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Reading the Tea Leaves:

To say that November?¢â??¬â??¢s presidential election is too close to call is an understatement. USA Today reports that six different indicators that have proven reliable in the past are predicting different outcomes.

A formula devised by a Yale economist, which takes into account several economic factors and has predicted the winner in 18 of the past 22 elections, including five of the last six, has Bush winning in a landslide akin to Reagan?¢â??¬â??¢s defeat of Mondale. However, Bush?¢â??¬â??¢s 47% approval rating is said to indicate vulnerability. Truman was the last incumbent to be re-elected with less than 50% approval. On the other hand, all five presidents who have run for re-election during major wars have won.

Then there are regional considerations. No Republican has won without carrying Ohio and Bush is even, at best, in that state. However, the last three Democrats in the White House have all been from the South, benefiting from being perceived as centrists.

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