CONTACT: MARY GERAGHTY
100 Old Public Library
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 384-0011; fax (319) 384-0024
Release: May 9, 2000
UI political scientist says Democrats will win White House in 'near landslide'
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Contrary to nearly every current political opinion poll,
University of Iowa Political Science Professor Michael Lewis-Beck says Al
Gore, the presumptive Democratic presidential candidate, will win the November
election with 56.2 percent of the popular vote. "It's not even going
to be close," he said.
Lewis-Beck's election 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.
"The public on balance thinks the Democrats will give them a better
future," he said. "We would have to see huge shifts in the economy
and in the popularity of the president for the forecast to be affected."
To change the forecast outcome, President Clinton's popularity rating, which
currently hovers around 60 percent, 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, making
him confident enough to release his forecast two months earlier than usual.
Lewis-Beck's forecast is different from political opinion polling in that
it is finalized months in advance of 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 less scientific, yet historically accurate model supports the prediction
of a Democratic win, Lewis-Beck said, making him even more confident that
he is right and the polls are wrong. In every post-World War II presidential
election, the incumbent's party has won if the unemployment rate is lower
in June than it is in January of the election year. That is almost certain
to be the case this year, with unemployment at its lowest levels ever and
still falling, he said.
Lewis-Beck is available to speak with reporters about his forecast. To arrange
an interview contact Mary Geraghty, University News Services, at (319) 384-0011