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Will pocketbook issues pick the next president?

Posted on May 19, 2004

You may be able to forget staying up into the wee hours of the morning to hear who will be the next U.S. president. Hanging chads and voter mishaps aside, a Michigan economist says he knows the factors that play into who will be sitting in the White House in January. He predicted the close Bush-Gore 2000 contest to within 1 percent.

What do Democrats, Republicans, Independents and the apolitical have in common? Money concerns. Economist Patrick Anderson, founder of the consulting firm Anderson Economic Group LLC of Lansing, says paycheck issues may have a greater impact than political affiliation on the electoral battle between President George W. Bush and Sen. John Kerry.

Grand Valley State University's Hauenstein Center for Presidential Studies and Seidman School of Business Alumni Association are jointly sponsoring Andersons visit to Grand Rapids for a breakfast speech on June 15.

Anderson will discuss how almost all past elections have been correctly predicted by certain economic and institutional factors, and especially by the "rational voter" economic model. This model, designed by Anderson and fellow economist Ilhan K. Geckil, explains more than 90 percent of the variation of the popular vote in presidential elections since 1916.

"Patrick Anderson knows that politics and economics are a flammable mix," said Gleaves Whitney, director of the Hauenstein Center for Presidential Studies at Grand Valley. "But he can look beyond the volatility of public opinion and predict the winner of presidential elections with remarkable accuracy. Given this year's nasty race between President Bush and Sen. Kerry, I can hardly wait to hear his prediction."

In addition to being the founder and principal of Anderson Economic Group LLC, Anderson is former chief of staff of the Michigan Department of State. He will use his model to predict the results of the 2004 election. In addition, he will provide insights into how Michigan voters have viewed recent presidential elections.

The breakfast event is Tuesday, June 15, 2004 at 7:30 a.m., with the presentation beginning at 8 a.m. It will be in the Hager Lubbers Exhibition Hall of Grand Valley's Pew Grand Rapids Campus, 401 W. Fulton St. Parking is available in the Watson and Front Lots (corner of Winter and Watson streets). THE EVENT IS OPEN TO MEDIA COVERAGE.

The breakfast is open to the public, but reservations are required. To RSVP, call (616) 331-7100 or e-mail by June 8, 2004.

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