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Release: Sept. 14, 2000

UI professor predicts Democratic majority in House after November elections

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- University of Iowa political scientist Michael Lewis-Beck said the Democrats will regain the majority in the U.S. House of Representatives following the November elections. Lewis-Beck, whose election forecasts have a strong record of accuracy, used a forecast model based on the economy, the president's popularity, and an index of voters' expectations for the economic future to predict a net gain of 24 House seats for the Democrats.

Lewis-Beck announced his forecast for the Presidential election last month, predicting Democratic candidate Al Gore would win with 55.4 percent of the two-party popular vote. Lewis-Beck's presidential forecast is based on the same model he used in 1996 when he forecast the exact percentage of the vote that President Clinton would win.

"The Congressional model is not as rock solid," Lewis-Beck cautioned, noting that it has a margin of error of +/- 11 seats. However, even accounting for the margin, the Democrats stand to gain at least 13 seats in the House of Representatives, giving them the majority.

Lewis-Beck and Charles Tien, a former UI graduate student who collaborates with him on election forecasting, have launched a Web site detailing the election 2000 forecast. The site, http://urban.hunter.cuny.edu/~ctien/, explains the mathematics behind the forecast and provides links to the external economic and polling sources Lewis-Beck and Tien rely on. Tien is an assistant professor of political science at Hunter College in New York.