Where there are too many statistics and people with too much time on their hands, superstition seems to flourish. Sports fans are notorious – playoff beards, rally caps, and a host of bizarre rituals intended to give the chosen team the upper edge. Politicos are just as crazed, scouring spreadsheets for statistical correlations, coming up with anything from Bordeaux wine futures (a good year for Bordeaux is a good year for Democratic presidential candidates) to hemline lengths (longer hemlines seems to be a good sign for Republicans). But combine sports statistics with political fortune telling, and you get a whole new level of superstition.
In baseball, the San Francisco Giants, the National League team, beat the Detroit Tigers, the American League team, in this year’s World Series. When the National League team wins the World Series, the Democratic presidential candidate tends to win. Since 1948, that correlation has proven true 11 out of 16 times.
Football also seems to have a magical connection to the presidential race. When the Washington Redskins win their home game closest to the election, the incumbent party generally retains the White House. This correlation has been proven true 15 out the last 16 elections since 1948. Despite being favored to win, the Redskins lost to the Carolina Panthers last Sunday, 21 to 13. This would seem to indicate Obama’s in trouble.
The fates seem to be misaligned. Baseball fortunes say Obama should win, the football fates have cast in for Romney. With national polls extremely close, there seems little else to do than hurry up and wait for the results. How boring.
For a list of election indicators, see the latest edition of AEI’s Political Report.