Alfred G. Cuzán

Alfred G. Cuzán
University of West Florida | UWF · Department of Government

PhD

About

94
Publications
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Introduction
Skills and Expertise

Publications

Publications (94)
Article
Exponential functions, widely used in the physical sciences, also have been used to model political phenomena. To our knowledge, however, this tool has not been used to replicate the electoral survival of the government or administration in several democracies. This article reports that an exponential survival model is a good fit for the reelection...
Chapter
Full-text available
The PollyVote uses evidence-based techniques for forecasting the popular vote in presidential elections. The forecasts are derived by averaging existing forecasts generated by six different forecasting methods. In 2016, the PollyVote correctly predicted that Hillary Clinton would win the popular vote. The 1.9 percentage-point error across the last...
Article
Full-text available
Unlike economists, it is unusual for political scientists to examine first principles of our discipline. Perhaps there is a conviction or fear that these do not exist or at least that they are elusive, so that the attempt is bound to fail; or that they do exist but there is no reliable means to discover or verify them, so that the effort will be mi...
Article
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A Recap of the 2016 Election Forecasts - Volume 50 Issue 2 - James E. Campbell, Helmut Norpoth, Alan I. Abramowitz, Michael S. Lewis-Beck, Charles Tien, James E. Campbell, Robert S. Erikson, Christopher Wlezien, Brad Lockerbie, Thomas M. Holbrook, Bruno Jerôme, Véronique Jerôme-Speziari, Andreas Graefe, J. Scott Armstrong, Randall J. Jones, Alfred...
Article
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The PollyVote Forecast for the 2016 American Presidential Election - Volume 49 Issue 4 - Andreas Graefe, Randall J. Jones, J. Scott Armstrong, Alfred G. Cuzán
Research
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In Loyalists & Revolutionaries. Political Leaders Compared, Rejai and Phillips (1988; henceforth R&P) developed and tested a two-stage model of leadership. They found that individual psychology, acquired skills, and situational or environmental characteristics converge and interact in the making of leaders and, at the same time, at a time of politi...
Research
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This is an essay on the seemingly endless struggle between literature and power. It is anchored in Cuba’s “Padilla Case,” the arrest, trial, and public confession of the poet Heberto Padilla. The case had far-reaching repercussions, breaking up the love affair between “the Cuban Revolution,” i.e., Fidel Castro and his regime, and literary figures o...
Research
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A somewhat different version of pp. 15-21 appeared as “The Law of Shrinking Support: Implications for Cuba,” in Cuban Affairs, 2014, 9, 3. A much abridged version of the remainder appeared in PS: Political Science and Politics, 2015 (July) 48, 3, pp 415-419. The data file has been expanded since that article was accepted for publication and some er...
Article
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Drawing on more than 500 elections from around the world, this article presents five empirical laws of politics. Four of these laws span democracies and dictatorships, and one sets a boundary between the two. In both regimes the governing party or coalition represents a minority of the electorate. In democracies this minority usually represents a p...
Article
In Loyalists & Revolutionaries. Political Leaders Compared, Mostafa Rejai and Kay Phillips developed and tested a two-stage model of leadership. They found that individual psychology, acquired skills, and environment converge and interact in the making of leaders and, at the same time, at a time of political crisis channel them into one of two oppo...
Article
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We review the performance of the PollyVote, which combined forecasts from polls, prediction markets, experts’ judgment, political economy models, and index models to forecast the two-party popular vote in the 2012 U.S. Presidential Election. Throughout the election year the PollyVote provided highly accurate forecasts, outperforming each of its com...
Article
Full-text available
We summarize the literature on the effectiveness of combining forecasts by assessing the conditions under which combining is most valuable. Using data on the six US presidential elections from 1992 to 2012, we report the reductions in error obtained by averaging forecasts within and across four election forecasting methods: poll projections, expert...
Article
Political scientists tend to shy away from claiming that there are laws of politics. This diffidence is unwarranted. Here, I present five empirical laws of politics. By a "law" of politics I mean an empirical regularity that is invariant, or almost invariant, that is descriptive of intrinsic properties of politics, democracy, and the state. The law...
Data
We summarize the literature on the effectiveness of combining forecasts by assessing the conditions under which combining is most valuable. Using data on the six US presidential elections from 1992 to 2012, we report the reductions in error obtained by averaging forecasts within and across four election forecasting methods: poll projections, expert...
Article
This is an essay on the recurrent struggle between literature and power. With the 1971 arrest and forced public confession of the poet Heberto Padilla, Fidel Castro launched his version of a “cultural revolution” in Cuba. The “Padilla Case,” as it came to be known, resonated internationally, leading to an open break between the regime and many of i...
Article
The Fiscal Model of presidential elections not only failed to predict that President Obama would win reelection handily, but the error incurred in the forecast of the incumbent share of the two-party vote was such (46.9% vs. 51.8% or more) as to warrant a rating of “inaccurate” or “quite inaccurate” in Campbell's table of benchmarks for evaluating...
Article
