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KEYS TO THE ELECTION
Historian Allan J. Lichtman is renowned in political circles for his “13 keys to the White House.” Over nearly a century and a half, no candidate from the incumbent party has won the presidency if six or more of the keys are going against him.
Key 1: Party mandate. After the midterm elections, the incumbent party holds more seats in the U.S. House than it did after the previous midterm elections.
Key 2: Contest. There is no serious contest for the incumbent-party nomination.
Key 3: Incumbency. The incumbent-party candidate is the sitting president.
Key 4: Third party. There is no significant third-party or independent campaign.
Key 5: Short-term economy. The economy is not in recession during the election campaign.
Key 6: Long-term economy. Real per-capita economic growth during the term equals or exceeds mean growth during the previous two terms.
Key 7: Policy change. The incumbent administration effects major changes in national policy.
Key 8: Social unrest. There is no sustained social unrest during the term.
Key 9: Scandal. The incumbent administration is untainted by major scandal.
Key 10: Foreign/military failure. The incumbent administration suffers no major failure in foreign or military affairs.
Key 11: Foreign/military success. The incumbent administration achieves a major success in foreign or military affairs.
Key 12: Incumbent charisma. The incumbent-party candidate is charismatic or a national hero.
Key 13: Challenger charisma. The challenging-party candidate is not charismatic or a national hero.
Political patterns favor Obama, scholars say