Trump Gets Great News From Three Different Election Predictors

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by Sheri Urban

According to Steven Rattner, former counselor to the Treasury secretary for the Obama Administration, President Trump’s chances of re-election based on three different models is very strong.

Rattner’s article which was published in the New York Times, gathers three different models that summarize President Trump’s performance and how it would translate to the 2020 election.

The first and best model that was cited was from Ray Fair who is a professor at Yale.

Check out what Rattner had to say:

[Fair] found that the growth rates of gross domestic product and inflation have been the two most important economic predictors — but he also found that incumbency was also an important determinant of presidential election outcomes.

How well has Professor Fair’s model worked?

In short, while not perfect, the Fair model has done remarkably well. In 2008, it predicted that Barack Obama would receive 53.1 percent of the popular vote; his share actually totaled 53.7 percent. In 2012, when Mr. Obama was running for re-election, its final estimate was a vote share of 51.8 percent, just two-tenths of one percent less than what the incumbent president received. (For Mr. Obama in 2012, the power of incumbency helped offset a still-recovering economy.)

Rattner goes on to talk about the results of the 2016 election:

When the 2016 election rolled round, a surprising result emerged. According to the model, Donald Trump should have received 54.1 percent of the vote; in actuality he received 48.8 percent. I’m quite confident that the gap was a function of the generally unfavorable rankings on Mr. Trump’s personal qualities. In other words, a more “normal” Republican would likely have won the popular vote by a substantial margin (instead of losing it by three million votes).

A good part of Mr. Trump’s edge in 2016 was the incumbency factor — after eight years of a Democratic president, voters would ordinarily have wanted a Republican. (Since 1952, only one man has become president following eight years of a president of the same party.) In 2020, incumbency will be a tailwind for Mr. Trump as the vast majority of presidents are chosen for a second term.


In its present state, the economy will also be helpful to the president. All told, Mr. Trump’s vote share would ordinarily be as high as 56.1 percent. But that’s before factoring in his personality. As recent polls show, if the election were today, he would lose to most of the Democratic hopefuls by a substantial margin; in the case of Joe Biden, by nearly eight percentage points.

Rattner goes on to discuss how polls and models can be different. For example, many of the polls say that Biden will be elected in 2020 however almost all of the models say that Trump will be re-elected. Rattner makes it clear that the models are the more accurate of the two.

Rattner also talks about the chief economist at Moody’s Analytics Mark Zandi and Donald Luskin of Trend Macrolytics:

It’s worth noting that the Fair model is hardly alone in its forecast. Mark Zandi, the chief economist at Moody’s Analytics, has looked at 12 models, and Mr. Trump wins in all of them. Donald Luskin of Trend Macrolytics has reached the same conclusion in his examination of the Electoral College.

So the question for 2020 may well be whether Mr. Trump can overcome the majority of voters’ poor perception of him and use a good economy and incumbency to win re-election.

What are your thoughts? Let us know in the comments below!


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