Against all Odds: Forecasting Brazilian Presidential Elections in times of political disruption


When the number of observed elections is low, subnational data can be used to perform electoral forecasts. Turgeon and Rennó (2012) applied this solution and proposed three forecasting models to analyze Brazilian presidential elections (1994-2006). The models, adapted from forecasting models of American and French presidential elections, considers economic and political factors. We extend their analysis to the recent presidential elections in Brazil (2010, 2014 and 2018) and find that the addition of the three recent elections does not improve the accuracy of our forecast models although it strengthens the relationship between the explanatory variables and vote for the incumbent. We also find that models based on the popularity of the incumbent outperform those based on trial-heat polls and that electoral forecast models can survive earthquake elections like the 2018 election that led to the unexpected rise of “outsider” and extremist candidate Jair Bolsonaro.
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