcomes, Professor Vaughan Williams has developed a range of new methodologies, including the Polling Tracker, the Market Tracker and the ANS (Adjusted National Swing). The ANS is employed to produce estimates of how vote shares are likely to translate into seats and electoral votes. For an insight into the role of markets in forecasting election outcomes, see How to Forecast an Election (and How to Win One!) by Leighton Vaughan Williams.

For more information about the Political Forecasting Unit, please contact Professor Leighton Vaughan Williams, Director of the Unit on +44 (0)115 848 6150 or via email.

Take a look at Leighton's blog.


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Politics, voting, polling