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Anderson Center election model predicts Republican victory

December 7, 2011
The exception to the Anderson Center election forecast model is the 1960 Nixon vs. Kennedy election.

The exception to the Anderson Center election forecast model is the 1960 Nixon vs. Kennedy election.

A newly-revised presidential forecast equation developed by the Anderson Center for Economic Research projects a Republican victory in the presidential election next November.  The equation is not based on actual candidates.  Rather, it forecasts the popular vote margin of victory or loss for the presidential candidate representing the incumbent party.

For example, for the 2012 election the equation projects the margin of victory or loss for the incumbent Democratic Party candidate, President Obama.

The model is based on the following explanatory variables:

  • Approval rating of the incumbent party’s sitting president
    one year prior to the election (November)
  • Percentage change in real GDP in the election year
  • Percentage change in employment in the election year

The sole exception is the 1960 Nixon vs. Kennedy election, where the equation forecasted a popular vote victory for Nixon by a margin of 3.2 percent.  Nixon lost by a scant 0.2 percent.

In the 2000 Gore vs. Bush II election, the model correctly predicted a popular vote victory for Gore even though he eventually lost the Electoral College vote.

For the upcoming election, the Chapman forecast of relatively weak growth in both real GDP in 2012 (2.3 percent) and employment growth (1.1 percent) does not auger well for the Democratic candidate.

Even more significant, in terms of the forecasting equation, is President Obama’s low approval rating of 44 this past November.  The figure at the right shows that no incumbent party candidate with an approval rating below 45 one year prior to an election ever won the popular vote count.

After including all variables, the equation forecasts that the Democratic candidate will lose the popular vote by a margin of 8.1 percent.

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