2 out of 3 economic models predict GOP will win the White House

Is the GOP favored to win the 2016 election? According to a couple of economic models used to predict outcomes based on GDP and other factors the answer is yes. The Hill has an interesting piece about the models and the information they use to predict who will win:


Ray Fair, a Yale professor who launched his model in 1978, told The Hill that while all elections include unruly features that an economic model can’t pick up, “this one seems particularly unusual.”

“If there’s any time in which personalities would trump the economy it would be this election,” Fair said.

Fair’s model has correctly forecast all but three presidential races since 1916 but was wrong in 2012, when it predicted a narrow loss for Obama to Mitt Romney.

It relies on just three pieces of information: per capita growth rate of gross domestic product in the three quarters before an election, inflation over the entire presidential term and the number of quarters during the term growth per capita exceeds 3.2 percent.

Given the sluggish economy, his model doesn’t show enough growth under Obama to predict a Democratic win in the election. In his most recent forecast from January, his model predicted a 45.66 percent share of the presidential vote for the Democratic candidate, less than the 49 percent it predicted in 2012.

There are two other models mentioned in the piece, one out of Emory University and one run by Moody’s. Both of these models include more information than the Yale model including the incumbent president’s approval rating. The Emory University model currently predicts a GOP win, though that could change as President Obama’s approval rating climbs. The Moody model currently predicts a Dem win though, similarly, that could change if the president’s approval rating declines.


President Obama’s approval ratings have soared recently, probably partly the result of the sometimes ugly battle taking place within the GOP. The Wall Street Journal noted the trend a couple weeks ago:

For the first time in three years Mr. Obama’s daily approval rating in the Gallup poll rose above 50%. That’s a significant shift from its low of 38% in the fall of 2014 and higher than the 47% average for presidents at this point in their final year in office. In a Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll conducted earlier this month, the president’s approval rating was 49%, up from a low of 40% in fall 2014.

The reason Mr. Obama appears to be faring so well among Americans is unclear, but it could be the confluence of several factors, said Anna Greenberg, a Democratic pollster: the economy, the lack of bruising fights between the White House and Congress and the discord in the GOP.

As noted, that was two weeks ago. Currently, Gallup’s rolling average has Obama at 52% approval to 43% disapproval. That’s roughly the inverse of where he was during the 2014 election.

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