Elections expert who’s called every presidential race since ’84: Obama will win

posted at 4:53 pm on August 30, 2011 by Allahpundit

Dude, it’s over.

“Even if I am being conservative, I don’t see how Obama can lose,” says Lichtman, the brains behind The Keys to the White House…

Working for the president are several of Lichtman’s keys, tops among them incumbency and the scandal-free nature of his administration.Undermining his re-election is a lack of charisma and leadership on key issues, says Lichtman, even including healthcare, Obama’s crowning achievement.

Lichtman developed his 13 Keys in 1981. They test the performance of the party that holds the presidency. If six or more of the 13 keys go against the party in power, then the opposing party wins.“The keys have figured into popular politics a bit,” Lichtman says. “They’ve never missed. They’ve been right seven elections in a row. A number that goes way beyond statistical significance in a record no other system even comes close to.”

They’ve been right seven elections in a row about the popular vote. See Wikipedia’s precis of what the Keys predicted for Bush and Gore in 2000. For fair-use reasons, I can’t excerpt Lichtman’s analysis of how the 13 Keys will play out for Obama next year, so follow the link up top and read through. He’s got The One winning on nine of 13 counts:

1. No contested primary
2. Incumbency
3. No third-party candidate
4. Major domestic-policy changes in his first term
5. No social unrest
6. No major scandals
7. No major foreign-policy failures
8. Major foreign-policy achievements in his first term (killing Bin Laden)
9. Little charisma by his likely opponent

The GOP wins three categories:

1. The incumbent’s party lost seats in the last House election
2. The long-term economy looks poor
3. Little charisma by the incumbent

One other criterion, the state of the economy during the campaign, is undecided because no one knows yet how the short-term trends will look. In other words, if I’m reading this correctly, the GOP will be within one Key of winning the presidency if (a) economic indicators look bad next year, which is only too grimly plausible, and (b) they nominate someone charismatic, like, say, Rick Perry. (What the threshold is for measuring “charisma,” I have no idea.) In which case, how can Lichtman seriously say, “I don’t see how Obama can lose”? Especially since, surreally, he’s counting the stimulus, which the public reviles, and ObamaCare, about which the public is deeply suspicious, as a point in Obama’s favor because they are, after all, major “changes” to American domestic policy. By that standard, even the dumbest, most hated piece of legislation should be treated as an asset to a presidential campaign so long as it’s significant enough to constitute “major change.” If you flip that Key to the GOP, then you’ve got six for the Republicans — enough to take the White House by Lichtman’s own metrics.

All of which assumes, of course, that this will be an ordinary election like the past seven were. Maybe it will; maybe there’s no such thing as an extraordinary election. But the state of the economy is surely extraordinary, poised as it is for a double-dip, and unemployment is extraordinary compared to any other era over the past 75 years. That is to say, we’re assuming that these “Keys” are equally weighted in election after election, no matter the circumstances, when basic awareness of the current political climate suggests the two economic Keys will be weighted way more heavily than any of the others. Can’t wait to see how it plays out. If, heaven forbid, we do end up in another recession and The One wins anyway, then maybe Lichtman really is a genius.

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Yeah, well the last one I was wrong about was Jimmy Carter… So I have 8 years better record than Lichtman……

And I say that 0bama will lose.

(Unless we nominate Romney or Huntsman……….
……….
Or unless Democrat voting fraud is at least four times worse than it usually is….. And, unfortunately I see that as a distinct possibility.)

LegendHasIt on August 31, 2011 at 12:20 AM

.

The Keys he gives Obama aren’t even decided correctly.

Starting another war on his own, against a country that was no threat to us, is a major foreign policy flub.

Killing Bin Laden is not a foriegn policy. And no one I know is happy about the way Obama’s Admin handled it, especially dumping the body and changing the story dozens of times.

No social unrest? REallY?

No magor scandals? Huh?

It’s not surpirse that “allahpundit” posted this non-sense.

LeeSeneca on August 31, 2011 at 3:01 AM

.

The Keys he gives Obama aren’t even decided correctly.

Starting another war on his own, against a country that was no threat to us, is a major foreign policy flub.

Killing Bin Laden is not a foriegn policy. And no one I know is happy about the way Obama’s Admin handled it, especially dumping the body and changing the story dozens of times.

