Allan Lichtman, you are a distinguished professor of history at American University and author of The Keys to the White House, a system for predicting U.S. Presidential elections, which has accurately predicted the popular vote winner of every presidential election since 1984. Tell us about The Keys.
The theory behind The Keys is that presidential elections are referenda on the party holding the White House, based on their performance during the previous four years. I developed The Keys in 1981 in collaboration with Volodia Keilis-Borok, a world-renowned authority on earthquake prediction. We developed The Keys by analyzing elections from 1860 to 1980. The Keys model proves that debates, speeches, fund-raising, TV ads, and gaffes -- count for little or nothing on Election Day. It's governing that matters.
What are the Thirteen Keys and where do they stand today?
They are 13 key factors that determine whether or not the incumbent party will be re-elected. When five or fewer of the Keys are false, or turned against the party holding the White House, that party wins another term in office. When six or more are false, the challenging party wins. Here are the 13 Keys and their standing for the 2016 election, as of September 2015:
The 13 Keys to the White House & Where They Stand Today:
1. Party Mandate: After the midterm elections, the incumbent party holds more seats in the U.S. House of Representatives than after the previous midterm elections. (2016 -- FALSE)
2. Contest: There is no serious contest for the incumbent party nomination.(2016 -- UNDECIDED)
3. Incumbency: The incumbent party candidate is the sitting president. (2016 -- FALSE)
4. Third party: There is no significant third party or independent campaign. (2016 -- UNDECIDED)
5. Short-term economy: The economy is not in recession during the election campaign. (2016 -- TRUE)
6. Long-term economy: Real per capita economic growth during the term equals or exceeds mean growth during the previous two terms. (2016 -- TRUE)
7. Policy change: The incumbent administration effects major changes in national policy. (2016 -- FALSE)
8. Social unrest: There is no sustained social unrest during the term. (2016 -- TRUE)