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The Keys to the White House Textbook Binding

ISBN-13: 978-0739101797 ISBN-10: 073910179X

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Product Details

  • Textbook Binding: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Lexington Books (July 5, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 073910179X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0739101797
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 5.9 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,906,548 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


For generations, politicians, pundits, and poll-takers have been seeking their version of the Holy Grail--a surefire, guaranteed way to predict presidential elections well ahead of time. It may have been found in this book. (David Broder)

This is a must book for political junkies who want to answer one important question about any campaign: Who's going to win? (Baltimore Sun)

Of the hundreds of books written about presidential elections, one of the best is Allan J. Lichtman's The Keys to the White House. (Roll Call)

If you're into American presidential politics, The Keys to the White House is a must, and fun, read. (Toronto Sun)

Do me a favor. Don't read this book. Because if you do, it could put all of us pundits and political consultants out of business. Allan Lichtman has some nerve, revealing our trade secrets to the great unwashed public. Including the biggest secret of all, which is that the presidential vote is simple, rational, and highly predictable. (Schneider, William)

About the Author

Allan J. Lichtman is Professor of History and Chair of the Department of History at American University.

More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, read author blogs, and more.

Customer Reviews

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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Doug Samuelson on February 1, 2004
Format: Textbook Binding
The casual reader might not realize it, but this book is a significant piece of social science. Lichtman and Soviet seismologist (!) Volodia Keilis-Borok threw about 300 variables into a computer and let it find the ones that differentiate between popular-vote winners and losers in every Presidential election from 1860 through 1980. (For those few who would know and care, they used what is known in the English-language literature as kernel discriminant function analysis.) The model produced correct calls in the elections since. This is remarkable. 1988 and 1992 were not easy, as the polls changed dramatically during the campaigns. In 2000, only two sources called Gore's popular-vote win: the last Zogby poll before the election, and the 13 Keys nearly a year in advance! Many political scientists, pundits, and commentators are unhappy with this model, since it implies that much of the ideology, campaign strategy and tactics, image polishing, etc. they care so much about don't really affect the outcome: it's about governance, not campaigning. Ignore their howls of protest. The model works, and Lichtman has explained it well, in easily readable style.
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13 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Tim Stout on April 5, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Is it possible to have a system of predicting the election of a president, months or even years before Election Day? According to one political historian, yes, there is a way. In fact, it's a "guaranteed" prediction. Historian Allan J. Lichtman has devised a system of thirteen keys that predicts the outcome of elections. The Keys consider such things as the economy, social unrest, scandal, candidate charisma, etc. Since 1981, his forecasting system has never been wrong and, when applied retroactively, they correctly pick every presidential election since the Civil War. Lichtman's book, The Keys to the White House -- 1996 is an important historical/political work. Rather than an over reliance on economic theory, which basically says that if the economy is strong the incumbent wins reelection, Lichtman's keys are historically based, not based solely on the economy or on polls or campaign strategy. The turning of a key is based on historical precedent from past elections. Readers interested in presidential election theory will find Lichtman's book fascinating. According to the book, if the incumbent holds 8 of the 13 keys they will win, regardless of what polls or pundits say. In fact, Lichtman is basically saying that campaigns don't really matter, it's what happens before the campaign that counts. Readers looking for other works related to this topic should read Forecasting Elections by Michael Lewis Beck and Tom Rice or Forecasting Presidential Elections by Steven Rosenstone. The Keys is a must read for anyone interested in political history. Are you trying to predict who will win in 2000? - the Keys will tell you. Only time will tell whether The Keys to the White House is a surefire guide to predicting the next president, but so far, they have a perfect record.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Dan Hartung on August 28, 2000
Format: Textbook Binding
Lichtman provides, with the Keys to the White House forecasting system, a novel approach to the obscure academic exercise of predicting presidential elections. Ignoring the polls, working sometimes years in advance, it's possible to determine whether the party in the White House will hold or lose it in the coming election. Lichtman achieves this by developing his theory of governance into a set of thirteen "keys" or key factors that will determine the upcoming contest. From the ease of the governing party's primary campaign, to the pulse of the economy, to the foreign policy failures and successes, he applies an historian's eye to current events and lines up the keys. While the system is certainly open to debate, particularly on some of the more subjective keys, the more important point is what it tells us about how and why we choose our presidents. Some of the answers that the keys suggest are surprising. Certainly, the theory of governance diminishes the importance of the media blitz, the opinion poll, and the rough and tumble of everyday politics -- and some political junkies may not like that. But the message of performance is intriguing and should offer new insights to even the most jaded policy wonk.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Errol M. Brouchoud on October 10, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A very good 'guide' to predicting the potential outcome of the 2012 election...The author has been 100% accurate for all pres elections since 1980!!!!
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