In February, when, on the the Signal, we first unveiled the model for predicting presidential elections, we wrote that, “while campaigns and candidates matter, they don’t matter all that much. Despite the varying quality and positions of the campaigns and candidates over the last 10 presidential elections, variables beyond their immediate control describe the outcome very well.”

At the time, our model predicted that Barack Obama will win reelection with 303 electoral votes. In the past five months, as the campaigns have spent tens of millions of dollars on advertisements and fought tooth and nail for the smallest advantages, the model has remained steady. Only Virginia has switched columns at any point, wavering between camps as our predictions show and incredibly tight match there. At the moment, we have Obama eking out a victory in Virginia, keeping him at 303 electoral votes. Should he lose the state, he would retain the presidency with 290 votes to Mitt Romney’s 248.

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