October 18, 2004 | Barron'sAn article says some reliable economic predictors of election outcomes suggest that President George W. Bush will lose a close race on Nov. 2. The real disposable income of individuals, historically a leading indicator of electoral success, is growing well below the level that usually ensures an incumbent keeps the White House. And in the trading pits of the IOWA ELECTRONIC MARKETS, where investors can put cash on the election outcome, Bush futures are barely priced higher than Kerry futures, which is bad news for an incumbent. In any event, disposable income isn't the only economic predictor. MICHAEL LEWIS-BECK, who chairs the University of Iowa's political-science department, uses a model that considers not only leading economic indicators but a president's job-approval ratings, too. His verdict: Kerry will win. He's one of the few social scientists sticking his neck out and making a call without qualifications.
Contact: Robert Forsythe