Economic Indicators and Election Prediction

UCLA political scientists, Lynn Vavreck shows in a post at Erza Klein’s WaPo blog that the unemployment rate is not the best predictor of election outcomes.  Instead, the place to look is GDP growth:

The data suggest that for every 1 percent growth in GDP from the fourth to the second quarter of an election year, an incumbent party can expect to pick up an additional 2.5 percentage points on Election Day.

The post is worth a look (and it has two graphs to boot!).

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2012, US Politics, , , ,
Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter


  1. de stijl says:

    …that the unemployment rate is the best predictor of election outcomes. Instead, the place to look is GDO growth


    I think you’re missing a “not” from the first sentence.

  2. @de stijl: Indeed I was–thanks for pointing that out.

  3. (Not to mention the “GDO” typo…).