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In Predicting the Next President political analyst and historian Allan J. Lichtman presents thirteen historical factors, or "keys" (four political, seven performance, and two personality), that determine the outcome of presidential elections. In the chronological, successful application of these keys to every election since 1860, Lichtman dispels much of the mystery behind In Predicting the Next President political analyst and historian Allan J. Lichtman presents thirteen historical factors, or "keys" (four political, seven performance, and two personality), that determine the outcome of presidential elections. In the chronological, successful application of these keys to every election since 1860, Lichtman dispels much of the mystery behind electoral politics and challenges many traditional assumptions. An indispensable resource for political junkies who want to get a head-start on calling Decision 2012.


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In Predicting the Next President political analyst and historian Allan J. Lichtman presents thirteen historical factors, or "keys" (four political, seven performance, and two personality), that determine the outcome of presidential elections. In the chronological, successful application of these keys to every election since 1860, Lichtman dispels much of the mystery behind In Predicting the Next President political analyst and historian Allan J. Lichtman presents thirteen historical factors, or "keys" (four political, seven performance, and two personality), that determine the outcome of presidential elections. In the chronological, successful application of these keys to every election since 1860, Lichtman dispels much of the mystery behind electoral politics and challenges many traditional assumptions. An indispensable resource for political junkies who want to get a head-start on calling Decision 2012.

30 review for Predicting the Next President: The Keys to the White House 2012

  1. 5 out of 5

    Owlseyes

    Since 1984 Allan Lichtman made it well on predicting each and every president elected; yet, November 2016 is uncharted territory, it seems; quite "incognito", since he hasn't presented any sort of prediction, based on his model. I'll be waiting, 13th May 2016. --- UPDATE Now, I've got this: "Based on the 13 keys, it would predict a Donald Trump victory. Remember, six keys and you're out, and right now the Democrats are out — for sure — five keys." in: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/t... UPDATE Since 1984 Allan Lichtman made it well on predicting each and every president elected; yet, November 2016 is uncharted territory, it seems; quite "incognito", since he hasn't presented any sort of prediction, based on his model. I'll be waiting, 13th May 2016. --- UPDATE Now, I've got this: "Based on the 13 keys, it would predict a Donald Trump victory. Remember, six keys and you're out, and right now the Democrats are out — for sure — five keys." in: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/t... UPDATE "So plenty has changed. But one thing hasn't: Lichtman, author of “Predicting the Next President: The Keys to the White House 2016,” is sticking with his prediction of a Trump victory." in:https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/t... Oh By the way, there's an Artificial Intelligence system (MogIA developed by Sanjiv Rai) predicting ,too, a victory for Trump. See here: http://www.cnbc.com/2016/10/28/donald... I'll be back on this book, coming 8th November; for sure. 28th October 2016 CONGRATULATIONS MR LICHTMAN https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/t... 9th Nov 2016 UPDATE Well, Lichtman has bad news for Trump; a bad prediction. "Professor predicted Trump win, says he will be impeached" See here: http://edition.cnn.com/2016/11/15/pol... 16th November 2016 UPDATE Now, Lichtman believes Iran could hurt Trump's chances of being re-elected. https://www.rawstory.com/2020/01/poli... 11th January 2020

