Tuesday, August 3, 2010

13 keys that make Obama's re-election defeat a certainty.

There has been some press recently about Professor Allan Lichtman's assertion based on 13 political keys which Lichtman says has never been wrong, that indicate that President Obama's re-election in 2012 is a certainty.

But while Lichtman's 13 keys may very well be valid, a closer look at Lichtman's analysis of those keys and his answers, actually proves that far from Obama's re-election being a certainty, it is his defeat, based on Lichtman's keys, that is a certainty.

According to Lichtman's formula of 13 keys, 6 or more "FALSE" answers result in the certainty of an incumbent being defeated and 5 or less indicates the certainty of victory. Lichtman says this formula has never been wrong.

Taking that at face value Lichtman comes up with only 5 "FALSE" designations for Obama indicating to him the certainty of an Obama 2012 victory.

But in looking at Lichtman's keys and his answers, there is a very different analysis, one that is far more realistic, that comes up with at least 6 "FALSE" answers for Obama, and the potential for up to 10, which would indicate based on Lichtman's keys, the certainty that Obama would lose a re-election bid.

Lichtman's assigning a "TRUE" or "FALSE" designation to many of the "keys" in many instances relies more on Lichtman's opinion, or even wishful thinking, and not facts. And in some cases his opinions and prognosis are completely wrong.

In looking at the same set of keys I gave Obama 6 certain "FALSE" designations with many of Lichtman's "TRUE" designations clearly pre-mature and likely to be false by the time the 2012 elections arrive. There is a very real possibility of Obama getting up to 10 "FALSE" designations but only 6 is needed to assure defeat.

Here are Lichtman's 13 keys, his designations which he claims indicates the certainty of an Obama victory, and mine, indicating the opposite:

• KEY 1 (Party Mandate): After the midterm elections, the incumbent party holds more seats in the U.S. House of Representatives than it did after the previous midterm elections. Lichtman - (FALSE) - Me ( FALSE) (it will be enough for the Democrats to retain control. They will certainly lose seats)

• KEY 2 (Contest): There is no serious contest for the incumbent-party nomination. Lichtman -(TRUE) -Me ( potentially FALSE. No one can possibly say this is true at this point. It's too soon to tell and cant go into the TRUE category. As Obama's poll numbers continue to sink they re-enforce much discontent within the Democratic party with Obama. It is very possible there could be a credible challenge to Obama in a presidential primary in 2012 if Obama runs again).

• KEY 3 (Incumbency): The incumbent-party candidate is the sitting president. Lichtman (TRUE) Me (TRUE)

KEY 4 (Third party): There is no significant third party or independent campaign. Lichtman (TRUE) Me ( probably FALSE).This is impossible to put into the TRUE category at this point and likely will go into the FALSE category.An article by Reuters dated July 18th talks about the real possibility of Michael Bloomberg running as an independent. He has a 57% approval rating and as a billionaire, like Ross Perot, could easily finance his own campaign and if the economy has not recovered a Bloomberg 3rd party candidacy is more than likely because he could win. A head to head contest in New York between Bloomberg and Obama would easily be won by Bloomberg and no Democratic candidate could win the presidency without New York)

KEY 5 (Short-term economy): The economy is not in recession during the election campaign. Lichtman (TRUE) Me ( Too soon to know and very possibly FALSE). Many economists are concerned about a double dip recession and there is the liklihood that unemployment will stay high. To call this TRUE is radically premature and could easily be false by 2012).

KEY 6 (Long-term economy): Real per-capita economic growth during the term equals or exceeds mean growth during the previous two terms. Lichtman (FALSE) Me (FALSE)

•KEY 7 (Policy change): The incumbent administration effects major changes in national policy. Lichtman (TRUE) Me( FALSE) Almost everyone has criticized the healthcare reform bill as not reform at all. Howard Dean said it wasn't reform but an extension of the old system. People are angry that Obama blew the public option. There is universal criticism of the financial reform bill that it doesn't reform the problems that caused the economic crisis in the first place. The left has criticized Obama on Afghanistan and many feel he is just extending the Bush policies and its going badly and nothing has been done on immigration reform).

KEY 8 (Social unrest): There is no sustained social unrest during the term. Lichtman(TRUE) Me ( Too soon to know. )One might disagree about a lack of social unrest watching the town hall meetings and the crazies on health care. Immigration reform is already causing social unrest on both sides of the issue and if the unemployment picture doesn't change dont be surprised to see the middle class unemployed hitting the streets demonstrating against Obama and high enemployment.)

KEY 9 (Scandal): The administration is untainted by major scandal. Lichtman (TRUE)Me ( TRUE now but too soon to know by 2012)

• KEY 10 (Foreign/military failure): The administration suffers no major failure in foreign or military affairs. Lichtman (TRUE) Me (FALSE) Obama has failed at every foreign policy initiative he has tried from total rejection of his economic policies at the G20 summit,failure on an international climate control treaty, Israeli-Palestinian negotiations at a stand still, no progress on Iran and the war deteriorating in Afghanistan).

• KEY 11 (Foreign/military success): The administration achieves a major success in foreign or military affairs. Lichtman (FALSE) Me (FALSE)

KEY 12 (Incumbent charisma): The incumbent-party candidate is charismatic or a national hero. Lichtman (FALSE) Me (FALSE)

• KEY 13 (Challenger charisma): The challenging-party candidate is not charismatic or a national hero. Lichtman (TRUE) Me (TRUE).

Based on my count, Obama gets only 4 knowable TRUE designations with 6 definite FALSE designations, enough according to Lichtman's keys to guarantee Obama's defeat. But along with the 6 there is a potential, and a likelihood for 4 more likely FALSE designations for a total of 10.( the 4 potentially FALSE are a primary challenge, a third party candidacy, the economy still in recession with high unemployment, and the potential for social unrest either because of the economy, immigration issues or both.

Based on Lichtman's keys which he says has never been wrong and eliminating the keys that are only potentially FALSE, there are 6 definitive FALSE designations which indicates that Obama is certain to lose re-election if he is the candidate, not win.

With Obama's approval ratings plummeting and both Democrats and independents understandably unhappy with Obama's performance to date and no indication it can get any better, it is becoming more likely that someone will challenge Obama in a Democratic primary. And if the challenger is legitimate, he or she may be the Democrats only hope of holding onto the White House.


Sue said...

From your mouth to g-d's ear Marc

bratschewurst said...

You need to read Lichtman more carefully. By his own definitions of what constitutes policy failures and successes, he's right and you're wrong. And, as it's his model, his definitions matter.

Obviously it's too soon to know for sure on a few. The economy not being on an upswing is the real joker; that would (in Lichtman's complete model) doom him for sure, as no incumbent party has ever won re-election when the economy was in recession. But "slow growth" is not recession.

Marc Rubin said...

"You need to read Lichtman more carefully. By his own definitions of what constitutes policy failures and successes, he's right and you're wrong."

I read Lichtman very carefully. The problem is you didnt. Nothing regarding policy failures is in his formula, simply circumstances that he believes based on their being true or false will constitute an incumbent victory or defeat and its his analysis of those circumstances and his giving "true" values when they were clearly either "false" or too soon to tell that makes his conclusions totally wrong.

Its actually you AND Lichtman who are wrong and I am right.

Blue Jean said...

Well, we'll see in November of 2012, won't we?