History is on President Obama’s side as the 2012 elections approach.
And by "history" we mean Allan Lichtman, an American University professor who has gone 7-for-7 at predicting presidential elections since he developed his candidate-picking system roughly two decades ago.
Lichtman says that based on the 13 criteria he has used to correctly forecast every presidential election since Ronald Reagan’s re-election victory in 1984, Team Obama can rest easy. "Even if I am being conservative, I don’t see how Obama can lose," Lichtman told US News.
The college professor developed his system back in 1981 and published the rather basic formula in his book, The Keys to the White House. Basically, the "keys" test the recent performance of the party that is currently in the White House; according to US News, if six or more of them go against the party in power, then the opposing party can start picking out the bands they want at the inaugural ball.
"The keys have figured into popular politics a bit," Lichtman says. "They’ve never missed. They’ve been right seven elections in a row. A number that goes way beyond statistical significance in a record no other system even comes close to."
Here’s a brief rundown of how Lichtman scores Obama on the 13 criteria:
1) Incumbent party picks up seats in preceding mid-term. Point Republicans.
2) There is no serious challenger for the incumbent party nomination. Point Obama.
3) The incumbent party candidate is the sitting president. Point Obama.
4) There is no significant third party challenger. Point Obama.
5) The economy is not in a recession during the election campaign. Push (Lichtman declares this one “undecided.”)
6) Real per capita economic growth during the past term is at least equal to mean growth during the previous two terms. Point Republicans.
7) The incumbent administration pushes through major national policy changes. Point Obama.
8) There is no sustained social unrest during the previous term. Point Obama.
9) The incumbent administration has no major scandals. Point Obama.
10) The incumbent administration suffers no major foreign/military affairs failure. Point Obama.
11) The incumbent administration achieves a major success in foreign/military affairs. Point Obama.
12) The incumbent party candidate is charismatic. Point Republicans.
13) The challenging party candidate is not charismatic or a national hero. Point Obama.
Final score (again, we stress, on Lichtman’s scorecard): 9-3-1, Obama wins. US News has more on Lichtman's decision-making process here.