No social unrest? REallY?

No magor scandals? Huh?

It’s not surprising that “allahpundit” posted this non-sense.

LeeSeneca on August 31, 2011 at 3:02 AM

1. No contested primary
2. Incumbency
3. No third-party candidate
4. Major domestic-policy changes in his first term
5. No social unrest
6. No major scandals
7. No major foreign-policy failures
8. Major foreign-policy achievements in his first term (killing Bin Laden)
9. Little charisma by his likely opponent

1)One can hope that will change…
2)Such as it is…
3)Trump? Nader? Bloomberg?
4)obamacare wasn’t a major policy change? WTF is, then? How ’bout stopping oil exploration/drilling in the Gulf?…
5)TEA Party, anyone?…
6)There are plenty of scandals, just none being publicized by the LSM or actively and publically investigated by Congress…
7)Really?…
8)Given…
9)Perry, no charisma? Palin, no charisma? TPaw has dropped out. Mitt will come in 3rd again…

Lichtman is wrong…

Gohawgs on August 31, 2011 at 3:22 AM

No social unrest – where does he live – wisconsin anyone? Oh Huntsman, is that you?

Fuquay Steve on August 31, 2011 at 5:23 AM

It’s not surprising that “allahpundit” posted this non-sense.

LeeSeneca on August 31, 2011 at 3:02 AM

I have as low an opinion of AP as anyone, but I don’t think he buys into this crap. His job is to generate traffic and he’s succeeding with this.

Extrafishy on August 31, 2011 at 5:31 AM

IMPEACH OBAMA!

Sherman1864 on August 31, 2011 at 5:38 AM

This is BULL!

Marco on August 31, 2011 at 7:35 AM

Lichtman was all over tv during the Clinton scandals defending Big Bill. If he has a long record of predictions, this is the first I’ve heard of it. And then we can talk about his disastrous run for office as a Progressive.

JAW on August 31, 2011 at 7:47 AM

“No social unrest” goes to the Dems? Really? Wisconsin? That goes quite contrary to Pat Caddell’s saying that the country is “pre-revolutionary.” As for foreign policy failures, how many does he need? Some of them haven’t failed spectacularly yet, perhaps (Egypt, Libya). His own party would say that he’s failed, though; we’re still in Iraq and Afghanistan, after all. Just ask Great Britain what they think about our foreign policy; with our best allies, we’ve been positively gaffe-tastic.

flutejpl on August 31, 2011 at 8:13 AM

1. No contested primary- We’ll see if there is no contested primary.

2. Incumbency- gotta give him that one.

3. No third-party candidate- We’ll see.

4. Major domestic-policy changes in his first term- Obamacare isn’t a done deal either.

5. No social unrest- What? This is the most restless I’ve seen the nation.

6. No major scandals- gunwalker??

7. No major foreign-policy failures- except for every encounter with a foreign dignitary the first two years.
8. Major foreign-policy achievements in his first term (killing Bin Laden)- He can have that one too, but nobody really thinks he’s responsible.

9. Little charisma by his likely opponent- Again, We’ll see what happens.

DFCtomm on August 31, 2011 at 8:15 AM

scandal-free nature of his administration

Mexican gun runners and mayors of Sacramento agree!

mankai on August 31, 2011 at 8:26 AM

All of which assumes, of course, that this will be an ordinary election like the past seven were.

From the 84 through the 04 cycle the economy was fairly good (Clinton won in 92 because of Perot). 2008 was “historic” and Bush sat there with an unpopular war and an economy caving (which he should have pinned on the Dems, but that isn’t his style… unfortunately).

1980 should be studied as the country took a hard right turn because of the stagnant economy. The last seven elections were not coming on the heels of such long-term stagnation and the passing of radical legislation and regulation.

This idea that it was Kennedy’s challenging of Carter that cost Carter the election is fantasy. The country turned to the Right. Kennedy would have been killed and there is no way a primary-free Carter makes up the ground he lost to Reagan… even without a primary challenge.

mankai on August 31, 2011 at 8:43 AM

there is no way a primary-free Carter makes up the ground he lost to Reagan… even without a primary challenge.

