The model was created by Phillippe Jacquart, a Professor of Leadership and Organisational Behaviour at Emlyon business school in France, in collaboration with John Antonakis, a Professor of Organisational Behaviour from the University of Lausanne (UNIL), Switzerland.
The model created by these two historic European institutions uses macroeconomics and examines incumbency, as well as the difference in charisma between candidates, to estimate who will win the US election.
This means it observes who is in power, how long they’ve been in power, what political parties they are associated with and how the economy is doing, as well as how compelling they are.
Looking at the incumbency data, if a candidate is running for a second term, then they have an advantage over their counterpart (from being a familiar face), however if their party has been in power for two terms they are at a disadvantage (voters get weary)– based on these factors, Trump has an advantage over Democratic presidential nominee Biden.
Normally, most election prediction models rely on objective data, such as polls, and don’t take into account who the candidates are as they assume that either party has chosen the most optimal candidate.
These models tend to focus on the economic factors: how much GDP is growing and how many good quarters there have been in the last year. Based on these factors, most models will predict a close call election which favours Biden slightly.
However, in this model, which is based on the model by Raymond Fair from Yale University, they combine these statistics with the charisma figures.
“The reason for this is because in situations where people are uncertain, they look to see who is more charismatic, and it will be that person in whom they place their trust. With the number of people currently undecided on who they will vote for sitting between 10-15 per cent, it is the swing vote that will decide the election,” says Professor Jacquart.
The researchers analysed Trump and Biden’s acceptance speeches at their party conferences to determine who is more charismatic – these speeches are the most watched by people who are going to vote, and play a large role in determining whether they are charismatic.
Analysing each sentence of the speeches, the researchers reveal that Trump came in as more charismatic, scoring 55.58 per cent per sentence, over Biden, with 52.01 per cent per sentence, using their model.
Combining the incumbency, economic and charisma factors, the model predicts that Trump will have a very strong advantage in the 2020 election.
When first published in 2015, the model had retrospectively made successful predictions for 21 out of the 24 US presidential elections tracing all the way back to 1916.
It has maintained its level of correct predictions since then.
A message from the Editor: