August 17, 2012

JUST GOING THROUGH THE MOTIONS:

Obama's Re-election Prospects Under 'Bread and Peace' Voting in the 2012 US Presidential Election  (Douglas A Hibbs, 7/27/12, Forthcoming in abridged form in the October 2012 issue of PS: Political Science and Politics)

Calculations in the table 3 show that according to the Bread and Peace model per capita 

real income growth rates must average out at nearly 6 percent after 2012:q2 for Obama to 

have a decent chance of re-election. If the US economy experiences an unanticipated 

reversal of fortune with growth surging to rates not uncommon in the initial robust phase 

of recoveries from deep contractions, Obama could squeak out a win, as implied by the last 

column of table 3. However the pace of recovery from the 2008 Great Recession remains 

sluggish, and the famous 2009 book This Time Is Different: Eight Centuries of Financial Folly 

by Carmen Reinhart and Kenneth Rogoff documents how recoveries from contractions 

originating with the bursting of speculative financial bubbles are not V-shaped as in 

garden-variety recessions, but instead are typically prolonged U-shaped affairs lasting 5 to 

6 years. The univariate statistical properties of postwar per capita real disposable personal 

incomes indicate that the chances of weighted-average growth on the order of 6% over the 

one and one-third quarters remaining until Election Day 2012 are no better than 1/10. 



   The protocol of the PS Election Forecast Symposium obliges me to make a specific 

prediction of the 2012 aggregate voting result. My reading of the tea leaves (statistical 

forecasts of income and output growth from formal econometric models have proven to be 

useless) leads me to posit that quarterly, annualized per capita real income growth rates 

will fall in the interval [1,2%] during the remainder of President Obama's term. That  

supposition, along with my assumption that fatalities in Afghanistan will not escalate 

dramatically, yields a projected Obama two-party vote share centered at 47.5%, as 

indicated by boldface entries in table 3.19 Figure 3, which combines the Bread and Peace 

factors to one dimension, illustrates the same prediction in perspective of actual and fitted 

values of incumbent vote shares at all postwar presidential elections 1952-2008. 



Posted by at August 17, 2012 10:14 AM
  

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