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Yale economist Ray Fair is one of the pioneers of modern-day election forecasting (Fair, 1978). His presidential vote equation, which was first used to predict the 1980 election, is still applied today, although, not surprisingly, it underwent several revisions in the nearly 40 years since its first publication. Basically, the model is built on four major assumptions or theories of voting:

1. Incumbent presidents running have an advantage.
2. Voters like change. Therefore, parties in office for two or more consecutive terms have a disadvantage.
3. There is a slight but persistent bias favoring the Republican Party.
4. The state of the economy affects the incumbent party vote.

## Presidential vote equation

The presidential vote equation predicts the Democratic two-party popular vote. It is formulated as (Fair, 2009; 2018):

V = 48.06 + 0.673 (G*I) – 0.721 (P*I) + 0.792 (Z*I) + 2.25 (DPER) – 3.76 (DUR) + 0.21 (I) + 3.25 (WAR)

## Computer your own 2020 presidential vote forecast

Entering the variable values from Table 1 for the 2020 election, the vote equation can be written as:

V = 45.6 – 0.673 (G) + 0.721 (P) – 0.792 (Z)

In the following vote equation, you can compute your own forecast of the Democratic two-party vote by modifying the values for GP, and Z in the green highlighted textboxes:

V = 45.6 – 0.673 * + 0.721 * – 0.792 *

=

The chart below shows how the forecast from the Fair model has changed since January 1st, 2016.

#### References

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