Can Superstition Predict Presidential Elections?

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Election 2012 map showing swing states (270ToWin)

So many dollars, so many votes, so much punditry. But does any of it really matter?  It all just comes down to luck, anyway. You can have your polling, Nate Silver. And you can stuff your siren, Matt Drudge, because politicians and operatives know that it really takes a lucky charm.

For example, Obama’s speechwriters growing playoff beards, President McKinley wore a red carnation for good luck, Franklin Roosevelt refused to travel on the 13th of the month, and President Reagan often consulted an astronomer.

But records were made to be broken. There’s a great cartoon on web comic xkcd detailing exactly when grand electoral theories were debunked. 

For example, no Democrat had ever won without Missouri, until Barack Obama did in 2008. The Pundits also used to say that nobody who was Catholic, Quaker, or divorced could win. That is until Kennedy, Nixon, and Reagan won.

Also, if anyone had been paying attention, they would have noticed that no one had ever been elected president before 1788. Good thing George Washington was not superstitious

Yet that won’t stop members of the Obama and Romney campaigns from rubbing those rabbit feet, or avoiding cracks in the sidewalk. After all, there are still superstitions that will live on past this year like the fact that no Presidential candidate whose first name includes a “K” has ever lost.

 Jacopo Della Quercia, a contributor, discusses election superstition.


Jacopo Della Quercia

Produced by:

Jacob Gash and Brad Mielke

Comments [1]

Larry Fisher from Brooklyn, N.Y.

At least we don't have to deal with Curse of Tippecanoe this year...That's the curse that every President who gets elected in the years ending in 0 die in Office or attempts on their life happen... This since 1840.

I'm surprised there's no little animal that does some magical thing like see his shadow or some such thing which would reveal who the President is. I will look into that

Nov. 06 2012 01:19 PM

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