Is It Going to be Obama or Romney in November? We Don't Know Yet, But We Have the Key Number... And That Number Is 8.1%.
Two and a half months ago, we discovered what we felt was the most compelling data to determine whether a candidate is going to win or not. While everyone was getting airtime for pulling GDP, Approval Polls and Gas Prices, we actually found a stat that was much more solid of a predictor. The unemployment rate. But, not just the overall employment rate, but the CHANGE in that rate in the six months preceeding the Election.
We pushed the information all over the place - and it kind of fell on deaf ears. Maybe if we were a Poli Sci professor or a noted economist, we'd get more props for finding an indicator that flat-out kicks the shit of any other's when you simply look at the data empirically.. The only response we got was from Tim Farley of POTUS, who called the post 'interesting' - which is usually codepseak for 'whatever'. Of course, it was a little early, because in February, we didn't have that number to measure. Now we do... It's 8.1%.
If you want to check out our original post, click on here... But, if you'd rather have us just explain it to you again, we'll oblige.. While the overall unemployment rate was a decent indicator, it wasn't perfect. The ruling party was 7-3 overall for any unemployment rate under 6%, and 1-3 if it was over 6%. Good, but far from rock solid data. Nope, the telling data is the net change in the unemployment rate from April to October. Here are the numbers for all the elections since 1948:
Year Unempl. Rate Change Win/Loss
1948 3.7% -.2 win
1952 3.0 +.1 loss
1956 3.9 -.1 win
1960 6.1 +.9 loss
1964 5.1 -.2 win
1968 3.4 -.1 loss
1972 5.6 -.1 win
1976 7.7 no change loss
1980 7.5 +.6 loss
1984 7.4 -.3 win
1988 5.3 -.1 win
1992 7.4 no change loss
1996 5.2 -.4 win
2000 3.9 +.1 loss
2004 5.5 -.1 win
2008 6.5 +1.5 loss
The data doesn't lie, and it this case, it's virtually perfect. If the unemployment rate drops at all, the party holding the White House went 8-1, with the only exception being 1968, when LBJ dropped out, Bobby Kennedy was assassinated and the Democrats went with their third string choice. On the other end, if the unemployment rate rose or even didn't change, the party holding the White House went 0-7.. If anyone can pull up a better indicator than 15 of 16, with an obvious asterisk on the one exception, we haven't seen it. We cast the gauntlet down for all other 'experts' to beat us... Good Luck, Suckas!!!
Now, the obvious question is what do we think will happen? We're not sure... There are lots of things that affect unemployment - new hiring, people re-entering the job market, all the upcoming tax changes and ObamaCare. Looking into the crystal ball, 8.1% is as easy a starting point as any President has had to deal with. However, the economy is clearly starting to sputter.... Only 115,000 jobs were created - over 25% less than the Dept of Labor has estimated, which is a BAD, BAD sign. No change to a slight increase is possible, and if that's the case, Game Over...
It'll be interesting over the next few months, and our prediction will become more solid as Election day gets closer. It's simple - if voters think the country is going in the right direction economically over the long term, they will stay put with Obama. If the Hope reveals no Change, then Mitt Romney takes hold of the White House... Just remember it - 8.1%, 8.1%, 8.1%....