That sentence is from The Bureau of the Department of Redundancy Department.

d’oh!

mankai on August 31, 2011 at 8:46 AM

1. No contested primary
2. Incumbency
3. No third-party candidate
4. Major domestic-policy changes in his first term
The major domestic policy changes are unwanted by the majority of the electorate

5. No social unrest
I think the Tea Party, while certainly not violent or even hostile, it certainly does qualify as social unrest regarding the emotions of the electorate

6. No major scandals
Fast and Furious….this will be Huge next year

7. No major foreign-policy failures
Israel is a major foreign policy failure

8. Major foreign-policy achievements in his first term (killing Bin Laden)
First, Obama did not kill UBL, second how this qualifies as major foreign policy achievement is inane

9. Little charisma by his likely opponent

Two Word: Sarah Palin

georgealbert on August 31, 2011 at 10:04 AM

scandal-free nature of his administration

Can this guy read? Is he living under a rock? Proof the media is insulating Obummer.

Herb on August 31, 2011 at 10:05 AM

I have serious concerns regarding the accuracy of Lichtman’s model. Questioning and understanding the validity of the elements being credited to President Obama, I would give a couple to the opponent and seriously question one that would swing the outcome in favor of the opponent.

5. No social unrest – There is social unrest, it is just that the Media is not covering it, and understand when conservatives protest it is a mental not physical confrontation.

8. Major foreign-policy achievements in his first term (killing Bin Laden)- calling the killing Bin Laden a foreign policy achievement is erroneous. The U.S. foreign-policy says we don’t practice or condone assassination. Therefore, this action is a failure.

9. Little charisma by his likely opponent – to make such a claim now when he, we, and U.S. do not know for sure who President Obama’s opponent is yet. Among the current 10 – 12 candidates several have greater charisma than the President has and other not so much.

MSGTAS on August 31, 2011 at 10:12 AM

4. Major domestic-policy changes in his first term

http://www.rasmussenreports.com/public_content/politics/current_events/healthcare/health_care_law

Rasmussen has polled public support for REPEAL of the ObamaCare law at an average of 57% (average of 75 weekly polls) since its passage.
If a solid majority of the voters want to undo a “major domestic-policy change”, it’s not a positive “key” for the President.

5. No social unrest

What do you call all those raucous Townhall meetings last year and all the Tea Party rallies? Just because Tea Partiers are non-violent (so that the MSM doesn’t stigmatize them) doesn’t mean they aren’t angry…and they vote in droves.

7. No major foreign-policy failures

Obama failed to support the protesters against Ahmadinejad in Iran.

Obama did nothing to prevent the crackdown on Syrian protesters by Bashar Assad, a political ally of Saddam Hussein.

Obama supported an attempted dictator against ouster by his own people by a peaceful, legal, constitutional process in Honduras.

Obama snubbed our strongest ally in the Middle East (Israel).

Obama dithered for three weeks before supporting a no-fly zone in Libya, leading to a much longer war than necessary.

Obama was called “dangerously naive” by the President of France.

Obama and his wife even managed to insult the protocol of the Queen of England, our most faithful ally anywhere in the world.

The state of the economy during the campaign

Obama’s policies have failed to turn the economy around for 2-1/2 years, and more of the same will have the same result. Unless Obama reluctantly “moves to the center” and works with Republicans like Clinton did, he will be blamed for a Carter-like “malaise” as Carter was.

If we apply Lichtman’s “13 keys” objectively, his opponent gets 7 of them.

Steve Z on August 31, 2011 at 10:15 AM

Model, schmodel…

Beating Obama is a long shot. People that say otherwise have forgotten how good a campaigner Obama is and how much the media worship him.

Moesart on August 31, 2011 at 10:16 AM

The “Keys” are abject nonsense. Half of them are so subjective you can always argue them one way or another. As AP notes they are unweighted (so the economy counts just as much as a charismatic candidate, or foreign-policy success…something we already know to be untrue). Furthermore, the Keys only make a “prediction” of who will win. Which really isn’t a prediction at all (a prediction would aim at the vote percentage). A random pick would get you 3-4 out of the 7. It isn’t all that unusual to flip “heads” 7 times in a row.

