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August 08, 2011


Hold Your Predictions

Thomas Holbrook says it's way too early to predict President Obama's re-election chances based on current data.

When looking at the unemployment rate in the year before a presidential election he finds "there is hardly any relationship (r-squared=.07), and slight pattern that does exist is nonsensical, indicating that Obama's best strategy would be to increase unemployment as much as possible."

Similarly, while presidential approval in the year before the election "is a better predictor of election outcomes than the unemployment rate is, I wouldn't bet the farm on any such predictions.  Here we at least have a relationship that makes sense: presidents with high approval numbers in the summer of the year before the election generally do better (or their party does better) than than those with relative low levels of approval.  Having said that, the relationship is not very strong (r-squared=.20), and there are certainly a number of exceptions to the general pattern."












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