Is It the Economy, Stupid?
|1956||Dwight D. Eisenhower||-0.6||Won|
|1964||Lyndon B. Johnson||3.6||Won|
|1988||George H. W. Bush||0.8||Won|
|1992||George H. W. Bush||-1.3||Lost|
|2004||George W. Bush||0||Won|
*Voters' Economic Well-Being = Consumer spending growth minus the jobless rate
Gene Epstein at Barron's came up with a simple predictive index for an incumbent's reelection chances. Subtract the jobless rate for married males from the percentage increase in real consumer spending and you end up with the Voter's Economic Well-Being index. Epstein looked at incumbents running for President since Ike in 1956. He included the nine actual incumbents who and the four Vice Presidents of incumbents. What he found was that, although a positive VEWB was not a guaranty of victory, a negative predicted a loss. The VEWB had to be flat or positive for an incumbent to win. Obama's VEWB last November was worse than any incumbent except for Jimmy Carter. It has improved a little (though that may not last if gas prices keep going up), but not near enough to win reelection.