Economic model predicts Romney win

The mathematical model that has predicted the last eight presidential elections–based on economic conditions–is predicting a Romney win.  I don’t believe, however, that it factors in Todd Akin, Republicans skinny-dipping in the Sea of Galilee, or general contempt for us conservatives.  We’ll see who is right.  Me or the machines.  I hope the machines.  But here is what the formula predicts:

Mitt Romney will win the popular vote and take the White House with more than 300 electoral votes, according to an election model that correctly determines the winner when applied to the last eight presidential elections.

The model, based on state-level economic data, predicts that President Barack Obama will lose nearly all key states that many observers view as toss-ups: North Carolina, Virginia, Ohio, Florida, Colorado, Wisconsin and New Hampshire. He’d also drop Pennsylvania and Minnesota, where polls indicate Obama is ahead, the study says.

The analysis, authored by Colorado political science professors Kenneth Bickers and Michael Berry, looks at unemployment rates and per capita income from the last 22 years and builds a model that would have accurately predicted each election. It also looks at other indicators, like which party currently holds the White House.

“The apparent advantage of being a Democratic candidate and holding the White House disappears when the national unemployment rate hits 5.6 percent,” Berry said in a University of Colorado press release. The unemployment rate is currently 8.3 percent nationally.

via Professors’ study predicts Romney win – Alex Byers – POLITICO.com.

So Obama will lose states that he is currently ahead in.  And he is ahead even though those states have dismal economies, as measured by the data the professors are using to predict his future defeat, which does not seem to be effecting voters yet, but presumably will later.  We’ll see how that goes.

But the model worked for the last eight elections!  My fear, though, is that we have crossed the event horizon of the black hole of postmodernism, so that as a culture we are oblivious not only to objective truth but now to objective facts, including those facts that impact us the most.

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • http://enterthevein.wordpress.com J. Dean

    God is still sovereign, Dr. Veith :D

    And if the devil is still “God’s devil” as Luther once said, then I think we can say that Obama is still “God’s Obama.” If God could use Judas in His sovereign will, certainly he can use the President of the United States!

  • http://enterthevein.wordpress.com J. Dean

    God is still sovereign, Dr. Veith :D

    And if the devil is still “God’s devil” as Luther once said, then I think we can say that Obama is still “God’s Obama.” If God could use Judas in His sovereign will, certainly he can use the President of the United States!

  • Eric Brown

    I think rising food costs will cause President Obama to lose in November. As noted elsewhere, we like our food cheap and disposable. With the drought and poor corn crop, food is going to start going up and up and up come October and November. This is going to tick off the middle, and they will then listen to the rhetoric of “the President’s policies are ruining our economy” even though that isn’t the direct influence on prices. Elections are decided by the pocketbooks of independent voters.

  • Eric Brown

    I think rising food costs will cause President Obama to lose in November. As noted elsewhere, we like our food cheap and disposable. With the drought and poor corn crop, food is going to start going up and up and up come October and November. This is going to tick off the middle, and they will then listen to the rhetoric of “the President’s policies are ruining our economy” even though that isn’t the direct influence on prices. Elections are decided by the pocketbooks of independent voters.

  • Steve Billingsley

    I am not a prophet or a son of a prophet, but I think Romney will win in November and it won’t be as close as people think. I don’t say this because I am a big Romney fan or a big Obama hater. I just think that in the end of the day, low information undecideds will break against Obama due to, more than anything else, a sluggish economy. At the end of the day and about $2B worth of campaign spending later, I still think it comes down to that. Reelection campaigns are almost always a combination of a referendum on the incumbent and if the challenger is a plausible replacement. In 2004 Bush was vulnerable, but Kerry failed the plausibility test (“I voted for it before I voted against it”) and the fact that the economy seemed strong helped Bush as well. This time the economy won’t help Obama and Romney just has to appear to be plausible as a President.

  • Steve Billingsley

    I am not a prophet or a son of a prophet, but I think Romney will win in November and it won’t be as close as people think. I don’t say this because I am a big Romney fan or a big Obama hater. I just think that in the end of the day, low information undecideds will break against Obama due to, more than anything else, a sluggish economy. At the end of the day and about $2B worth of campaign spending later, I still think it comes down to that. Reelection campaigns are almost always a combination of a referendum on the incumbent and if the challenger is a plausible replacement. In 2004 Bush was vulnerable, but Kerry failed the plausibility test (“I voted for it before I voted against it”) and the fact that the economy seemed strong helped Bush as well. This time the economy won’t help Obama and Romney just has to appear to be plausible as a President.

  • Cincinnatus

    What Steve said @3. Incumbents (or their fellow party members) almost always win when the economy is good/tangibly improving. Incumbents almost always lose when the economy is bad.

    The elections of 1932, 1960, possibly 1968, 1980, possibly 2000, and definitely 2008 are examples of prominent party switches in the Presidency during times of economic decline.

    Not always, but almost always. The Akin stuff, the skinny-dipping stuff–all those are just minor distractions.

  • Cincinnatus

    What Steve said @3. Incumbents (or their fellow party members) almost always win when the economy is good/tangibly improving. Incumbents almost always lose when the economy is bad.

    The elections of 1932, 1960, possibly 1968, 1980, possibly 2000, and definitely 2008 are examples of prominent party switches in the Presidency during times of economic decline.

    Not always, but almost always. The Akin stuff, the skinny-dipping stuff–all those are just minor distractions.

