Updated May 2nd, 2024 at 18:32 IST

Biden vs Trump: The ‘Nostradamus’ of US Presidential polls makes his 2024 pick

Allan Lichtman, the Nostradamus of US presidential elections has correctly predicted the result of nine of the past 10 years.

Reported by: Rajashree Seal
Democrat Joe Biden and 2024 Republican frontrunner Donald Trump. | Image:AP

Allan Lichtman, often dubbed the Nostradamus of US presidential elections, boasts an impressive track record of accurately predicting nine out of the past 10 outcomes. He remains steadfast in his assertion that the 2000 election, which eluded his forecast, was in fact stolen from Al Gore. Now, Lichtman prepares for what could be his most daunting task yet: forecasting the outcome of a potential rematch between Joe Biden and Donald Trump.

In his quest for precision in forecasting who will occupy the Oval Office, Lichtman has designed what he terms as the "13 keys to the White House," an approach that has transformed election prediction methods.


Speaking to a news portal, Lichtman said, "I have not made a final prediction yet but I do have a model for 13 keys to the White House which have been correct since 1984 - 10 elections in a row - and the way it works is if six or more of the 13 keys go against the White House party (incumbent) they are predicted losers and if fewer than six then they are predicted winners. "Right now a lot would have to go wrong for Joe Biden to lose this election. He's at the moment down by just two keys," he added.

Biden is anticipated to face a second challenge from Donald Trump, who is increasingly positioned to represent the Republican party in the 2024 US Presidential elections slated for November. Given Biden's advantages as the incumbent and a primary process with few significant contenders, Lichtman perceives formidable obstacles for Trump as his challenger.


The 13 keys to the White House as designed by Lichtman in partnership with Russian seismologist Vladimir Keilis-Borokare as follows:

  1. Party Mandate: Following the midterm elections, the incumbent party gains a greater number of seats in the US House of Representatives compared to the previous midterm elections.
  2. Nomination Contest: There is no substantial challenge to the nomination of the incumbent party.
  3. Incumbency: The sitting president represents the incumbent party.
  4. Third-party Factor:There is no notable third-party or independent campaign.
  5. Short-term Economic Stability: The economy does not experience a recession throughout the election campaign.
  6. Long-term Economic Growth: Real per capita economic growth matches or exceeds the average growth of the preceding two terms.
  7. Policy change: The  incumbent administration implements significant alterations in national policy.
  8. Social Stability: There's no sustained social unrest throughout the term.
  9. Scandal-Free: The incumbent administration is devoid of significant scandals.
  10. Foreign/Military failures: Under the incumbent administration, there are no significant failures in foreign or military affairs.
  11. Foreign/Military success: The incumbent administration achieves significant successes in foreign or military matters.
  12. Incumbent charm: The candidate of the incumbent party exudes charisma or holds national hero status.
  13. Challenger charisma: The candidate from the opposing party lacks charisma or national hero status.


A recent survey has revealed that US voters view Trump more favorably for the economy compared to President Biden. As per the poll, 41 per cent of participants prefer Trump's economic approach over Biden's, while 34 per cent favor Biden's. The remaining respondents either expressed uncertainty or believed that neither candidate had a superior stance on economic matters.


Lichtman said, "Early polls have zero predictive value. They are momentary snapshots. for example, they say, 'If the elections were held today, this is where the candidates stand' - but the election is not being held today so polls are of not of any value for prediction. Early polls often lead you astray."

"As we saw in 2016 when I had predicted Donald Trump's victory contrary to the polls. Or in 1988, when George H W Bush as late as May and June of the election year was 17 points behind his opponent Mike Dukakis and went on to win with a 25-point swing. That's why I tell everyone, to get the polls, to get the pundits keep your eye on the big picture as gauged by the keys," he added.


Lichtman's predictive abilities encountered their most substantial challenge during the turbulent 2000 election between Al Gore and George W. Bush. Despite forecasting a victory for Gore, the controversial outcome of the election cast doubt on his prediction.


Allan Lichtman is a distinguished professor of history at American University who has made a name for himself through one unusual talent of accurately predicting the outcomes of nine out of the past ten US presidential elections. He has published more than 100 scholarly and popular articles as well as six books, including, most recently, White Protestant Nation: The Rise of the American Conservative Movement (2008) and The Keys to the White House (revised edition, 2000), which explains and predicts presidential election results. He provides commentary for major U.S. and foreign broadcast companies, and has served as an expert witness in more than 70 federal voting rights and redistricting cases. 


Published May 2nd, 2024 at 18:28 IST