But a group of researchers said Thursday that the pundits would have been wiser to watch another economic indicator: the stock market.
In the three years running up to Tuesday’s election, stocks gained 34.8%, said researchers writing for the Gainesville, Ga.-based Socionomics Institute. They said that in the three years before an election, a large stock market gain — they called it a positive “move” — is “highly likely to be associated with a landslide victory for the incumbent.”
It would be hard to characterize Obama’s 2-point victory over challenger Mitt Romney as a landslide, but a paper describing market and electoral trends said the nation’s mood tends to closely track the markets, even for voters who don’t own stocks.
The academics said they studied elections back to George Washington’s victory in 1792 to reach their conclusion that stock movements aren’t just a better predictor than the unemployment rate but also a better indicator than gross domestic product or inflation.