A Monkey, Some Masks and a Professor Correctly Predicted Trump's Win
(CBSNews) Earlier this week, CBS News profiled five strange and unexpected things that have correctly predicted the results of the presidential election for decades. Now, it seems, three of those five predictors were right -- forecasting Donald Trump would be the 45th president of the United States.
1. The Monkey
A mystic monkey in Changsha, China also got in on the action this year. Shiyanhu Ecological Tourism Park in China’s Hunan province regularly utilizes the animal, named Geda, to predict the results of European soccer matches. In fact, this year, Geda correctly predicted that Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal would win the European football championship, which they did... in overtime.
So, fresh off his sports success, Geda’s handlers figured, why not try the monkey’s luck at politics as well? The 5-year-old monkey, whose name means “goose bumps,” is believed to have the gift of prophecy, after all.
Consequently, last Thursday, Geda stood on a red table between two life-size cardboard cutouts of Republican nominee Donald Trump and Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, as eager reporters looked on. He wore a yellow t-shirt which read “king of prophets” in Chinese. And after a thoughtful process of sampling bananas next to each cutout, the clairvoyant monkey chose Donald Trump as the clear winner. The animal even thrilled nearby cameramen by planting a celebratory kiss on the Republican candidate’s face.
2. The Mask Index
Every four years, the retail chain Spirit Halloween puts out a survey of which presidential candidate’s mask people plan to dress up in for Halloween. And for the past two decades, this poll has correctly predicted every presidential election winner. This year, the “mask index” had Donald Trump ahead of Hillary Clinton, 55 to 45 percent.
3. The American University Professor
American University professor Allan Lichtman has correctly predicted the results of every presidential election since 1984. Interestingly, though, his method does not rely on polls, demographics or an analysis of swing states. Rather, Lichtman has developed 13 keys to predicting the election based on the performance of the party currently in the White House.
“There’s a real theory behind this. And the theory is presidential elections don’t work the way we think they do,” Lichtman told CBSN anchor Josh Elliott in June. “They’re not decided by the turns of the campaigns, the speeches, the debates, the fundraising. Rather, presidential elections are fundamentally referenda on the performance of the party holding the White House. If that performance is good enough, they get four more years. If it’s not, they’re turned out and the challenging part wins.”
Lichtman says his 13 keys to predicting the results of the presidential election are simply ways of “mathematically and specifically” measuring that performance. They are: (1) incumbent-party mandate, (2) incumbency, (3) third party, (4) short-term economy, (5) long-term economy, (6) nomination contest, (7) policy change, (8) scandal, (9) social unrest, (10) foreign or military success, (11) foreign or military failure, (12) incumbent charisma, and (13) challenge charisma.
The history professor says he came across this method “totally by accident in 1981,” when he met a Russian geophysicist who wanted to collaborate using the methods of earthquake prediction to predict elections. Lichtman insists that’s not nearly as far-fetched as it sounds because both prediction formulas gauge stability vs. upheaval.
As for the results of this election, Lichtman says 2016 has been the hardest race he’s ever attempted to predict. When the author of “The Keys to the White House” appeared on CBSN in June, he had yet to make his call. However, since then, he doubled down on a Trump win, proving he might really be on to something with those 13 keys.