I tackle that question in a new post at 538. The analysis involves constructing a model of presidential approval from 1948-2008 and forecasting values for Obama. On average he is about nine points more popular than the model would predict. Out-of-sample predictions for Obama and past presidents are here (click to enlarge):
Following on this post, here is a tidbit from a new PPP poll:
Romney’s seen a massive improvement in his personal favorability numbers over the last 2 months as GOP voters have unified around him. He’s gone from a -28 spread (29/57) up to a -12 one (39/51). Most of the improvement has come with Republicans, going from 43/41 to 67/22. His numbers with Democrats are steady and he’s seen a little bit of improvement with independents from 32/55 to 36/50, although he remains unpopular.
Nate Silver’s newest critique of presidential election forecasting models has been making the rounds. He was kind enough to publish my response to his critique late last week while I was traveling, so I want to highlight it now. The essence of my response is this: