CONTACT: MARY GERAGHTY
100 Old Public Library
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 384-0011; fax (319) 384-0024
Release: Aug. 30, 2000
UI professor issues final election forecast, says there's no doubt Gore
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- A strong economy and a popular president will propel
Al Gore into the White House in November, says University of Iowa Political
Science Professor Michael Lewis-Beck. Using an election forecasting model
with a track record for accuracy, Lewis-Beck--in his final forecast before
the election--says the Democratic candidate will win 55.4 percent of the two-party
Lewis-Beck's election 2000 forecast is based on the same political economic
model he used in 1996, when he correctly forecast the exact percentage of
the vote President Clinton would win. The model combines economic conditions,
the popularity of the current president, and a public opinion index of which
party will bring about greater peace and prosperity in the future.
Lewis-Beck and Charles Tien, a former UI graduate student who collaborates
with him on election forecasting, have launched a Web site detailing the election
2000 forecast. The site, http://urban.hunter.cuny.edu/~ctien/, explains the
mathematics behind the forecast and provides links to the external economic
and polling sources Lewis-Beck and Tien rely on. Tien is an assistant professor
of political science at Hunter College in New York.
Lewis-Beck's current forecast updates the forecast he released in May, before
the final figures he uses to make his prediction were available. Using the
updated figures changed his earlier prediction by less than a percentage point.
"This is substantively the same forecast -- that is, it still shows
a big win for Gore," Lewis-Beck said. "The public on balance thinks
the Democrats will give them a better future. We would have to see huge shifts
in the economy and in the popularity of the president for the forecast to
To change the forecast outcome, President Clinton's popularity rating would
have to drop by at least 20 percentage-points, and the economy would have
to come to a screeching halt, Lewis-Beck said. There is no indication that
either will happen before November.
Lewis-Beck's forecast is different from political opinion polling in that
it is finalized months before the election. Also, it stands apart from other
forecasts because it is the only one that takes into account the "peace
and prosperity" outlook, he said.
"The model gets very close to the actual results. In 1996, it was dead
right," he said. This year's model has a margin of error of +/- 1.5 percent.
A panel of nine election forecasters from around the country will present
their final forecasts Thursday, Aug. 31, at the American Political Science
Association Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C. Lewis-Beck is unable to attend
the meeting, but Tien will present their forecast.
To arrange an interview with Lewis-Beck, contact Mary Geraghty, University
News Services, at (319) 384-0011 or firstname.lastname@example.org.