Full-text available
The present study reviews the accuracy of four methods for forecasting the 2013 German election: polls, prediction markets, expert judgment, and quantitative models. On average, across the two months prior to the election, polls were most accurate, with a mean absolute error of 1.4 percentage points, followed by quantitative models (1.6), expert ju...
Article
The Fiscal Model forecast of the 2012 presidential election published in the October issue of PS: Political Science and Politics not only failed to predict that President Obama would win reelection handily, but missed his actual share of the two-party vote by about five percent points (46.9% v. 51.8%). An “audit” of the model appears to show that t...
Article
In March 2009, at a time when President Obama was basking in the glow of the honeymoon with the public every new president enjoys, I asked, “Will Barack Obama be a one-term president?” What prompted me to pose so impertinent a question at so hopeful a time was that the Office of Management and Budget was projecting that that year the federal govern...
Article
Full-text available
Using DEA methodology, we estimate and rank the relative efficiency of presidents at converting fiscal, economic, and political variables at the end-of-term election into votes for themselves or their party’s candidate. Thirty administrations spanning the period 1880-2000 are compared. The analysis yields several efficient presidents from each part...
Article
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Alfred Cuzán offers his postmortem on forecasts made for the midterm elections for the U.S. House of Representatives. His evaluation compares the judgment of three experts, six statistical models, and one (betting) prediction market. It seems like the best political forecasts emerge when forecasters place their bets. However, this issue of Foresigh...
Article
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Using a simple model similar to one that correctly predicted a party turnover in the House of Representatives in 2006, the chance of the Republicans recapturing the chamber is estimated. According to the model, the odds are against them, sufficient to stoke their hopes for success.
Article
For the Republicans to regain control of the House of Representatives this year, the Democrats need to suffer a net loss of 40 members, or just under 16% of the 257 seats they took in 2008. With a model estimated with elections since 1870, here I evaluate the likelihood of such an eventuality.
Article
Full-text available
Three-decade-old research suggests that although regression coefficients obtained with ordinary least squares (OLS) are optimal for fitting a model to a sample, unless the N over which the model was estimated is large, they are generally not very much superior and frequently inferior to equal weights or unit weights for making predictions in a vali...
Article
Full-text available
In this paper a simulation technique borrowed from civil engineering is applied to American presidential elections to explore the key relationship between federal spending and incumbent reelection, represented by the fiscal model. On the one hand, as Machiavelli would have understood, an expansionary fiscal policy militates against incumbent reelec...
Article
Full-text available
In the PollyVote, we evaluated the combination principle to forecast the five U.S. presidential elections between 1992 and 2008. We combined forecasts from three or four different component methods: trial heat polls, the Iowa Electronic Markets (IEM), quantitative models and, in the 2004 and 2008 contests, periodic surveys of experts on American po...
Article
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The October 2008 issue of PS published a symposium of presidential and congressional forecasts made in the summer leading up to the election. This article is an assessment of the accuracy of their models. The presidential election forecast made with the Fiscal Model three months before Election Day put the incumbents' share of the two-party vote (V...
Article
Full-text available
At PoliticalForecasting.com, better known as the Pollyvote, the authors combine forecasts from four sources: election polls, a panel of American political experts, the Iowa Electronic Market, and quantitative models. The day before the election, Polly predicted that the Republican ticket's share of the two-party vote would be 47.0%. The outcome was...
Article
In the Summer and Fall 2008 issues of Foresight, Randall Jones and Alfred Cuzan described 13 regression models used to forecast presidential elections and reported the models' forecasts for the 2008 US presidential election. Here is their audit of the results. Copyright International Institute of Forecasters, 2009
Article
In 2004, for the first time the fiscal model was employed for the purpose of real-time, ex ante forecasting of a presidential election. The results were encouraging (Cuzán and Bundrick 2005). This year, however, the model encounters a set of challenging conditions, relevant only to it, never seen in the data before. In this paper, we briefly summar...
Article
With the November 2008 U.S. presidential election looming, Randall and Alfred describe the enduring forecasting models that have been created by economists and political scientists for predicting the results of this quadrennial ritual. The most stable models since 1996 have consistently forecast the election winner, with an average error of less th...
Article
As a follow-up to their Summer 2008 article in Foresight, Jones and Kuzan present a table of 13 regression model forecasts of the major-party vote in the U.S. presidential election. Copyright International Institute of Forecasters, 2008
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Prior research offers a mixed view of the value of expert surveys for long-term election forecasts. On the positive side, experts have more information about the candidates and issues than voters do. On the negative side, experts all have access to the same information. Based on prior literature and on our experiences with the 2004 presidential ele...
Article