  2. 4 out of 5

    Billie Pritchett

    Allan Lichtman is a political historian who predicted that president-elect Donald Trump would win the nomination. He has also predicted every American presidential election since 1984, and his model retroactively predicts every election since 1860. He lays out his model in this book, Predicting the Next President: The Keys to the White House and explains how, throughout history, each presidential win the mid-19th century came about. Lichtman's basic thesis is that every new presidential election Allan Lichtman is a political historian who predicted that president-elect Donald Trump would win the nomination. He has also predicted every American presidential election since 1984, and his model retroactively predicts every election since 1860. He lays out his model in this book, Predicting the Next President: The Keys to the White House and explains how, throughout history, each presidential win the mid-19th century came about. Lichtman's basic thesis is that every new presidential election is a referendum on the incumbent political party, and there is a basic checklist of things that the incumbent party needs to do if it wants to maintain the White House. As soon as the incumbent party fails in six (6) of 13 key areas, there is a transference of power to the other party. Here are the 13 keys, posed as questions, and put into plain English.1. Does the incumbent party have more seats in the U.S. House of Representatives after the midterm election than it did after the previous midterm election? 2. Is there a clear choice for president for the incumbent party? 3. Is the person running for president currently the sitting president? 4. Is there not a significant third party or independent candidate? NOTE: Typically, what counts as a significant third party candidate is whether this third party is predicted to take five per cent of the vote. 5. Is it not the case that the economy in recession during the election campaign for president? 6. Does the real per capita GDP equal or exceed the average growth the past two presidential terms? 7. Has the incumbent president made any major changes to national policy? 8. Is there no social unrest during the current presidential term? NOTE: This one may be hard to pin down. What will count as social unrest may come down to opinion polls nationwide about the relevant issues here and to how responsibly the American people hold the current president accountable for these social problems. 9. Is the current presidential administration untainted by major scandal? 10. Is it the case that the current presidential administration has suffered no major failure in foreign or military affairs? 11. Has the incumbent administration achieved a major success in foreign or military affairs? 12. Is the incumbent party candidate perceived as charismatic or a national hero? 13. Is the challenging party candidate perceived as not charismatic, not a national hero?Again, answer NO to any six of these and the White House changes hands. Lichtman admits that it is also quite difficult to call and may come down to the wire before the votes are taken, given that his keys are based on certain historical conditions that must come to pass. Another reason why you may be skeptical (one reason I am a little skeptical) is that there is an everything-but-the-kitchen-sink approach that Lichtman is using. You may wonder why these, of all factors, would help you determine who will control the White House. What I do find interesting, however, is if true, if these factors have truly been predictive, then they may be our best way (so far) to call the next presidency.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Lindsey

    I started reading Keys to the White House the weekend after the 2016 Drumpf/Clinton election. I have a public policy degree, and I felt so worn down by the politics. Some might call it self punishment, but I wanted to understand what happened. I found Lichtman's analysis restorative, and his history concise. His emphasis is squarely on evaluating how the party in power performed during each four year presidency. His core argument is that nothing that happens during a general election matters, or I started reading Keys to the White House the weekend after the 2016 Drumpf/Clinton election. I have a public policy degree, and I felt so worn down by the politics. Some might call it self punishment, but I wanted to understand what happened. I found Lichtman's analysis restorative, and his history concise. His emphasis is squarely on evaluating how the party in power performed during each four year presidency. His core argument is that nothing that happens during a general election matters, or changes the outcome. What determines the outcome is the incumbent President's ability to achieve a majority of successful outcomes along 13 dimensions of performance - what Lichtman calls the "keys to the White House." And this is because American voters are fundamentally pragmatic and focused on results. At the heart of his thesis is the view that we can't trick voters. That people are fundamentally smart enough to see through the campaigns and reach their own conclusions. That is a viewpoint I share, even when the election results surprise me. I will admit, however, that it took me reading his analysis of every presidential election since 1860 to accept his recommendations at the end of the book. It's hard to swallow the premise that the campaigns don't determine the outcome of the election, especially after we've just lived through an especially long and grueling campaign season. His recommendations, however, emphasize how a sitting President should focus on achieving results if they are interested in re-election. And really, isn't that what we want our Presidents to be focused on? Results?

  4. 4 out of 5

    Laura

    Famous for predicting the Trump victory, Lichtman explains his theory for predicting the popular vote, which involves 13 keys. Since Trump did not win the popular vote, I don't see how this theory accounts for his election and Clinton winning the popular vote. Also, in this 2016 edition, Lichtman does not predict the Nov. 2016 election. Nevertheless, I enjoyed reading the book and learned from it. This book is concise and written for a layperson. In addition to explaining the 13 key theory that Famous for predicting the Trump victory, Lichtman explains his theory for predicting the popular vote, which involves 13 keys. Since Trump did not win the popular vote, I don't see how this theory accounts for his election and Clinton winning the popular vote. Also, in this 2016 edition, Lichtman does not predict the Nov. 2016 election. Nevertheless, I enjoyed reading the book and learned from it. This book is concise and written for a layperson. In addition to explaining the 13 key theory that Americans vote based on results not campaigning strategy, he also gives a short presidential history starting from 1860 to the present. I especially enjoyed his history of the Carter administration. Another important part of this book is Lichtman's theory of governing. Based on the keys theory, he hopes to give an incentive for both incumbent and challenging candidates to focus more on government than campaigning. In the case of the challenger, this means setting the groundwork early for success by increasing numbers in Congress, sometimes cultivating bipartisan cooperation, and building an organizational and intellectual base.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Anne

