Helmut Norpoth

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Helmut Norpoth
Born1943 (age 76–77)
Alma materUniversity of Michigan
Known forPredicting election results
Scientific career
FieldsPolitical science
InstitutionsStony Brook University
ThesisSources of party cohesion in the U.S. House of Representatives (1974)

Helmut Norpoth (born 1943) is an American political scientist and professor of political science at Stony Brook University. Norpoth is best known for developing the Primary Model to predict US presidential elections.[1]

Education and career[edit]

Norpoth received his undergraduate degree from the Free University of Berlin in Germany in 1966. He then attended the University of Michigan, where he received his M.A. and Ph.D. in 1967 and 1974, respectively. Before joining Stony Brook University as an assistant professor in 1979, he taught at the University of Arizona (visiting lecturer in the Political Science Department in 1978), the University of Cologne, and the University of Texas. In 1980, he was promoted to associate professor at Stony Brook University, and became a tenured full professor there in 1985.[2]


Norpoth's research focuses on multiple subjects in political science, including public opinion and electoral behavior, and predicting the results of elections in the United States, Great Britain, and Germany.[3][4]

"Primary Model" for US presidential elections[edit]

Norpoth developed[5] the Primary Model, a statistical model of United States presidential elections based on data going back to 1912. The Primary Model is based on two factors: whether the party that has been in power for a long time seems to be about to lose it, and whether a given candidate did better in the primaries than his or her opponent. The model was first used in the 1996 election.[6] In February 2015, he projected that Republicans had a 65 percent chance of winning the general election the following year.[7] In 2016, this model gained significant media attention because it predicted that Donald Trump would win the general election.[8] In response to critics who cited polls in which Clinton led Trump by a significant margin, Norpoth said that these polls were not taking into account who will actually vote in November, writing, "…nearly all of us say, oh yes, I'll vote, and then many will not follow through."[9] On March 2, 2020, Norpoth stated that his model gave Trump a 91% chance at winning re-election.[10]


  1. ^ "Trump has 91% chance of winning second term, professor's model predicts". The Independent. 2020-07-08. Retrieved 2020-07-12.
  2. ^ "Helmut Norpoth Curriculum Vitae". Stony Brook University. Retrieved 28 October 2016.
  3. ^ "Author". Primary model. Retrieved 28 October 2016.
  4. ^ "Helmut Norpoth". Experts. Stony Brook University. Retrieved 28 October 2016.
  5. ^ "Helmut Norpoth". Stony Brook Experts. Retrieved 2020-08-27.
  6. ^ Collins, Ben (27 October 2016). "Meet the Professor Whose 'Primary Model' Says Trump Has 87% Chance to Win". The Daily Beast. Retrieved 28 October 2016.
  7. ^ Roarty, Alex (13 February 2015). "Why Hillary Clinton Isn't the Favorite After All". The Atlantic. Retrieved 28 October 2016.
  8. ^ Mortimer, Caroline (27 October 2016). "Donald Trump will win, claims man who correctly predicted almost every US presidential election". The Independent. Retrieved 28 October 2016.
  9. ^ Tampone, Kevin (19 October 2016). "SUNY professor says Trump win at least 87 percent certain; other polls 'bunk'". Syracuse. Retrieved 28 October 2016.
  10. ^ Harper, Jennifer (5 July 2020). "Professor: Trump has 91% chance to win". The Washington Times. Retrieved 2020-07-12.

External links[edit]