11 Points

11 Strangest Methods to Predict Presidential Elections - 2012 Edition
written by Sam Greenspan

Four years ago, when 11 Points was still in its nascent stages, I wrote a list of the 11 Strangest Methods to Predict Presidential Elections. And those methods accurately predicted the 2008 Obama victory, 6-4-1.

I thought it would be good to bust out those methods (with the crappiest one replaced) for tomorrow's presidential election as well. Let's see who the universe is randomly pulling for this time around...

  1. The Redskins got mauled... is that the end of Obama?
    Washington Redskins. On November 1st, 1936, the (then-Boston) Redskins beat the Chicago Cardinals 13-10. Two days later, FDR was reelected. And that was the first occurrence in a long streak connecting Redskins wins and losses to presidential elections. If the Redskins win their final home game before an election, the incumbent party wins. If the Redskins lose their final home game before an election, the incumbent party loses.

    Since 1936, the ONLY time this hasn't come true is 2004, when the Redskins lost at home and George W. Bush was reelected. It came true for President Obama in 2008 when the Steelers beat the Redskins and knocked the Republicans out of office.

    Yesterday afternoon, the Redskins got Carolina at home. The Redskins were three-point favorites... and lost 21-13. Someone check Cam Newton's family members' bank accounts.

    Prediction: Romney.

  2. 7-Eleven cups. Through October and early November, 7-Eleven sells Democrat coffee cups and Republican coffee cups. The cups have accurately predicted the last three elections. That's not exactly a whopping history of success but, ya know, Obama didn't have a whopping history of success either and everyone bought into him.

    Last election, Obama cups outsold John McCain cups 60 percent to 40 percent. This year, as of when I'm typing this, Obama was beating Romney 59 percent to 41 percent.

    Prediction: Obama.

  3. Romney is taller by a margin of one hairdryer session.
    Height. We want to elect someone as president who wouldn't have to lie on their Match.com profile about their height. (We're fine with them lying about policy.)

    Since 1900, taller candidates have only lost to shorter candidates eight times. In 2008, 6-foot-1 Obama metaphorically took 5-foot-6 McCain down to the low block and scored over him easily. This year, it's very different -- Romney is 6-foot-2. Also, he's originally from Detroit, which means he's got a little Laimbeer grime in him.

    Prediction: Romney.

  4. Halloween masks. Since 1980, the candidate whose Halloween mask sold better has won every single presidential election. I guess when I dressed up as Michael Dukakis in fourth grade it didn't do enough to help his cause.

    According to reports, Spirit Halloween Stores (company motto: "Yes, A Blockbuster Used To Be Here") reported that Obama masks outsold Romney masks 60 percent to 40 percent.

    Prediction: Obama.

  5. Last name length. Yeah, this one is somehow even dumber than all of the other ones. Since 1900, candidates with longer last names are 15-8. (There have been three elections where the candidates had the same last name length. Including Bush-Gore, both of whom had last names just BEGGING to get trounced by someone else.) This method is currently on a one-game losing streak; in 2008, five-letter Obama beat six-letter McCain.

    And this year, Romney's six-letter last name beats Obama's five-letter last name. Although when his Kenyan birth certificate comes out one day and shows his last name is actually 47 letters long we'll have to revisit this.

    Prediction: Romney.

  6. First Lady cookie recipes. In 1992, Family Circle magazine started setting women back 50 years publishing cookie recipes from each of the potential first ladies. Readers vote on which recipe is better. And until 2008, the woman with the winning recipe also had the winning husband. In 2008, Cindy McCain's butterscotch cookies beat Michelle Obama's shortbread cookies and ruined the Family Circle streak.

    This year, Michelle wisely decided against submitting some kind of horrific carob chips-and-quinoa cookie recipe and sent in a recipe for white and dark chocolate chip cookies. Ann Romney sent in a recipe for M&M's cookies. After more than 9,400 votes were cast, Michelle beat Ann by just 287.

