Moody’s Analytics has officially predicted that Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton will be the next president of the United States.
The Moody’s election forecast, which has accurately predicted each and every U.S. election since 1980, projects a comfortable total of 332 Electoral College votes for Clinton.
The 332 electoral votes for Clinton would be equal to the number President Barack Obama received in 2012 when he trounced Republican Mitt Romney by 332 electoral votes to 206.
Moody’s released its final forecast on Monday.
The Moody’s Analytics model is essentially determinist. It doesn’t take into account the popularity — or unpopularity — of the candidates. Instead, the model relies exclusively on an analysis of a set of current economic and political conditions.
In a nutshell, if that set of economic and political conditions is pretty good across the country, Moody’s will predict victory for the presidential candidate representing the incumbent party. If that set of conditions is pretty bad, Moody’s will predict victory for the non-incumbent party’s candidate.
For 2016, Moody’s says, the economic and political numbers favor Clinton. Gas prices — a number Moody’s analysis weighs heavily — are notably low nationwide, for example.
Other factors the Moody’s model includes are housing prices, real personal income per household, the historic leanings of voters in each state and “voter fatigue” — the penchant for America’s voters to kick the incumbent party out of the White House every once in a while.
Also, Obama is leaving office with a national approval rating that is above 50 percent and rising.
Moody’s boasts that its model has accurately predicted the last nine presidential elections, including the 1980 election pitting incumbent Democrat Jimmy Carter against Republican Ronald Reagan.
In August 2015, before the candidates for the 2016 election were anywhere near finalized, the same Moody’s model predicted “that the Democratic nominee for president will win the election by the slimmest of margins with precisely 270 electoral votes.”
Naturally, Moody’s has hedged its bets a bit in its final projection, which is decidedly more favorable for Clinton.
“Given the unusual nature of the 2016 election cycle to date, it is very possible that voters will react to changing economic and political conditions differently than they have in past election cycles, placing some risk in the model outcome, particularly state-by-state projections,” Moody’s Analytics economist Dan White explained, according to Reuters.
The Moody’s forecast came out after a weekend of bad news for Clinton and buoyed hopes for Donald Trump, her Republican opponent.
Reuters notes that its own Reuters-Ipsos States of the Nation poll has projected a 95 percent probability that Clinton will win at least 278 electoral votes.
A candidate must win a minimum of 270 electoral votes to be elected president.