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Trump's Victory Predicted by Two Forecasting Models

Image: Trump's Victory Predicted by Two Forecasting Models

President-elect Donald Trump addresses an audience at Crown Coliseum on December 6, 2016, in Fayetteville, North Carolina. (Sara D. Davis/Getty Images)

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Wednesday, 07 Dec 2016 01:42 PM Current | Bio | Archive

Time magazine was so surprised at the election results it just announced Donald Trump will be their man of the year. But the basics of that contest were pretty simple if one considered the political-science basics.

Yale University’s Ray Fair has a simple model based exclusively on economic data that has worked well for years to measure the per capita growth rate of gross domestic product in the three quarters before an election, inflation over an entire presidential term, and the number of quarters during the term that the growth rate per capita exceeds 3.2 percent.

A second model by Emory University’s Alan Abranowitz uses the incumbent president's job-approval poll rating by the end of June of the election year, the economy's growth rate during the first half of that year — especially during the second quarter — and how long the incumbent party has occupied the White House.

Both measures predicted a Republican presidential victory six months or more before the election.

An even simpler test that has worked as well for the author asks merely one poll question (forget polls beyond these): whether the country is going in the right direction or is on the wrong track. Polls had shown for months that two-thirds of likely voters said the country was going in the wrong direction. The Republican nominee was a shoo-in.

While the exit polls are suspect since they could not predict the winner even after people voted, they do show the normal patterns: Democrats voted for Hillary Clinton, Republicans for Trump, and Independents were split. Pro-government liberals, progressives, minorities, urban residents, the unmarried, the non-religious, and the young voted Clinton, while smaller government conservatives, social traditionalists, whites, married, religious, and elderly voted Trump, pretty much at long-term levels. Trump won 82 percent of the plurality opposed to Obamacare and 56 percent of those demanding new Supreme Court judges.

So why was everyone so surprised? The short answer is they listen to the media experts and pollsters, both safely isolated in their New York-Washington-Hollywood bubbles.

Contrary to media hype, white voters went pretty much the same for Trump as they did for Mitt Romney, perhaps one percent higher but with a lower white turnout percentage than in the preceding presidential election. Black turnout was down too but only by 1.8 million voters for Mrs. Clinton compared to Barack Obama. She lost 2.6 million votes from Catholics compared to 2012, and had 4.5 million fewer votes from those earning less than $30,000 in annual income.

Trump won the election in rural areas, winning in the eighty percent range in many Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Iowa counties and 61 percent overall — predominantly whites. A Washington Post-ABC News poll showed 46 percent of working class non-whites saying that they were better off than previous generations compared to only 30 percent among working class whites, which Trump exploited with his campaign against political correctness. This may have even helped him win one-third of Hispanics, Asians, and other non-African-American minority voters, bettering Romney among them.

The deep currents running through the election were interestingly enough best explained by a Muslim-background Indian American. Columnist Fareed Zakaria noted that over the last few decades the U.S. has transformed into a “highly-efficient meritocracy” based in cities “where people from all economic walks of life can move up the ladder of achievement and income” rather than one based on class or bloodlines. Such a merit based system is superior but the disadvantage is that those with lower skill sets will not be able to compete as well.

The “great sin” of the left meritocracy is elitism, he concluded, and the other is racism. Elite advantages seem justified to them by their own merits. These elites congregate in cities and know little of the lives of the white rural poor whose lack of success can be blamed on their own faults, refusing to learn and having poor work habits. Minorities are closer at hand and can arouse sympathy especially if their plight can be blamed on rightist racism. The right elite are isolated from the rural white poor too but at least they “demonstrate respect by identifying with them culturally, religiously, and emotionally.” GOP social issues connect with poorer whites, creating an opening that Trump drove home with his campaign against the establishment.

If Republicans can hold the support of conservatives, rural whites, the one-third of non-African American minorities and the few more blacks won in this election, it would be a cultural realignment of the first order. This would be difficult since in the case of rural whites it is based upon a real skill gap without obvious solutions.

The good news is that the election reached a rational solution perfectly predictable beforehand. Voters were dissatisfied with how things were going in the U.S. and they voted to change them.

Donald Devine is senior scholar at the Fund for American Studies, the author of "America’s Way Back: Reclaiming Freedom, Tradition and Constitution," and was Ronald Reagan’s director of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management during his first term. For more of his reports, Go Here Now.

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DonaldDevine
Time magazine was so surprised at the election results it just announced Donald Trump will be their man of the year. But the basics of that contest were pretty simple if one considered the political-science basics.
president elect trump, prediction, change election
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2016-42-07
Wednesday, 07 Dec 2016 01:42 PM
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