    This writer takes the long view, placing American elections in the context of governance, between 1860 and 2012. Specific campaigns matter less, notwithstanding the time, energy, money and media attention invested in them. The book highlights (for me) an Achilles' Heel of the American electoral system, its complexities, and its capacity for divisive, disruptive, and ultimately undemocratic outcomes. Interesting, to me, is how very inconsistent each political party is, and how little policy This writer takes the long view, placing American elections in the context of governance, between 1860 and 2012. Specific campaigns matter less, notwithstanding the time, energy, money and media attention invested in them. The book highlights (for me) an Achilles' Heel of the American electoral system, its complexities, and its capacity for divisive, disruptive, and ultimately undemocratic outcomes. Interesting, to me, is how very inconsistent each political party is, and how little policy platforms really matter. One thing that struck me: this book is viewed as having a stellar record of predicting electoral outcomes in the US since 1981. As an academic, Professor Lichtman interprets key conditions that turn electoral decision keys one way or the other. Yet Professor Lichtman himself hedged on using the keys to predict the outcome in 2016 until very late in the game, equivocal until late September 2016. And his model predicted that Mr. Trump would win the popular vote, but not necessarily the election. The reverse happened. Could it be that he suspected a more fundamental and anti-democratic, authoritarian shift (outside his model) that will remake the country? While the book discusses populist candidates, they are treated more as (Key 4) spoilers in a fundamentally democratic system. With its focus on historical modeling, the book can not address the use of today's tools of mass manipulation by well-organized bad actors, including foreign states like Russia and billionaire elites like Peter Thiel, to elect a puppet president. Nevertheless the book is worth a read as a record of the American electoral experiment, its highs and lows from the pre-Civil War years to 2012.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Rajiv Bais

