If history is any guide Obama’s allies will lose, in part, thanks to a painfully slow rise in Americans’ disposable income according to a model built by Sweden-based researcher Douglas Hibbs.
The Gothenburg University affiliated researcher who studied data from elections dating from 1950 to 2006, predicts Democrats will lose 45 seats in the House of Representatives, putting them in the minority and badly stymieing Obama’s ability to govern.
Hibbs found that 50-plus years of elections had shown that the incumbent party usually retains 62 seats, plus a number of seats equal to about 62 percent of those won at the previous major election.
The party also loses 1.4 seats for every percentage point of the sitting president’s win margin in the previous election, for Obama 7.4 percentage points.
Crucially for the president he could claw back “10 seats for every percentage point of growth in per capita real disposable personal income over the congressional term.”
But unfortunately for Obama retaining the majority would still need disposable income to increase by 0.8 percent over the first seven quarters of this Congress. Over the first six quarters it increased by only 0.6 percent.
The good news for Obama is that Hibbs admits his method might not be foolproof.
His model, he says, is designed to explain what outside factors impact mid-term elections, rather than “deliver optimal predictions.”