According to The Politico, Alan Abramowitz has an especially successful model for predicting outcomes.
“It is one of the worst political environments for the party in power since World War II,” added Alan Abramowitz, a professor of public opinion and the presidency at Emory University. His forecasting model — which factors in gross domestic product, whether a party has completed two terms in the White House and net presidential approval rating — gives McCain about the same odds as Adlai Stevenson in 1952 and Carter in 1980 — both of whom were handily defeated in elections that returned the presidency to the previously out-of-power party. “It would be a pretty stunning upset if McCain won,” Abramowitz saidI think Obama's going to win as well, but I can't help but wonder if Abramowitz has factored in the fact that Obama is an African-American into his model. Perhaps the African-American candidates for the two major candidates do better when the economy is growing. But African-American candidates might do worse when their party controls congress or when sales of Birth of a Nation dvd's are growing.
The 2008 presidential election is the first election in which one of the major parties has nominated an African-American. Anybody who wants to predict the outcome has to factor that into the equation.