Predicting the Prez by Pumpkins, Football

“[A Bush supporter] was buying a Gore mask, but said he wanted it to count as a Bush vote,” Majdoch says. “He said the only reason he was buying a Gore mask was that he wanted to go around scaring people.”

Gore looks equally scary in the pre-election physiology factor. He has an advantage in height, which some say has predicted past presidential winners. And he blinked less frequently during the debates, a measure of a sturdier emotional state, according to an analyst in "The Los Angeles Times."

The Redskins Factor

The latest oddball presidential indicator came to light during this past week’s Monday Night Football game.

It turns out the outcome of the Redskins’ last home game before the election has perfectly predicted the presidential race result in the last 15 elections. A win for the Redskins equals a win for the incumbent party. A win for the visiting team portends a win for the challenging party.

“In a city in which politics and football are the two biggest passions, it turns out that the Washington Redskins are a better predictor of who’s going to win the presidency than any [bellwether] state in modern times,” says Steve Hirdt, executive vice president of the Elias Sports Bureau and director of information on Monday Night Football.

“I’d love to ascribe it to something, but I was as astounded as anybody when I did the research and saw the results,” he says.

If the Redskins effect holds true, Bush will win on Election Day. The Tennessee Titans beat the Redskins 27-21. And, believe it or not, Al Gore was cheering on the Titans — his home-state team.

Is Gore crazy — to spit in the face of fate like that? Crazy cool, says his campaign.

“Some people would say fate is just another special interest,” says Cabrera, the Gore campaign spokesman. “As we’ve seen this election, Gore is not afraid to stand up to the special interests.”

Bush Holds Sporting Edge

Then again, some might say the fates have already spoken for Bush, as far as the sports indicators go: That’s because the Lakers won the NBA championship and the Yankees won baseball’s World Series.

The last four times the Lakers took the championship in presidential election years — in 1952, 1972, 1980 and 1988 — the Republican candidate took the presidency.

Conventional wisdom — supported by seven straight presidential elections from 1952 to 1976 — had been that an American League World Series champion such as the Yankees would forecast a Republican victory, and a National League champ would forecast a Democratic win. However, the World Series factor has been breaking down in recent years, predicting incorrect outcomes for the past three elections.

Bogus Bordeaux Factor

Other indicators also have fallen on hard times recently — such as the theories that rising hemlines and strong years for Bordeaux correspond to Democratic victory, and falling hemlines predict Republican victory.

Valerie Steele, chief curator and acting director of the Fashion Institute of Technology’s museum in New York City, says that contrary to legend, skirt lengths have had little correlation to the state of the economy or the outcome of recent presidential campaigns.

“It’s patently absurd that there’s any connection,” she says. “You might as well say it has to do with the length of men’s ties, but male commentators are obsessed with the length of women’s skirts.”

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