The Race is Already Over
by bigdaddy, Sat Sep 06, 2008 at 12:23:08 PM EDT
I recently attended a lecture by Allan Lichtman (see here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Allan_Licht man). Among other things he is a prognosticator of presidential elections and has developed a system "13 keys to the white house" that has correctly predicted the popular vote winner in every election since 1984. I believe his system also retrospectively predicted the winner in every election since 1860.
During the lecture Lichtman explained his 13 keys--it's a binary "true/false" system. What was fascinating is his system shows that things like experience, media bias, and campaigns in general make no difference in presidential elections. In fact, most of the keys can be answered well in advance of the election year.
Here are the keys:
Party Mandate After the midterm elections, the incumbent party holds more seats in the U.S. House than it did after the previous midterm elections.
Contest There is no serious contest for the incumbent-party nomination.
Incumbency The incumbent-party candidate is the sitting president.
Third party There is no significant third-party or independent campaign.
Short-term economy The economy is not in recession during the election campaign.
Long-term economy Real per-capita economic growth during the term equals or exceeds mean growth during the previous two terms.
Policy change The incumbent administration effects major changes in national policy.
Social unrest There is no sustained social unrest during the term.
Scandal The incumbent administration is untainted by major scandal.
Foreign/military failure The incumbent administration suffers no major failure in foreign or military affairs.
Foreign/military success The incumbent administration achieves a major success in foreign or military affairs.
Incumbent charisma The incumbent-party candidate is charismatic or a national hero.
Challenger charisma The challenging-party candidate is not charismatic or a national hero.
Six or more "False" means the challenging party will win, in this case Obama and the Democrats. The questions have some subjectivity to them and therefore must be answered free of partisan bias. According to Lichtman, there are EIGHT False Keys this year, therefore Obama will win.
HOWEVER, there is a major caveat this year according to Lichtman: Race. Race is not factored in to his keys and the effect of race in the election is difficult to quantify. But all else being equal, this race is over and has been over for about a year:)