Campaigns and elections

Looking Ahead to November

John Sides Feb 5 '08

With the parties’ nominees still in some flux late on Super-Duper Tuesday, let’s jump the gun and look forward to November. Which party will win? Forecasting models rely primarily on economic indicators to predict outcomes. Lane Kenworthy has done some back-of-the-envelope math using Douglas Hibbs’ “bread and peace” model. The results may surprise you.

breadandpeace-figure2-test9.png

As of the end of 2007, the real per capita income growth rate is 1.7%. If that continues, Kenworthy calculates, the Republican candidate will win by a nose — the point labeled 2008a on the graph above. That goes against the grain of much conventional wisdom, and some other forecasts, such as Ray Fair’s. However, if you factor in war deaths or a slower rate of economic growth, the Democrats win (the points 2008b and 2008c, respectively).

More details — including a discussion of whether real per capita income is the ideal measure — is here, on Lane’s very interesting blog, which focuses on economics, poverty, and politics.