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Chancellor Model Picks Merkel in 2013 German Election

  • Helmut Norpoth (a1) and Thomas Gschwend (a2)

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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Norpoth, Helmut, and Gschwend, Thomas. 2003. “Against All Odds? The Red-Green Victory,German Political Studies 21: 1534.
Norpoth, Helmut, and Gschwend, Thomas. 2010. “The Chancellor Model: Forecasting German Elections.” International Journal of Forecasting 26: 4253.
PS: Political Science & Politics. 2012. “Symposium: Forecasting the 2012 American National Elections.” 45 (4): 610–74.
Stegmaier, Mary, and Norpoth, Helmut. 2013. “Election Forecasting.” In Oxford Bibliographies in Political Science, ed. Valelly, Rick. New York: Oxford University Press.
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PS: Political Science & Politics
  • ISSN: 1049-0965
  • EISSN: 1537-5935
  • URL: /core/journals/ps-political-science-and-politics
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