Economist Sees 1-in-7 Chance of Obama Re-election

Model has correctly predicted every election since Reagan.

By + More

An academic model that has correctly predicted every presidential election winner since Ronald Reagan in 1980 suggests that President Obama will suffer a withering and historic defeat next year.

In the model, which considers the political impact of the economy and war deaths to determine the "bread and peace" effect, Obama is slated to win just 44.1 percent of the vote in a two-party election next year.

[Vote now: Will Obama be a one-term president?]

"The Bread and Peace Model," created by economist Douglas Hibbs, suggests that Obama's possible defeat will compare to Jimmy Carter's 1980 crushing fall to Reagan and Adlai Stevenson's 1952 loss to Dwight Eisenhower, given that economic conditions stay exactly as they are.

Speaking at Georgetown University's Mortara Center for International Studies, Hibbs said that his formula combines economic conditions, or the "bread," with military casualties, or the "peace," of the preceding presidential term, to determine the election outcome. It uses the growth of per-capita personal disposable income and the number of military personnel per million Americans who died in an unprovoked combat.

He argues that the two issues have driven every election since World War II, more than scandals and social issues. [See photos of the Obamas behind the scenes.]

On the peace front, Hibbs says that while tragic, the war losses in Afghanistan won't cost Obama much, likely just .25 percent of vote.

But the slumping economy will hit the president hard. Hibbs said that for Obama to win, economic growth will have to be at 4 percent or better, more than twice what it is now. [See a slide show of 10 reasons Obama should be re-elected.]

As a result, he predicts that Obama has just a 1-in-7 chance to win.

  • See photos of the Obamas behind the scenes.
  • Check out our gallery of Whispers political caricatures.
  • Are you on the list? Explore the White House visitor log.