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The Science of Predicting an Election

Is there a methodology that can predict the results of an election? American University Professor Allan Lichtman claims there is. Since 1984, Lichtman has correctly predicted every U.S. presidential election, dating back to Ronald Reagan. To find out how he has done this, I took a look at New York Times Opinion Magazine’s interview with Lichtman.

Lichtman explained that he bases his predictions off of “13 key factors:” the party mandate, contest, incumbency, third party, short-term economy, long-term economy, policy change, social unrest, scandal, foreign/military failure, foreign/military success, incumbent charisma, and challenger charisma. To determine the next president of the United States, Lichtman explained that he decides whether or not the factors are true: if 5 or less factors are not true, the president would remain in office, and if six or more of the factors are false, then the opponent would win the election. (for more information on each of the 13 key factors, visit

So who does Lichtman think will win the election? He believes it will be close, but ultimately, he says Joe Biden will beat Donald Trump. If he is correct again, not only would there be massive policy changes, but we would likely have our first African American and woman vice president in United States History (based off of multiple news sources that speculate Biden will pick a woman of color for his Vice President nomination).

Who do you think will win the presidential election, and do you believe that Lichtman’s methodology is effective? Let me know in the comments below.


USA Today and New York Times


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