The actions of government fall into two types: taxes (the taking of property) and expenditures (the awarding of gifts). Politicians profit as long as the value of resources raised from taxation exceeds the cost of expenditures. From their point of view, fiscal efficiency consists in maximizing the support obtained by spending and minimizing the opp...
Article
The economic analysis of the power to tax and spend, or what Franz Oppenheimer called “the political means,” is applied to democracies and to dictatorships. The constraints imposed by democracies and dictatorships on the “iron law of political redistribution” and the “law of hierarchical centralization” are examined. It is shown that the fiscal exp...
Article
A resource mobilization political opportunities paradigm of revolution in the Third World yields the hypotheses; Sufficient poverty, corruption, and social, economic, and political inequalities, grievances and discontent are assumed to exist in most Third World autocracies to legitimate violent revolution. Yet, revolution is rare, having more to do...
Article
Full-text available
Models for forecasting the outcome of elections to the U. S. House of Representatives have not been particularly successful (Jones and Cuzán 2006). To cite the most recent example, in 2002, when the Republicans added to their majority, three forecasting models designed by distinguished political scientists had wrongly predicted that the Democrats w...
Article
Full-text available
In this paper we apply a simulation technique borrowed from civil engineering to the fiscal model of presidential elections. In this model, federal spending policy and presidential election outcomes are interrelated. On the one hand, as Machiavelli would have understood, an expansionary fiscal policy militates against incumbent reelection but a cut...
Article
Full-text available
Lichtman (2005) reports that the Keys model has been able to pick the winner of every presidential election since 1860, retrospectively through 1980 and prospectively from 1984-2004. Given this record, it seems sensible to examine this index method. We tested how well the Keys model predicted the winner of the popular vote, and also how closely it...
Article
Scott and Alfred describe Allan Lichtman's Keys Model as an example of an index method of forecasting, which assigns ratings of favorable, unfavorable, or indeterminate to influencing variables. They describe how index methods have been applied in other decision-making contexts, and they discuss when such methods might be useful analytical tools fo...
Article
The International Institute of Forecasters, publisher of Foresight, sponsored a competition awarding a $1000 prize to the modelers that most accurately forecast the outcome of the 2006 U. S. Congressional election. This brief article describes models previously used to forecast midterm elections. Copyright International Institute of Forecasters, 20...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
The outcome of the 2004 presidential election was forecast by applying the combination principle, a procedure which in other contexts has been shown to reduce forecast error. This forecasting technique involved averaging within and across four categories of methods (polls, Iowa Electronic Market quotes, quantitative models, and a Delphi survey of e...
Article
Full-text available
This paper compares the forecast of the 2004 presidential election generated with the fiscal model with those produced with models included in what we call the Campbell Collection, after the editor or co-editor of several successive special issues of P.S. Political Science and Politics devoted to forecasting. The analysis shows that the fiscal mode...
Article
No one came closer to predicting the outcome of the 2004 U. S. presidential election than the team at politicalforecasting.com, also called pollyvote.com. They tell us how they did it and whether they think they can do it again. Copyright International Institute of Forecasters, 2005
Article
This article updates, deepens, and extends previous articles published in this journal on the relation between fiscal policy and presidential elections. It presents evidence that is consistent with the view that voters reward fiscal frugality and punish fiscal expansion. The relationship is robust with respect to economic conditions, presidential i...
Article
Full-text available
This research note presents a model in which fiscal policy, measured by changes in the ratio of federal outlays to gross national product between election years, is a factor in explaining and forecasting the outcome of the past 30 presidential elections. Compared with six forecasting models assembled in a special issue of this journal in the fall o...
Book
Full-text available
This essay explores the parallels and divergences be- tween Fidel Castro and Machiavelli's self-made ruler. Much of The Prince deals with the problem of how a man can raise himself from private fortune or even obscure and abject origins to a position of undisput- ed political primacy as conqueror or founder of a new state or regime. Clearly, Fidel...
Chapter
The Portuguese régime change from dictatorship to democracy, set in motion by the April 1974 military coup and finalized with the 1982 and 1989 constitutional amendments, offers clues for answering contested questions about transitions to democracy. Among those questions are the following: Are there socio-economic prerequisites for democracy? What...
Article
Full-text available
This article builds on our previous work, which showed that presiden tial popularity in Costa Rica is responsive to economic conditions. Here the analysis covers, in addition to Costa Rica, four sister republics which only recently have undergone democratization. We find that, as in the United States, presidential popularity in Central America rise...
Article
Fiscal policy is both a contributor to and an effect of presidential electoral fortunes in the United States. An analysis of presidential election results between 1880 and 1992 shows that, except in periods of major war, an increase in the ratio of federal outlays to GNP has a negative effect on presidential reelection independent of inflation or g...
Article
Full-text available