The “Keys” are abject nonsense. Give them no weight. D.GOOCH

DGOOCH on August 31, 2011 at 10:50 AM

8. Major foreign-policy achievements in his first term (killing Bin Laden)- calling the killing Bin Laden a foreign policy achievement is erroneous. The U.S. foreign-policy says we don’t practice or condone assassination. Therefore, this action is a failure.

MSGTAS on August 31, 2011 at 10:12 AM

While I agree killing Bin Laden is NOT a significant foreign policy achievement, positing the reason as the U.S. not condoning assassination is a non-starter. It was a simple, but strategic act of war…something carved into US foreign policy way before Obozo began playing President.

Lichtman of course, is engaging in some serious magical thinking here.

starman on August 31, 2011 at 11:49 AM

No scandal in the Obama administration? How about Fast and Furious? How about the blatantly politicized hiring in the DoJ? How about the arrogant rulings by executive fiat?

I don’t care what Lichtman’s “keys” predict. We’ve never had a president like Barack Obama.

RebeccaH on August 31, 2011 at 11:53 AM

What a load of horse-pucky. And what a waste of time.

NEXT!

ornery_independent on August 31, 2011 at 11:54 AM

Um, no.

Akzed on August 31, 2011 at 12:20 PM

Lichtman is a liberal flack. Most of his “factors” are decided by himself as a member of the press.

“No social unrest?” 41% unemployment among young minorities.

“No major scandals?” Fast and Furious is a huge scandal which the MSM has been ignoring. Time will tell, but it looks like it’s eating a hole through the DHS and Justice departments.

“No major foreign-policy failures + major foreign-policy achievements in his first term (killing Bin Laden)” Let’s wait and see how things go in Egypt, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Syria and now Libya, they all have the potential to become big failures. Syria and Iran are making him look especially feckless.

“Little charisma by his likely opponent.” Charisma is in the eye of the beholder. Rick Perry is loaded with charisma. I think that Obama’s charisma is wearing quite thin. Compared to him, someone with Romney’s competence and ability to understand and explain the economy and to turn it around look very charismatic.

The labor movement has been the big beneficiary of most of the big bail outs, and those bailouts and the housing bubble are still quite scandalous to a lot of people. Lichtman just ignores them.

flataffect on August 31, 2011 at 12:37 PM

9. Little charisma by his likely opponent
- RICK PERRY IS MORE CHARISMATIC, AND HE DOESN’T NEED A TELEPROMPTER.

USING LICHTMAN’S OWN VALUES, OBAMA IS A GONER.

reliapundit on August 30, 2011 at 6:15 PM

mmnowakjr85 on August 31, 2011 at 12:54 PM

the scandal-free nature of his administration.

The scandal-free nature of his administration!?!?!?! Bwhahaha.

The man lacks two keys
1) The MSM won’t call, indeed will cover up, the scandals.

2) The Bradley Effect

AH_C on August 31, 2011 at 3:45 PM

No social unrest? How ’bout the tea party? They aren’t burning flags, or bras, or buildings because tea partiers don’t do that sort of thing. The social unrest category totally favors the liberals as the tea party isn’t considered social unrest. Then again, they’ve been called “racist” “terrorists” “who are holding Congress hostage.” They are “the enemy of the USA”. Sounds like social unrest to me.

No major scandals? How ’bout Operation Gunrunner? That’s a ticking timebomb!

No foreign policy failures? 1) the Reset Button? 2) Allowing China to dictate to whom we sell jets? 3) A complete failure to support Israel? 4) Continuing several wars way beyond the times where we can have any meaningful effect on their outcomes?

Obama got Bin Laden? Whatever. He was in the White House (or on the golf course) when Bin Laden was killed. Just got lucky.

It’s actually the “little charisma by the incumbent” that I find fascinating. Seems, a couple of years ago, he was the most charismatic man on the planet!! How the mighty have fallen.

Pablo Snooze on August 31, 2011 at 5:05 PM

Or, God forbid, there has been martial law declared and he decides to stay in office until the military can’t take it any longer. The arrogance and lack of integrity with this administration opens the door for anything. BTW, what happens if the military and law enforcement folks decide to refuse an order that is unconstitutional?

Dr Bob on August 31, 2011 at 7:32 PM

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