  • SKPeterson

    I’d just like to chime in here and say that no matter who wins, it will actually make far, far less difference than many people think. Yes, yes, “Think of the judiciary,” will come the cry. Looking to the courts or, especially, the Supremes for restraint or upholding constitutional governance and restraint is an exercise in futility. If there is any sense amongst those called ‘common,’ people will realize that they need to have their states reassert themselves and get out from underneath the government and refuse to allow so much top-down interference. And I say this for both California and Texas. If California wants to enact laws and regulations that I think are mind-numbingly asinine, so be it. If Texas wants to go in a 180 degree different direction. Fine. But don’t have some federal district court or court of appeals or the DOJ or the EPA or whatever other acronymed-to-the-hilt federal agency step in and interfere with those decisions. Let the states succeed. Let them fail. But, most of all, let them alone.

  • SKPeterson

    I’d just like to chime in here and say that no matter who wins, it will actually make far, far less difference than many people think. Yes, yes, “Think of the judiciary,” will come the cry. Looking to the courts or, especially, the Supremes for restraint or upholding constitutional governance and restraint is an exercise in futility. If there is any sense amongst those called ‘common,’ people will realize that they need to have their states reassert themselves and get out from underneath the government and refuse to allow so much top-down interference. And I say this for both California and Texas. If California wants to enact laws and regulations that I think are mind-numbingly asinine, so be it. If Texas wants to go in a 180 degree different direction. Fine. But don’t have some federal district court or court of appeals or the DOJ or the EPA or whatever other acronymed-to-the-hilt federal agency step in and interfere with those decisions. Let the states succeed. Let them fail. But, most of all, let them alone.

  • Jon

    The Republicans must Stay On Message about the economy and Obama’s failure to deliver what he promised on the economy.

    Plus 1 for Pr. Brown @2. Rising prices for food and also FUEL and other basic necessities coupled with bleak economic outlook are what will “bring it home” to independent voters.

    Everything else, the “WoW” (war on women) blah, blah…is a distraction.

  • Jon

    The Republicans must Stay On Message about the economy and Obama’s failure to deliver what he promised on the economy.

    Plus 1 for Pr. Brown @2. Rising prices for food and also FUEL and other basic necessities coupled with bleak economic outlook are what will “bring it home” to independent voters.

    Everything else, the “WoW” (war on women) blah, blah…is a distraction.

  • Dr. Luther in the 21st Century

    I think it is too early to tell how anything is going to fall out come election time.

    Who ever can better sell, “let’s all be nice and work together” is going to win.

  • Dr. Luther in the 21st Century

    I think it is too early to tell how anything is going to fall out come election time.

    Who ever can better sell, “let’s all be nice and work together” is going to win.

  • DonS

    Dr. Veith, your pessimism is legendary.

    What is Obama’s campaign about? What’s he have to run on? **crickets chirping***. Yep. Nothing. He’s been running on Romney’s taxes for months, and now the Akin ads are starting to come out. He will not win reelection running a negative campaign. No president ever has.

    Obama is toast, and he knows it.

  • DonS

    Dr. Veith, your pessimism is legendary.

    What is Obama’s campaign about? What’s he have to run on? **crickets chirping***. Yep. Nothing. He’s been running on Romney’s taxes for months, and now the Akin ads are starting to come out. He will not win reelection running a negative campaign. No president ever has.

    Obama is toast, and he knows it.

  • Helen K

    @1 J. Dean “like”….

  • Helen K

    @1 J. Dean “like”….

  • http://www.toddstadler.com tODD

    Color me unimpressed. Not because I disagree with the prediction — I actually think a Romney win would be more interesting (I’m too cynical to say “better”) at this point. But because this is pretty lazy work, masquerading as prophecy.

    Veith said:

    The mathematical model that has predicted the last eight presidential elections…

    But that’s not what the article says. The article would have predicted the last eight elections, in theory, had it been in existence back then. It wasn’t. The model has predicted exactly zero elections.

    This is called fitting your curve to the data. It’s trivial to do. And it’s utterly unproven.

    I mean, if you wanted to, you could fit a curve for any given time span that mapped to the Dow Jones average with whatever level of precision you wanted — provided that you spent enough time looking at potential inputs. Does that mean you’ve found the secret to future performance? No. It just means that you’ve perfected the art of predicting the past. Which, again, is really easy.

    Of course, in an election like this, you’ve got a 50/50 chance, which are extremely good odds for prediction-making. But let’s not pretend this model is in any way tested.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com tODD

    Color me unimpressed. Not because I disagree with the prediction — I actually think a Romney win would be more interesting (I’m too cynical to say “better”) at this point. But because this is pretty lazy work, masquerading as prophecy.

    Veith said:

    The mathematical model that has predicted the last eight presidential elections…

    But that’s not what the article says. The article would have predicted the last eight elections, in theory, had it been in existence back then. It wasn’t. The model has predicted exactly zero elections.

    This is called fitting your curve to the data. It’s trivial to do. And it’s utterly unproven.

    I mean, if you wanted to, you could fit a curve for any given time span that mapped to the Dow Jones average with whatever level of precision you wanted — provided that you spent enough time looking at potential inputs. Does that mean you’ve found the secret to future performance? No. It just means that you’ve perfected the art of predicting the past. Which, again, is really easy.

    Of course, in an election like this, you’ve got a 50/50 chance, which are extremely good odds for prediction-making. But let’s not pretend this model is in any way tested.


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