Pethokoukis, Politics and Public Opinion

Actually, it was the economy that got Obama reelected

Image Credit: National Review

Image Credit: National Review

Yes, the recovery has been horrible. But it seems that the U.S. economy was just good enough to get President Obama a second term. As AEI’s Kevin Hassett notes over at National Review:

Models that predict elections using only economic variables have an almost perfect track record. When the economy is improving, incumbents tend to win. When it is worsening, they tend to lose. …

As weak as the recovery has been, the econometrics suggested that it was strong enough to reelect an incumbent. The most sophisticated extension of Fair’s model has been tracked for almost a decade by Moody’s Analytics. The Moody’s model uses state-level economic data to predict the outcome of the presidential election in each state, and then aggregates the information to make a prediction for the Electoral College. In February, Moody’s published the nearby electoral map. Comparing its analysis with the actual outcome, one sees that the model called every state correctly except Florida.

Hassett mentions the forecasting model of Yale University’s Ray Fair. Fair’s model actually predicted Romney would take 51% of the two-party vote versus Obama’s 49% — though he added this “too-close-to-call”caveat:

The standard error of the vote-share equation is at least 2.5 percentage points (see the November 2010 update above), and so 50.0 percent is well within a one standard deviation error band centered at 49.0. The present results thus have a very limited amount to say about the likely winner of the presidential election. This is especially true in the current election because it could be that Obama loses the popular vote but wins in the electoral college.

Two data points in favor of Obama: GDP growth was 2.7% in the third quarter, the third-best read since the recovery officially began in the summer of 2009. Also, payroll growth upshifted to 173,000 in the July through October period.

4 thoughts on “Actually, it was the economy that got Obama reelected

  1. Well, no. The bipolar Republican party got Obama reelected. If Romney could have ran on his moderate record — and appeared genuine — he would have won handily. As it was, no one knew who he was: the born-again crazy of the primary season, or the etch-a-sketch moderate who felt our pain. As long as the Republican candidate has to pander to the religious and anti-govt wingnuts to win the nomination, it’s going to take a very bad economy to win a national election.

    Roger Ailes obviously knows when to send the crazy aunt to the basement:

  2. The welfare state bought the election. Democrats are running against “the rich” which is actually our economic system – those who succeed and provide all the private sector jobs. We are now a European style welfare state, and have run out of other peoples’ money. We are headed for an inflationary depression.

  3. This, no doubt, remedies the twenty odd pieces you published with such glee before the election pointing out all the evidence that the economy would doom Mr. Obama.

    You’re a real piece of work, pal.

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