    Democrats, this is your playbook to win the 2020 presidential election. After being impressed by Allan Lichtman’s track record of getting every electoral college victory correct since he first started predicting in 1984, I felt the need to check out this book. I already checked out his 2017 book ‘The Case for Impeachment’ and, therefore, became more motivated to read it. Lichtman’s 13 keys to winning the presidency was figured out by analyzing the common themes that were evident in elections Democrats, this is your playbook to win the 2020 presidential election. After being impressed by Allan Lichtman’s track record of getting every electoral college victory correct since he first started predicting in 1984, I felt the need to check out this book. I already checked out his 2017 book ‘The Case for Impeachment’ and, therefore, became more motivated to read it. Lichtman’s 13 keys to winning the presidency was figured out by analyzing the common themes that were evident in elections dating back to 1860. The 13 were the following: President and congressional party majority, no serious party nomination to the presidency, the incumbent party holds the presidential office, third-party candidates, short term economy, long-term economy, policy change, social unrest, scandal, foreign or military failure, foreign or military success, incumbent presidential party charisma, and opponent charisma. If at least five were negative, the election would go to the party most opposite to the incumbent presidential party. For example, since at least five keys were negative to the Democrats in 2016 as their party leader, Barack Obama, was the president, The advantage would go to the Republican who was running. Although I have to double check, The Democrats did not have the following keys in their favor in November of that year: 1, 4, 7, 12, and 11. If only they had a charismatic candidate to take care of key number 12. Sadly, I am not even sure if Bernie Sanders counts as charismatic. However, charisma can also be coded for hero according to the book. Since there are no more military heroes running for office these days (including Trump), Sanders might count as a hero because he is a millennial icon. Frankly, I do not think that key number 8 should be included anymore because it is one of the most irrelevant and potentially inconclusive keys among all the 13 listed. It almost always does not count as one of the five minimum keys for an opposition party to win and, based on the last time I checked, it only seemed to matter directly during the election years 1968, 1932, 1920, 1896, 1892, 1888 1872, 1868, 1864, and 1860. The women’s marches have seemed to die down and that is not a good sign especially as instances of anti-Semitism have taken place amongst the women there. Charlottesville took place in the inaugural year of the presidency and nothing close to that has happened since. Unless the Democrats motivate their bases to act almost as crazily as Cesar Sayoc did in 2018, social unrest will not matter. They have a few possible negative keys in their favor (1 = Congress party majority, 4 = third-party candidates like Howard Schultz, and 7 = policy change that does not exist) but extra ones could come if they have a hand in the outcome and let their centrist ways and egos fall by the wayside. They have to use insiders in Wall Street to tank the economy even more and that way keys number 5 and 6 fall in their favor. They have to impeach Donald Trump, and since scandal ruins the election for the incumbent presidential party based on the 1868 and 2000 elections the 9th key falls to them, giving them at least five keys against Trump. What the f*** is so hard about impeaching a guy for using his office to enrich his businesses and committing crimes before his presidency? Democrats, do you have campaign donors and lobbyists staying in his hotels? Did you also recommend people to enroll in Trump University and give money to the Trump Foundation when it was illegally operated and unlicensed? Lastly, to fully win the presidency, they have to nominate Tulsi Gabbard and make sure she wins the Democratic primary and the presidential election. She is the only one who fits the 12th key of charisma. She is gorgeous in appearance and incredibly young. Best of all, unlike Donald Trump, she actually fought in combat and is a military hero. Most importantly, according to Lichtman, the hucksters (failed campaign strategist Bob Schrum and Karen Finney), safe play, merry-go-round candidates, and hiding from true party ideology must go (I agree). They will, however, have to take the highroad on Trump even though he could be lower than the feces of a dead animal. Tulsi can do that as she never believed in calling him a racist despite proven incidents. In addition, they have to stick to substance whatever that means and pick great vice presidential candidates. My choices include Hawaii Senator Brian Schatz, Virginia Representative Jennifer Wexton, Minnesota Representative Keith Ellison, Wisconsin Representative Mark Pocan, Massachusetts Representative Ayanna Pressley, and Arizona Senator Kyrsten Sinema. Break a leg Democrats because you have not put on a show since Barack Obama was first elected. Worst of all, the phrase “give people something to look forward to“ is not in your vocabulary. Give everyone something to look forward too even if you are not liked by everyone.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Eric Smith

    This is an impressive work of scholarship but the subtitle, “A Surefire Guide to Predicting the Next President” doesn’t live up to its promise. Lichtman posits that American presidential elections are not determined by the skill or course of a campaign, but instead are primarily a referendum on the party in power. He proposes 13 keys that the incumbent party has available to them to “turn” in order to stay for another term. If they miss out on five or fewer, they stay in power. If they miss six This is an impressive work of scholarship but the subtitle, “A Surefire Guide to Predicting the Next President” doesn’t live up to its promise. Lichtman posits that American presidential elections are not determined by the skill or course of a campaign, but instead are primarily a referendum on the party in power. He proposes 13 keys that the incumbent party has available to them to “turn” in order to stay for another term. If they miss out on five or fewer, they stay in power. If they miss six or more, they lose. It’s important to note that because Lichtman looks at elections as a national referendum, this model applies to the national popular vote. The first part of the book is an explanation of the 13 keys and their definition. Then Lichtman transitions into a political history of the United States since 1860, seen through the lens of the 13 keys. The conclusion summarizes his point and recommends a way forward for conducting presidential campaigns. The historical analysis was the strongest part of the book. Looking at every election since 1860 with the same set of criteria was fascinating and really served to explain the dilemmas faced by individuals and parties in those elections. There are two structural problems with his argument. First, while Lichtman’s central objective is to turn election predictability into a math problem, frequently his analysis describes the electorates’ evaluation of “keys” as being very subjective. Lichtman defends subjective assessments by using a methodology that standardizes their analysis over time. This works when looking at history with hindsight, but is far less useful when looking forward in an attempt to forecast an election. Second, the electoral college introduces a variable that he doesn’t fully explore, aside from a mention in the introduction. Examining the keys on a state-by-state basis, against likely electoral votes, would yield better predictive analysis. My quibbles aside, I agree with Lichtman in the broad sense – the American electorate, taken as a whole, is smarter than the campaign-industrial complex would have us think. Examining the foundational reasoning that influences voters is far more useful than dwelling on the latest campaign talking point and daily swings in polling. So pick up this book and give it a read, just don’t expect to be omniscient when you’re done.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Chris

