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Saturday, September 03, 2011


Bill Fleming

Yeah, yeah, yeah. It's frustrating alright. I've been looking for a way to bring this up and discuss it with some GOP types, and this looks like as good a place as any.

What do you think of this approach to predicting who will win the presidency in any given presidential election year, KB, et al?



If six or more of these statements are false, the incumbent party loses:

The 13 Keys to the Presidency

1. After the midterm election, the incumbent party holds more seats in the U.S. House of Representatives than it did after the preceding midterm election. (FALSE)

2. The incumbent-party nominee gets at least two-thirds of the vote on the first ballot at the nominating convention. (TRUE)

3. The incumbent-party candidate is the sitting president. (TRUE)

4. There is no third-party or independent candidacy that wins at least five percent of the vote. (TRUE)

5. The economy is not in recession during the campaign. (Probably TRUE)

6. Real (constant-dollar) per capita economic growth during the term equals or exceeds mean growth for the preceding two terms. (FALSE)

7. The administration achieves a major policy change during the term, on the order of the New Deal or the first-term Reagan “revolution.” (TRUE)

8. There has been no major social unrest during the term, sufficient to cause deep concerns about the unraveling of society. (TRUE)

9. There is no broad recognition of a scandal that directly touches the president. (TRUE)

10. There has been no military or foreign policy failure during the term, substantial enough that it appears to undermine America’s national interests significantly or threaten its standing in the world. (UNCERTAIN)

11. There has been a military or foreign policy success during the term substantial enough to advance America’s national interests or improve its standing in the world. (FALSE)

12. The incumbent-party candidate is charismatic or is a national hero. (FALSE)

13. The challenger is not charismatic and is not a national hero. (TRUE)

Ken Blanchard

I think, Bill, that most magic formulas run out of magic sooner or later. Baseball fans do this all the time. They try to find some set of circumstances that was true for every team that ever won the world series. Then they confidently predict next year's winner. You can never find them come October.

Nobody has had to run for reelection with an economic record as as dreadful as Obama's. No growth, no jobs, no money, no plan, nobama. That might be as reliable a formula as the one above.

Donald Pay

Obama has three problems: (1) his policies are Republican or corporate elitist, but the Republicans can out-Republican and out corporate elite him, (2) his base (Democratic and non-elitist) can't stand his Republican corporate elitist policies, and is increasingly not enthusiastic about him and (3) the independents think he's a weak leader because he caves to the Republicans all the time, so why not have a Republican.

Whoever wins the Presidency in 2012 is going to have to have zero success in passing any program. You think Democrats are going to let a President Perry, Bachmann or Romney get anything done after what the Republicans did the last three years? HELL, NO! as Boehner would say. It's going to be total gridlock in Congress

Now think about who has been able to deal with gridlock without resorting to fascist or extremist tactics. That's right, Obama. Perry and Bachmann clearly do not have the ability to deal with gridlock. Perry's extremist talk is much more than talk. He'd put opponents in jail and run roughshod over democracy. You might make the case that Romney might be able to bridge some gaps and get a few things done.



I read the article in US News and World Report and found it questionable.

First off, I think Allan Lichtman's formula is extremely subjective, as #7 appears to indicate that "a major national policy change" is a plus, and credits Obama for health care and the stimilus. So, he says two unpopular changes somehow qualify as a plus factor? #9 Scandal: The incumbent administration is untainted by major scandal. “This administration has been squeaky clean. There’s nothing on scandal,” says Lichtman - Has he not heard of "Fast and Furious" or the half billion dollar Solyndra bankruptcy?

No social unrest (Wisconsin, flash mobs)? Economy NOT in a recession (will it FEEL like a recession)? No foreign policy failure (don't count on that)? GOP candidate will be not be "charismatic" (as compared to Obama's plummeting popularity)? There are a lot of assumptions made in applying this "formula".

By MY interpretation of the formula, Obama has "keys" 2,3 & 4 (all favoring incumbency) and the rest are, at best, debatable or unknown at this time.


It's quite possible there will be no gridlock in the next Congress as it's quite possible that Obama's "accomplishments" in his first term and his performance during the 2012 campaign will prove enough of an anchor to sink Democrat control of the Senate and provide the GOP with the trifecta of White House and strong majorities in both the House and Senate.

Bill Fleming

William, you could be right of course, but I'm not seeing it in the polls. Time will twll.





See also, http://www.realclearpolitics.com/epolls/latest_polls/

The direction of the polls is not in the Presidents favor.

Bill Fleming

I know, William. But like Sarah Pain said, this time of year, polls are for strippers and cross country skiers. (Her best line since describing herself as a pit bull in lipstick.)


It will largely come down to the economy and I think it's far too late for any significant growth before the 2012 elections. To quote, Victor Davis Hanson, "In the last 30 months, the Obama administration has created a psychological landscape that finally just seemed, whether fairly or not, too hostile to most employers to risk new hiring and buying. Each act, in and of itself, was irrelevant. Together they are proving catastrophic and doing the near impossible of turning a brief recovery into another recession."

Bill Fleming

It will come down to the economy AND whether or not voters think the GOP can do a better job of fixing it than the Obama administration can. So far, the answer to that question is still a bog question mark. There is ZERO evidence that the Repubs have any answers either.



I'm not quite sure that's correct, it's beginning to seem that many folks (not just those on the right) are beginning to suffer from "Obama fatigue" and are just downright tired of the same cliches, the perceived weakness and indecisiveness, and in general the apparent tone-deafness and lack of competence of his administration. While the frustrations of the left differ, in some ways, from the frustrations of the right, "Polls show that most Americans still like and trust the president; but they may no longer have faith that he’s a smarty-pants who can fix the economy... Maybe Obama was not even the person he was waiting for."

Ken Blanchard

Good thread. I hereby double everyone's pay. Nate Silver at FiveThirtyEight does a pretty thorough job of dismantling Allan J. Lichtman's "keys" to incumbent reelection. See: http://fivethirtyeight.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/08/31/despite-keys-obama-is-no-lock/. William covers some of the same ground well.

Donald may be right about gridlock under an R Pres, though that depends on the Congressional elections. As for independents, there is no evidence that they deserted the President because he caved to Republicans. Independents deserted Democrats in scores over the last two years.

Contrary to what BF says, the Republicans do not have to present "answers". They have to make themselves look like a sane alternative. Changing horses at this point is exactly what you would expect the voters to do, as long as the other horse is a horse.

Bill Fleming

Good clarification, KB. I can live with that. Sadly for the GOP, the sanest candidates in the primary thus far also have the very lowest poll numbers. But of course, it's still early.

Erektiohäiriön Hoito

All i have to say that all these Obama issues are very interesting although I'm following them here from Finland..

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