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Predictive models have been used for years to predict election outcomes well in advance. Looking back at what’s been done in the past, Allan Lichtman comes to mind as someone who stands out from the crowd.

He developed a model that has correctly predicted who would win the popular vote of each United States presidential election since 1984. (In 2000, Al Gore won the popular vote, as predicted by Mr. Lichtman, but not the election).

To do this, he developed something called the “Keys” system (see Wikipedia here) that uses 13 historical factors to predict which party will win the office.

While the state of the economy and incumbency are very important factors, this year, Mr. Lichtman predicts that Joe Bidon will win the election. When asked what sort of a role Covid-19 plays in the prediction, he offers a staunch; “[The keys and model] are what we call a robust system. So, I don’t fiddle with them. They’ve lasted through enormous changes in our politics, in our economy, in our democracy.”

Curious to see how a different model predicts the presidential election? Here’s one by (the brilliant team at) FiveThirtyEight that lets you pick some of the factors and see how the election is predicted to go. It’s a lot of fun:

Different from Mr. Lichtman’s model, the FiveThirtyEight model incorporates myriad components related directly to Covid-19. These include economic uncertainty, the overall volume of news, ease of voting, and the correlation between states hard hit by Covid-19.

If you’re following the election and you want to dive into the data a bit more, the links above should offer a bit of color.

Have a wonderful week!

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