Forecasting politics by ideological modeling

Nate Silver is running an interesting forecasting model for the 2012 US presidential election.  The thing is based not on demographics nor the economy, but on each candidates’ ideological position.

How is this determined, “objectively” as Silver claims?  The model builds an ideological score based on four sources: Congressional voting record, recent polls, campaign contributors, and public statements.   Those sources include  polling agencies (Associated Press, Gallup, YouGov), several political scientists’ projects (ex: DW-Nominate), and OnTheIssues.org, “a nonprofit (and avowedly nonpartisan) site that tracks public statements the candidates have made on a series of 20 issues”.

Based on this, if a score of 50 is key, then Romney seems to have the best chance:

Silver qualifies this by suggesting an improving economy could give Obama a November victory.

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