    Prediction: Obama.

  7. Will this photo haunt Mitt Romney for the rest of his life?
    Golden Globe and Academy Award Best Picture. (This replaces my 2008 method of "female eyebrow thickness" which is just too hard to accurately gauge. And on this list, that's sayin' something.)

    In election years since 1960, when the same movie has won both the Golden Globe for Best Motion Picture - Drama AND the Oscar for Best Picture, a Republican has won. When different movies have won those two awards, Democrats have won.

    There's only one exception: In 1976, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest won both, but Gerald Ford lost.

    (Note: The CNN blog that popularized this theory went back to 1956, not 1960. But this theory actually flopped in 1956, because Eisenhower won despite different movies winning the awards. It appears they decided to start in 1956 anyway because they wanted to tell a so-so anecdote about John Steinbeck. I do not want to tell any anecdotes about John Steinbeck, so-so or otherwise. So I'm starting in 1960.)

    This year, The Descendants won the Golden Globe and... deep, disapproving breath... The Artist won the Oscar.

    Prediction: Obama.

  8. Whatever punk kids think. Kids are frontrunners. That's why I have friends who grew up nowhere near New York, Chicago, Dallas or Denver who are Yankees, Bulls, Cowboys and Broncos fans, respectively. (And yet none is carpetbagging as a Mets, Blackhawks, Felons or Nuggets fan.) But that frontrunning gives kids a good insight into presidential races: They won't overthink things and will just pick whomever has more word-of-mouth momentum.

    Anyway, there are a few kid polls on the president. The one I'm citing here is the Scholastic News poll. They've surveyed school-age kids since 1940 and kids have accurately picked the president in every election except two. (In 1948, they picked Dewey over Truman; in 1960 they picked Nixon over Kennedy. If only Truman had held one of these kids over his head instead of that newspaper.)

    In 2008, kids picked Obama over McCain, 57 percent to 39 percent (the other four percent went for things like "Me" or "School sucks"). This year the margin tightened up... but Obama still won. It was 51 percent to 45 percent; again, four percent went a different direction.

    Prediction: Obama.

  9. I adore the person who started Photoshopping hair swaps.
    Hair. Ever since presidential elections moved onto television, the candidate with the better hair has almost always won. In 2008, I gave the edge to Obama's tightly-cropped hair over McCain's old man combover.

    But four years in office have not been kind to Obama. (Check out my list of 11 systems to calculate your age to see just how much being the president ages you. Or him.)

    Obama's hair is now 50 shades of gray and not the sexy spanking kind, more the "Man, he sure looks a lot older/worse" kind. Meanwhile Romney had that Jack Donaghy hair of a lion.

    Prediction: Romney.

  10. Los Angeles Lakers. The Los Angeles Lakers have played in the NBA Finals in nine election years. They won the title five of those times, lost it four times -- but regardless of how they performed, their mere presence in the Finals foretold a Republican victory.

    In 2008, McCain was the first Republican to lose in a year when the Lakers made the NBA Finals, sending this method's record to 8-1.

    This past June, the Lakers did NOT make the NBA Finals. Oklahoma City made it out of the West. So while it's a syllogism to say that means the Democrats will win the election, we're not exactly dealing with strict scientific method here.

    Prediction: Obama.

  11. Sylvia Browne. Sylvia Bronwe is a famous psychic... and a really bad psychic. Her predictions are almost always wrong. So, for this method, I go with the opposite of what she sees in her tea leaves or crystal ball or random number generator.

    I found an article from earlier this year where she predicted Obama would NOT be reelected. Therefore...

    Prediction: Obama.

So that's seven for Obama and four for Romney. The universe is even more in the tank for Obama than it was in 2008 when EVERYONE was in the tank for Obama. Could the universe be a member of the Liberal Media? Discuss.

This post was originally published on Monday, November 5, 2012 at 11:00:00 AM under the category News & Politics.

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