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News Presidential Election Rule

  1. Mar 31, 2012 #1
    My rule for presidential elections is: If the economy is well, voters will support the empowered party. If the economy is not well, voters will support the opposing party.

    Historical Context

    Economy: Well
    Eisenhower is re-elected.

    Economy: Had a little downturn near end of decade.
    Kennedy is elected over Nixon.

    Economy: Well
    Johnson is re-elected

    1968 - Okay, Vietnam was a huge exception

    Economy: Well
    Nixon re-elected

    Economy: Concerns of inflation
    Ford loses to Carter.

    Economy: Stagflation
    Reagan defeats Carter

    Economy: Recovery
    Reagan re-elected by landslide

    Economy: Still well
    Bush succeeds Reagan.

    Economy: Unemployment increases.
    Bush, once considered unbeatable, loses to Clinton because of economic concerns.

    Economy: Well
    Clinton is re-elected

    Economy: Well
    Gore won the popular vote here.

    Economy: Recovered from post-9/11 recession
    Bush gets re-elected

    Economy: Downturn
    Obama defeats McCain. As the economy got worse, McCain's support fell.


    Essayist Paul Graham has a theory that charisma wins elections, but can any president in a bad economy be charismatic?

    Obama's approval rating fell since he could not find an instant cure to the recession.
    Reagan's approval dropped in 1983 when the economy went into a recession.

    In 2012, the economy has gotten better, though only slightly, but has not recovered. Barack Obama has a huge warchest and a Republican Party which is extremely unpopular, so he could end up being an exception to my rule.
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 31, 2012 #2
    Have you considered the great depression with Roosevelt being elected time after time?
  4. Mar 31, 2012 #3
    Of course.

    Coolidge and Hoover were elected over a booming economy.
    Hoover lost to Roosevelt as the economy sank into the Great Depression.

    Yes, the country was in the midst of a Great Depression, but economic conditions improved and unemployment rate went down in those years, significantly, even if the nation was still in a depression.

    In 1940, the economy wasn't as bad as it was in 1929. And during WW2, the economy was booming, resulting in a 4th term.
  5. Apr 1, 2012 #4
    Also during World War II, people probably figured it best to leave the guy who was president in place, as opposed to bringing in someone totally new.
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