    Professor Lichtman called it for Trump, incorrectly as it turned out since Trump lost the popular vote, his first "miss" since he began doing this in 1984(?). The popular vote winner, not the Electoral College vote, is his professed surrogate prediction, or at least he maintains ever since his prediction for a Gore win ended up with Gore - like Clinton - winning the popular vote but not the election. His scheme is a nonlinear, "pattern recognition" model that is likely more sophisticated (there Professor Lichtman called it for Trump, incorrectly as it turned out since Trump lost the popular vote, his first "miss" since he began doing this in 1984(?). The popular vote winner, not the Electoral College vote, is his professed surrogate prediction, or at least he maintains ever since his prediction for a Gore win ended up with Gore - like Clinton - winning the popular vote but not the election. His scheme is a nonlinear, "pattern recognition" model that is likely more sophisticated (there are no mathematical details here in the book) than simple linear regression econometric "fundamentals" models prevalent in the political science academic literature. Before the 2016 election Prof. Lichtman maintained that the incumbent party's nominee, Hillary Clinton, had lost 6 keys: keys 4 (3rd party), 11 (no successes) & 12 (no charisma) in addition to keys 1, 3 & 7 that we had already set against her. I'm surprised that he gave her key 2 due to the fact that Bernie did challenge, garnering 40% of the delegates, more than the 1/3 threshold necessary to call it. I think that key strikes Clinton harder than key 4 as the 3rd parties are likely stealing votes from both sides in this election (unlike Nader in 2000 for example). I concur with key 10 (no major failures), viewing the world turmoil with terrorism as an ongoing struggle since 9/11. I do think the social unrest here at home is significant, so I take key 8 away as well. For me, the toughest key is the scandal captured in key 9. I probably agree with Lichtman that it's not significant enough to cross party lines, i.e., half the country think there's more than a whiff of scandal ("lock her up") and the other half think it's just "politics as usual". So if you flip his assessment of keys 2 & 4 and take away key 8, that gave her 7 strikes in my view.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Matthew Shoe

    A nice analytical take on the factors that decide our elections. I admit I skimmed over many chapters; the material is deep but dry. The takeaway for me was that most things we think determine election outcomes are more part of the stories we tell ourselves, to try and make sense of things, than what is actually happening. Don't expect for your biases to be confirmed. Readers might be heartened to find not all the "keys" are immutable and left to the tides of history. Some give a glimmer of hope A nice analytical take on the factors that decide our elections. I admit I skimmed over many chapters; the material is deep but dry. The takeaway for me was that most things we think determine election outcomes are more part of the stories we tell ourselves, to try and make sense of things, than what is actually happening. Don't expect for your biases to be confirmed. Readers might be heartened to find not all the "keys" are immutable and left to the tides of history. Some give a glimmer of hope for change. Good book for anyone interested in the real why and how questions of politics.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Steve

