NEW YORK (77 WABC) — There are fewer than three months until voters cast ballots, whether in-person or via mail. But one person has made a name for himself as the “go-to” presidential prognosticator.
Allan Lichtman, a history professor at American University, has accurately predicted every election since 1984. Even in 2000, he had it correct for Al Gore until the legal fight ensued and George W. Bush was “elected.”
In 2016, Lichtman was on a short list of people who figured out Donald Trump would become President Trump, and a congratulatory letter would follow.
But, Lichtman said this time his 13 keys to win the White House narrowly favor Joe Biden. The one-two punch of the pandemic response and outrage to racial injustice were major factors in swaying the data from the incumbent.
“Instead of substantively dealing with those issues, he thought he could talk his way out of it,” Lichtman told WABCRadio.com. “That was a mistake for the nation and a mistake for his reelection.”
One change is the popular vote, where Hillary Clinton had a 3-million vote advantage, but lost by a wide margin in the Electoral College to Trump. Starting with that election, the professor stopped forecasting the popular vote victor because it’s “irrelevant.”
“Democrats can now count on 5 to 6 million extra net votes in just two states, New York and California. They count for zero in the Electoral College. Democrats could win those states by one vote.”
His prediction of 7-6 for Biden would end an incumbent’s bid for the first time since President George H. W. Bush lost to Bill Clinton in 1992.
However, Lichtman is kept up at night with concerns about voter suppression of young people and minorities.
“Donald Trump is absolutely transparent that that’s what he’s trying to do,” he said. “In fact, he said in a moment of candor, Republicans will never win elections if we get high voter turnout.”
Lichtman worries 2020 could turn into a replay of Florida, but this time on a national scale.
Another way his prediction could be undermined is based on potential Russian intervention.
“They’ve learned a lot over four years. It may even be worse this time,” Lichtman said. “They may even try to get into the voter registration rolls and that would be a tragedy. Whatever they do, we know that Donald Trump will again welcome and exploit any Russian intervention on his behalf.”
The professor says the formula is “key,” but it couldn’t be done without putting aside any political views. He’s called four GOP wins and five for the Democratic.
“That is as impartial as you can get,” Lichtman said.