In the German national election this fall, based on the forecast of the Chancellor Model, the governing coalition will score a resounding victory. Chancellor Angela Merkel enjoys a high approval rating, which puts her at a 2-1 advantage over the challenger, Peer Steinbrück. Although Germany is not a presidential system, where voters elect the chief policymaker, chancellor support has proved to be a strong predictor of vote choice in German national elections. Our forecast model also includes long-term partisanship, which provides a broad base for the governing parties in this election, and length of tenure, which exacts a modest penalty after two terms of office. Since its premiere in 2002, the model has predicted the winner in each election. In a case of perhaps beginner's luck, the 2002 forecast scored a bull's-eye with 47.1%, the exact share of the governing parties; the forecast was posted three months before Election Day. No poll or other model, not even the Election-Day exit polls, came close to this performance; in fact, most people predicted a defeat for Schröder's red-green coalition (Norpoth and Gschwend 2003).
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