The collapse of the Soviet Union has been accompanied by critical commentaries on what are called "sins of Sovietology." Critics have focused not so much on the failure of specialists to predict the breakup of the empire that Stalin built as on their alleged inability to understand the very nature of communist regimes? By the same token, Nicaragua'...
Article
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1 Many thanks to an anonymous reviewer of this journal, to Ray Fair, and to Randall Jones of the University of Central Oklahoma, from whose comments on earlier work of ours we have profited, for their criticisms and suggestions. Also, we are grateful to William Niskanen and Sam Peltzman who, at our request, offered suggestions to help us to explain...
Article
Iberoamerican regimes in existence between 1973 and 1983 are classified into three types: stable democracies, stable dictatorships, and unstable dictatorships. These are compared on twelve background, policy, and performance variables. No great differences in background variables are observed among the three types but there are differences in polic...
Article
This article deals with decision making in systems at the level of the society. An earlier paper published in Behavioral Science (Heggen & Cuzán, 1981) argued that government could be reduced to a firm whose behavior is consistent with the laws of microeconomics. This paper builds on that and related articles by Cuzán and Heggen. Several models of...
Article
An earlier paper showed a negative relation between increases and accelerations in F, the ratio of federal expenditures to GNP and E, the reelection or defeat of the incumbent party in the White House over the last 100 years. This paper argues that there also exists a negative relation between V, the percentage of the popular vote cast for the incu...
Article
This is an exploration of the political economy of ports in the United States and Great Britain. A number of technical, economic, and political issues concerning ports are examined. Particular attention is paid to the institutional evolution of ports from private to public ownership, and its consequences for port efficiency. The paper concludes wit...
Conference Paper
In this paper we examine the physical and economic nature of beaches. We argue that these resources can be appropriated for private use in much the same way water is treated as marketable property in the arid regions of the United States. We show how rights to sand can be allocated according to the American Doctrine of Prior Appropriation, a rule f...
Article
In an earlier paper, Cuzán presented a micropolitical model on the relationships between the legitimacy of government, the scope of government, and the level of coercion administered by government to implement its commands; the model was successfully applied to 1974 data from Ave Central American countries. This paper takes Cuzán's original model a...
Article
In most regions of the United States, but especially in the West, demand for water is fast outstripping its supply at current prices. This problem has led many analysts and decision-makers to conclude that what is needed is state and federal allocation of water to competing uses according to comprehensive plans designed to maximize social welfare....
Article
Full-text available
In 2004, Scott Armstrong, Alfred Cuzán, and Randy Jones launched the PollyVote to see if combining forecasts from different methods could improve the accuracy of election forecasting relative to individual forecasting methods. Scott had previously reported evidence that combining nearly always reduced forecast error below the typical individual met...
Article
Full-text available
This paper reports on a set of simulations of a fiscal model of American presidential elections previously developed by the authors in which, independently of economic conditions, fiscal expansion and consecutive terms in office combine to reduce the percent of the two-party vote going to the incumbents, thus contributing to their defeat. The model...
Article
Full-text available
The outcome of the 2004 presidential election was forecast by applying the combination principle, a procedure which in other contexts has been shown to reduce forecast error. This forecasting technique involved averaging within and across four categories of methods (polls, Iowa Electronic Market quotes, quantitative models, and a Delphi survey of e...
Article
Full-text available
In "Fitzgibbon Survey of Latin American Democra-cy: An Update of the 2000 Tabulations," Emporia State University Political Science Professor Phil Kelly asked whether "certain reformist and/or radical states, such as Cuba and Nicaragua, [are] given high-er scale rankings because the majority of survey par-ticipants reflect a 'liberal' bias as was se...
Article
Full-text available
In this year's presidential election, as in 2004, the Pollyvote applied the evidence-based principle of combining all credible forecasts (Armstrong 2001) to predict the election outcome. Pollyvote is calculated by averaging within and across four components for forecasting the incumbent's share of the two-party vote, weighting them all equally. The...
Article
Full-text available
Defenders of Mussolini's fascist state used to say that that at least it kept the trains running on time. Similarly, sympathizers and apologists for Fidel Castro's tyranny credit it with what are said to be remarkable progress in Cuba's literacy and infant mortality rates since 1959. But, as the accompanying table demonstrates, these "achievements...

Projects

Projects (2)
Project
The PollyVote project uses the high-profile application of predicting U.S. presidential election outcomes to demonstrate advances in forecasting research. When the PollyVote was first launched in 2004, the original goal was to demonstrate the benefits of combining forecasts. Since then, the PollyVote team has expanded its focus by analyzing the value of new forecasting methods such as expectation surveys and index models. With the 2016 election, the PollyVote uses natural language generation technology to produce automated news based on the forecasting data. The goal of this project is to study how users perceive automated news for such a high-involvement topic that incorporates uncertainty rather than facts.