If you eliminate the candidates with double-digit leads, the front-runner’s record is eight Electoral College wins in 10 tries, or a batting average of 80 percent.
This a simple method — to the point of being crude. But it’s interesting, nevertheless, that the 80 percent figure corresponds quite well with the FiveThirtyEight forecast, which gave Mr. Obama a 78 percent chance of winning as of Sunday night, and with the odds on offer by bookmakers, many of whom list Mr. Obama as about a 4-to-1 favorite.
The second theme is one that we’ve brought up before. There has not been any tendency, at least at this stage of the race, for the contest to break toward the challenging candidate.
Instead, it’s actually the incumbent-party candidate who has gained ground on average since 1936. On average, the incumbent candidate added 4.6 percentage points between the late September polls and his actual Election Day result, whereas the challenger gained 2.5 percentage points.
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