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MLB Hot Stove Apathy: The Real Secret Variable That (Almost) Predicted The Presidential Election

The "Redskins Rule" failed to pick the winner for second time in three presidential races, so it looks like everyone will have to pick a new random sports thing as their favorite election-prediction oracle. Instead of just choosing some random team's game, we decided to go to the sports site that really has its finger on the pulse of America: SportsNation. Surely, somewhere in its exhaustive polling, something must have harmonized with the mood of the voters.

Wouldn't you know? Check out this recent poll:


Set aside aside the irrelevant band of third-party true-believers who plan to follow the baseball offseason "Very Closely." If we attribute "A Little Here and There" to Obama and "Won't Be Following" to Romney, what we like to call the "God Again With The MLB And The Hot Stove" (GAWTMATHS) Index turns out to have correctly predicted 37 out of the 50 called states (including D.C.), good for an impressive 74 percent. This means that if the GAWTMATHS Index and Nate Silver were both taking a class on predicting which states would vote for who, both would have passed, and GAWTMATHS definitely wouldn't have had to work as hard.

Unfortunately GAWTMATHS got the election overall incorrect, as its state-by-state predictions would have produced a Romney victory in the electoral college.

But this is hardly the only predictive system to have gone 0-1. We would like to stress to the statistically-minded of you that this is just one data point, which is not a fair test of the effectiveness of a model. We have high expectations for the GAWTMATHS Index moving forward, and we will be submitting for publication in Political Research Quarterly in the upcoming months.

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