Scientific formulas based on economy show Republican victory likely.
Republicans will take the White House in 2016, even with the controversial and allegedly “unelectable” Donald Trump as nominee, according to two economic models with successful records of accurately predicting presidential elections.
One model, launched by Yale professor Ray Fair in 1978, relies on the per capita growth rate of gross domestic product (GDP) in the three quarters before an election, inflation over the entire presidential term, and the number of quarters during the term in which growth per capita exceeds 3.2 percent.
Fair’s most recent forecast from January predicted a 45.66 percent share of the presidential vote for the Democratic candidate,
and the economy doesn’t suggest enough growth under Obama to predict a Democratic win based on his model. Fair’s model has only been wrong three times.
The other model, created by Emory University’s Alan Abramowitz, takes into account the incumbent president’s approval rating. While Obama’s increasing approval rating should theoretically help the Democrat’s chances of victory in 2016, his model still predicts a GOP victory.
Abramowitz’s latest forecast saw the Democratic candidate taking 48.7 percent of the vote. His model has predicted every election outcome correctly since 1992.
Some have questioned the two models’ reliability given the unique variable that is Trump’s presence in the election. Unfortunately there is no way to work Trump into either of the models.
These types of models don’t “know or care if there are two or 10 candidates,” said Dan White, an economist with Moody’s Analytics.
But the participation of a controversial and divisive candidate like Trump shouldn’t affect the models’ accuracy, according to John Wolders, an economics professor at the University of Michigan and senior fellow at the Brookings Institution who has studied these types of models.
The “point of the statistical models is to try to find the underlying similarity across all of them,” Wolders said. “So the logic that says that these models should have worked over the past few decades also says that they should work in this election cycle” and there’s “no reason to think the models should do better or worse in 2016” just because of Trump’s involvement, he said.
Indeed, a statistical model created by political science professor Helmut Norpoth of Stonybrook University predicts that Trump’s chances of winning — should he receive the nomination — are between 97 percent to 99 percent.
“The bottom line is that the primary model, using also the cyclical movement, makes it almost certain that Donald Trump will be the next president,” Norpoth said. His model works as a predictor of the results of every election except for one in the last 104 years.
There is reason to think Trump wouldn’t fare as badly in a general election as some have predicted. Pundits agree widely that the last week has been Trump’s worst in the campaign so far, after poorly-received comments about Heidi Cruz and an abortion “gaffe.”
But the most recent poll and only one taken in the wake of Trump’s supposedly awful week, performed by IBD/TIPP, shows Trump with 38 percent support. This is only between two and four points lower than his position in the previous four national polls taken previously.
And as Trump has noted on numerous occasions, he has yet to set his sights fully on taking down Clinton, being preoccupied with beating his GOP rivals. Once the full force of the Trump machine is unleashed on the Clinton campaign, Hillary may indeed go the way of Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio.
“We’ll beat Hillary so bad,” Trump said at a rally in Wisconsin on Monday. “Don’t forget, I haven’t started on Hillary yet. I haven’t focused on Hillary yet.”