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Yale Economist: If the Economy Improves, Obama Wins

While many partisans in America vote on firm beliefs, issue, and ideology; elections are often decided by the squishy middle who vote based on perceived results. That is why Yale economist Ray C. Fair is predicting Obama will win re-election in a landslide. Fair’s prediction has nothing to do with Obama’s campaign skills or the relative strength of the 2012 Republican  hopefuls, but relies on his assumption that there will be strong economic growth heading into the election. From Jeff Sommer at the New York Times:

His model forecasts real annualized growth in gross domestic product of 3.69 percent for the first three quarters of 2012. A survey of leading economists by Blue Chip Economic Indicators shows an average forecast of 3.2 percent growth in real G.D.P. in 2012, while the Congressional Budget Office estimates 3.4 percent. Plug either of these estimates into his election algorithm and the result is the same: President Obama wins.

In the quarter that just ended, however, the economy was growing at a rate of just 2 percent. If that sluggish pace continued — or, more ominously, if there were a double-dip recession or a steep plunge in the markets — that forecast would change.

Under those circumstances, regardless of other issues or the identity of President Obama’s opponent, the model shows the president losing.

Given that the economy overwhelmingly ranks as the top issue with most voters, there is little doubt that the level of unemployment in 2012 will have huge political implications for the president and his party.

Probably the best thing President Obama could do politically is focus exclusively on getting the economy working again for regular Americans.

Unfortunately by that same calculation, probably the best political move the Republican Party could make is quietly doing everything in their power to prevent the economy from improving between now and the next presidential election. Now that Republicans have taken control of the House, they have substantial power in Washington.

Perhaps it is not wise to have system designed such that a political party can have a substantial amount of power, yet have it still be in their political interest to use their power to prevent actions that would improve the quality of life of most Americans.

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Yale Economist: If the Economy Improves, Obama Wins

Is there room at the inn, stupid? (photo: Brent)

While many partisans in America vote on firm beliefs, issue, and ideology; elections are often decided by the squishy middle who vote based on perceived results. That is why Yale economist Ray C. Fair is predicting Obama will win re-election in a landslide. Fair’s prediction has nothing to do with Obama’s campaign skills or the relative strength of the 2012 Republican hopefuls, but relies on his assumption that there will be strong economic growth heading into the election. From Jeff Sommer at the New York Times:

His model forecasts real annualized growth in gross domestic product of 3.69 percent for the first three quarters of 2012. A survey of leading economists by Blue Chip Economic Indicators shows an average forecast of 3.2 percent growth in real G.D.P. in 2012, while the Congressional Budget Office estimates 3.4 percent. Plug either of these estimates into his election algorithm and the result is the same: President Obama wins.

In the quarter that just ended, however, the economy was growing at a rate of just 2 percent. If that sluggish pace continued — or, more ominously, if there were a double-dip recession or a steep plunge in the markets — that forecast would change.

Under those circumstances, regardless of other issues or the identity of President Obama’s opponent, the model shows the president losing.

Given that the economy overwhelmingly ranks as the top issue with most voters, there is little doubt that the level of unemployment in 2012 will have huge political implications for the president and his party.

Probably the best thing President Obama could do politically is focus exclusively on getting the economy working again for regular Americans.

Unfortunately by that same calculation, probably the best political move the Republican Party could make is quietly doing everything in their power to prevent the economy from improving between now and the next presidential election. Now that Republicans have taken control of the House, they have substantial power in Washington.

Perhaps it is not wise to have system designed such that a political party can have a substantial amount of power, yet have it still be in their political interest to use their power to prevent actions that would improve the quality of life of most Americans.

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Jon Walker

Jon Walker

Jonathan Walker grew up in New Jersey. He graduated from Wesleyan University in 2006. He is an expert on politics, health care and drug policy. He is also the author of After Legalization and Cobalt Slave, and a Futurist writer at http://pendinghorizon.com

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