This Statistical Model Says One Candidate Winning Is A Virtual Certainty

There is one statistical model that has predicted the winner of every Presidential election since 1996.

And this year it says there is a virtual certainty one candidate will win the election.

But it isn’t who everyone thinks.

Helmut Norpoth, a professor at Stony Brook University who earned his Ph.D. at the University of Michigan, developed the Primary Model in 1996.

The model is based on primary election results, which party runs the White House, if a party is coming off a two-term Presidency and how the incumbent performed in their re-election.

Currently, his model predicts Donald Trump has an 87% chance of defeating Hillary Clinton in the election.

The Primary Model projects Trump would win a 52% vote share in a two-way race.

Writing in The Hill, Norpoth explains his forecast:

“In 2016, Hillary Clinton was such a candidate with her support from African-Americans.  So to assess primary performance in 2016, I also included the second primary, the one in South Carolina, where African-Americans make up a large portion of the Democratic electorate.

 

For the record, Clinton lost in New Hampshire and then won in South Carolina. On the Republican side, Donald Trump won both.

 

According to the standard metric of the model, which calculates primary performance of a candidate as a percentage of votes cast for the top two finishers in a primary, Trump wound up with a higher average based on the returns from New Hampshire and South Carolina than did Clinton. Trump’s superior primary performance bodes well for a victory over Clinton in November.

 

In addition to primaries, the swing of the electoral pendulum generates predictive power. Even a casual observer of presidential elections may have noticed a distinct pattern: the party in the White House wins re-election after one term almost all the time, but much more rarely after two terms. In fact, during the last 65 years, the party in power has managed to win three terms in a row only once: in 1988.

 

Over the long haul since 1828, according to my statistical estimates, the White House party has averaged 2.6 terms in office. A third term is not out of the question, but not very certain either.

 

It depends on how well the White House party did in winning a second term compared to its winning the first term. Doing better in the re-election makes a third term more likely; doing worse makes change more likely.

 

To return to the 1988 case, Ronald Reagan defeated President Carter in 1980 by about 10 points and then won re-election in 1984 by nearly double that margin. The Reagan revolution was still churning, which was good news for George H.W. Bush, the GOP nominee in 1988.

 

In contrast, Obama won re-election in 2012 with a margin half the size of his win in 2008. The appeal of “Hope and Change” was wearing off. Bad news for Hillary Clinton in 2016.

 

So from the start, Republicans could count on the swing of the electoral pendulum to recapture the White House in 2016. With his superior showing in early primaries Donald Trump markedly raised the chances of victory in November. The prediction formula of my model, based on elections from 1912 to 2012, gives Trump 52.5 percent of the two-party vote, making it all but certain (87 out of 100) that he will be the next President.

 

The forecast, to be sure, is about the popular vote, not the vote in the Electoral College. But with a 5-point popular-vote lead it is virtually impossible to lose out in the electoral tally.”

Many pundits laughed off the Primary Model as it continually predicted Trump would win the election despite his campaign sinking in the polls over the summer months.

But Trump corrected his campaign by bringing in new leadership and focusing his message on Hillary Clinton.

And the campaign dynamics have shifted in his favor.

The polls show a two-point race in both head-to-head and four-way ballot tests.

Swing state polls have also moved in Trump’s favor.

Real Clear Politics finds Trump has taken the lead in Iowa and Florida.

Do you agree with the Primary Model’s forecast that Trump will win the election?

Let us know what you think in the comment section.


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