The Labor Department has produced a report predicting that President Bush will win reelection on Tuesday.
This extraordinary example of your tax dollars at work was produced on Oct. 22 by the department's Employment and Training Administration. The report, a weekly installment of the "Briefing on Economic & Labor Market Conditions" prepared for assistant secretary Emily Stover DeRocco, a political appointee, begins with a brief review of economic statistics. Then it gets down to business with a four-page section titled: "In Focus: Predicting the Election Outcome."
The prediction? (Drum roll, please.) A smashing victory for Bush.
Surveying various economic prediction models, the report concludes that "the models look much better for the president than the polls do, which indicate that the race is neck-in-neck. Nearly every single model has him winning." It noted two models predicting Bush would get 57.5 percent and 55.7 percent of the vote.
There is also an intriguing discussion of election prediction models based on job growth. "[I]t would seem logical that this model would show poor results for the present administration. But it doesn't. President Bush is still predicted to receive 51.2 percent of the vote," the report found.
The report found unwelcome news for Bush in the stock market, noting that "in nine of the 10 cases when the Dow has dropped, the incumbent lost. Unless the Dow gains 500+ points in the next week, it will have lost ground during this pivotal period." But the report found "consolation for the president" in noting that one exception occurred during the Vietnam War. And it even checked in with futures markets and oddsmakers, who list Bush as a 2:1 favorite.
Asked about this Employment and Training Administration report, the Labor Department was contrite.
"This appears to be an internal ETA document prepared by mid-level ETA staff," spokesman Ed Frank said. "Clearly, this kind of armchair political analysis doesn't belong in government memos, even if they are entirely internal."