I have mentioned before that many political scientists eschew opinion polls and look more closely at election predictions made on the basis of what are called the ‘fundamentals’, that depend upon objective measures (GDP, disposable income, etc.). Of course, which model you choose can affect the results that you get.
I spent considerable time on Douglas Hibbs’ Bread and Peace Model but there are others. In this article, Larry Sabato compiles the predictions of many fundamentals models for the incumbent party’s share of the two party vote and gets an average of 50.2% in favor of Barack Obama. Hibbs comes in at the very low end of the distribution at 47.5%.
A more sophisticated analysis by Montgomery, Hollenbach, and Ward uses Bayesian model averaging. When applied to the presidential election, they get 50.3% in favor of Obama.
[Update: The EMBA authors have published their computer program code that does this and others can use this to obtain the result.]