Amidst all the fuss about President Obama's sagging poll numbers, the
struggling U.S. economy, and "who's up and who's down" in the Republican
presidential primary contest, American University Professor Allan Lichtman
has issued his "sure fire" prediction for the outcome of the November, 2012
Lichtman is no crystal ball gazer. His predictions are
based on a formula he developed in 1981 in collaboration with a Russian
geophysicist, who had previously specialized in creating models used to
forecast earthquakes. Their approach was based on a thorough analysis of the
forces at work in shaping the political landscape in every U.S. presidential
elections from 1860 to 1980. From this examination they developed their
predictive model. And since then, Lichtman has used it to correctly forecast
the outcome of every election from 1984 through 2008.
looking at polling numbers which show a snapshot of public opinion at a
point in time, Lichtman analyzes macro trends in the economy and the
society, viewing them as if they were tectonic plates whose shifting below
the surface have the ability to create rumblings that can alter the
political landscape. He identified 13 such indicators and calls them the “13
Keys to the Presidency.”
According to Lichtman, if the incumbent
party (that is, the political party that is currently in the White House)
can claim eight of the "13 Keys", then they can be assured of victory in the
next election. If, on the other hand, they hold seven or less, they are
headed for defeat.
The "13 Keys" (with some explanatory notes) are:
1. Incumbent-party mandate: in the last congressional election, the
incumbent party increased its seats in the U.S. House of Representatives.
2. Nomination-contest: there is no serious contest for the
incumbent-party nomination (as Carter faced from Senator Edward Kennedy in
3. Incumbency: the incumbent-party candidate is the sitting
4. Third party: there is no significant third-party
challenge (which can be seen to garner at least 5% of the vote—as was the
case in 1992 when Ross Perot won 19%, helping Clinton defeat Bush).
5. Short-term economy: the economy is not currently in a recession.
6. Long-term economy: real annual per-capita economic growth is equal to or
greater than it was during the past two terms.
7. Policy change: the
incumbent administration effects major changes in national policy.
Social unrest: there is no sustained social unrest (of the magnitude of the
civil rights and anti-Viet Nam movements).
9. Scandal: the incumbent
administration is untainted by a major scandal (like "Watergate" or the
10. Foreign or military failure: the incumbent
administration suffers no major failure in foreign or military affairs (like
Viet Nam or the Iran hostage crisis in 1980).
11. Foreign or military
success: the incumbent administration achieves a major success in foreign or
military affairs (such as winning World War II).
charisma: the incumbent-party candidate is charismatic or a national hero
(much like Eisenhower in 1952 or Obama in 2008).
charisma: the challenging-party candidate is not charismatic or a national
hero (as Reagan was in 1980).
At the end of December, 2011, I hosted Lichtman on my TV show,
"Viewpoint", where he issued his "one year before the election" prediction.
According to Lichtman, the only three "Keys" which President Obama has
definitely lost, to date, are #1, #6 and #12. Democrats clearly suffered
significant losses in the 2010 mid-term elections (Key #1); the economy will
not recover sufficiently to mark an increase in per capita income (Key #6);
and while Obama was a charismatic figure in 2008, his aura has diminished
and will not be a major factor in his favor in 2012 (Key #12). That makes
three "Keys" gone. In addition, there are a few that are questionable,
namely: Key #10 and Key #11—since it is not clear that killing bin Laden or
the withdrawal from Iraq will be seen as "victories,” or, conversely, that
instability in Iraq and Afghanistan or a dreaded future terrorist attack
will constitute a "foreign policy failure.”
Nevertheless, this still
leaves a maximum of ten "Keys" and a minimum of eight "Keys" in the
President's favor, enough for Lichtman, who has never been wrong, to
confidently predict Obama's reelection in November.
(To watch the
segment of "Viewpoint" and hear Lichtman's full analysis
Viewpoint with James Zogby: John Zogby, Allan Lichtman, Fuad
Wednesday December 21, 2011
John Zogby, Founder of the polling firm Zogby International discusses the
latest developments in the Republican presidential race and the latest
polling figures associated with the contest.
Allan Lichtman, political historian, presidential
scholar and author of the book The Keys to the
White House: A Surefire Guide to Predicting the next President
discusses the presidential election and predicts who will be the next
president of the United States.
Fuad Hussein, Chief of Staff to President of the
Kurdistan region Massoud Barzani, discusses the situation in Iraq in
light of the official end of the war and the withdrawal of U.S. troops
from the country.
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