Forecasting Norwegian elections: Out of work and out of office
Across established democracies, the relationship between the economy and party choice is robust. In efforts to test the relationship further, forecasting models based on economic and political variables have been constructed for many democracies, most notably for France, the United Kingdom, and the United States. This work has produced an effective body of theory and empirical research on predicting election outcomes in advance. However, for certain other democracies, such as Norway, little or no election forecasting has been undertaken. This paper draws on established relationships from the economic voting literature and tests for their presence in Norwegian politics. We find that the vote share of the left bloc is sensitive to unemployment and whether or not they are in government. In line with the clientele hypothesis, the vote for the left has a positive relationship with unemployment figures. In addition, we find that being in office leads to a general depreciation of their vote share. The vote forecasting models constructed using these predictors are compared with and outperform an AR(1) benchmark model for sequentially updated ex post predictions of Norwegian elections over the last twenty years.
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