Leading economic indicators and the polls

The leading indicators model, developed by Robert Erikson and Christopher Wlezien, predicts the two-party popular vote based on two variables: an index of leading economic indicators and trial-heat polls over the course of the campaign. The model’s vote equation reads as:

V = A + b1 Cumulative LEI Growth 13 + b2 Polls

Table 1: Overview of variables used in the leading indicators model
Variable Description Value
Cumulative LEI Growth 13 Summed weighted growth in leading economic indicators through quarter 13 of the election cycle, with each quarter weighted 0.8 times the following quarter N/A
Polls Incumbent party’s candidate two-party support in polls in month X N/A
A Constant N/A
V Incumbent share of the two-party presidential vote

2016 forecast

Polly will post the leading indicators model forecast once available. Make sure to not miss anything and stay updated:

Past performance

The following chart shows the leading indicator model’s forecasts and the actual election results for each election since 1992. On average across the three elections, the leading indicator model missed the final results by only 1.5 percentage points.


Erikson, R. S. & Wlezien, C. (2016). Forecasting the Presidential Vote with Leading Economic Indicators and the Polls. PS: Political Science & Politics, 49(4), 669-672.