    Allan Lichtman asks 13 true-false questions about the incumbent party every presidential election year such as: do they have an incumbent candidate? is there a third-party challenger? is the economy doing well? has there been a major foreign policy failure? is the opposition candidate charismatic? Based on the answers he has called the popular vote in every presidential elections since 1860. The elections from 1984 forward were called before the vote. Pretty impressive, no? The problem that Allan Lichtman asks 13 true-false questions about the incumbent party every presidential election year such as: do they have an incumbent candidate? is there a third-party challenger? is the economy doing well? has there been a major foreign policy failure? is the opposition candidate charismatic? Based on the answers he has called the popular vote in every presidential elections since 1860. The elections from 1984 forward were called before the vote. Pretty impressive, no? The problem that jumps out to me in this approach, is that the categories look a little fuzzy. Charismatic? How is that decided? What constitutes a major foreign policy failure? Lichtman takes on that problem early in his book by defining the categories as precisely as possible, but acknowledges some judgment is necessary. Everything cannot be quantified. True enough, in my opinion, but for those who want to cite numbers, the approach is suspect. For example, take a look at this back and forthbetween the statistical blogger, Nate Silver, and Lichtman in a post a few weeks ago. The lessons Lichtman takes from his approach are interesting, too. Among them is the idea that ideology doesn’t matter. There are no ideological keys that win the White House. Politicians who “move to the center” to attract the “independent voter” are on a fools errand. People judge practical results. Candidates should “simply speak from the heart”. President Obama, have you read this book? By the way, it may not matter that much what Obama says or does over the next 14 months. Lichtman’s keys usually call the election well before the general election campaign begins. So far, according to a recent article by Lichtman in USA Today, Obama is a lock for re-election in 2012.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Jessica

    I read the 2012 edition of this book after the 2016 election and it actually made me feel better about things. It's not necessarily about the candidates, but more about how the incumbent party has governed and what the people think about their capabilities and competencies. I got this book because I saw an interview with Allan Lichtman (pre-Nov 2016) where he predicted a Trump win when everyone else had Clinton pegged at anywhere from a 75% to a 95% chance of winning. While there are some issues I read the 2012 edition of this book after the 2016 election and it actually made me feel better about things. It's not necessarily about the candidates, but more about how the incumbent party has governed and what the people think about their capabilities and competencies. I got this book because I saw an interview with Allan Lichtman (pre-Nov 2016) where he predicted a Trump win when everyone else had Clinton pegged at anywhere from a 75% to a 95% chance of winning. While there are some issues with popular vote vs. electoral vote prediction, this man and (oddly enough) Michael Moore were the only ones who seemed to see the Trump presidency coming, so I wanted to understand how he came to that conclusion. I thought his 11 keys were well thought out and seemed to withstand the test of time. I really can't wait to read the 2020 edition to see who he'll predict next time.

  12. 4 out of 5

    David

    Lichtman makes a convincing case that normal presidential election campaigning and polling are ineffective and unnecessary. He has 13 keys that are amazingly accurate. They even predicted Clinton's win in the popular vote (as they did Gore's). His basic point is that people vote based on results of the President and the party in the majority. Campaigns should focus on issues and those results. Oh well. Three stars because the book is so similar to other "business books": a first chapter that Lichtman makes a convincing case that normal presidential election campaigning and polling are ineffective and unnecessary. He has 13 keys that are amazingly accurate. They even predicted Clinton's win in the popular vote (as they did Gore's). His basic point is that people vote based on results of the President and the party in the majority. Campaigns should focus on issues and those results. Oh well. Three stars because the book is so similar to other "business books": a first chapter that introduces and explains the topic, many following chapters that essentially defend and describe the ideas of the first chapter then a closing chapter that echoes the first. This is better as an article than a book.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Robert

    This book is also a good way to review US history from 1856 to the current day. I don't have complete confidence in Lichtman's system but I do believe that this perspective (that candidates are less important than the governing party's record at election time) is a much needed corrective to the poll driven forecasts which are so popular now.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Kevin Christiansen

    Interesting methodology for predicting presidents. Utilizing the keys and examining the current environment/candidates, I think the "Keys" predict an Obama reelection. That being said, the election remains several months off and, while unlikely, several keys could turn in the other direction.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Jonathan Pry

  16. 4 out of 5

    James

  17. 5 out of 5

    Jay

  18. 5 out of 5

    Toni

  19. 5 out of 5

    Stephen Daday

  20. 4 out of 5

    Tim Callicutt

  21. 5 out of 5

    Nelly

  22. 4 out of 5

    Steve

  23. 5 out of 5

    Kate

  24. 4 out of 5

    Bill

  25. 5 out of 5

    Jessica Williams

  26. 5 out of 5

    Jesse

  27. 5 out of 5

    Kim Scripture

  28. 5 out of 5

    Chip Spear

  29. 5 out of 5

    Zach

  30. 5 out of 5

    Paspox

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