You’ve probably heard of the Washington Football Team rule before. It states that:
If the Redskins win their last home game before the election, the party that won the previous election wins the next election and that if the Redskins lose, the challenging party’s candidate wins.
This has held true in 17 of the last 19 elections. However, it’s only 1 for 3 in the last three elections. Not a great track record.
From 1948 through 2008, if:
1. The Phillies win less than 92.
2. The Indians win less than 97 games.
3. The Red Sox win at least 75 games.
The Republican candidate has won the election every single time. However, this method predicted that Romney would win in 2012, which did not end up happening.
So what does this say about the presidency this year?
The Phillies are currently sitting at 65 wins with only 16 left to play, the Indians are at 84 wins with 15 left to play, and the Rod Sox are already at 81 wins. Check, almost surely check, and check.
The only chance the Clinton now has to win the election is to pray that Cleveland goes 13-2 or better in their remaining 15 games. This is doubly odd as Cleveland, host city of the 2016 Republican National Convention, is once again at the center of the political world.
With the new findings Trump and his team are allegedly concerned that the Clinton campaign will be fixing Cleveland Indians games from now until the end of the season in spite of the fact that no evidence of game tampering has been found since 1919. Nevertheless, Trump’s team has encouraged his supporters to attend Cleveland games and watch diligently to make sure there is no fraud happening. Further, Republican lawmakers are encouraging baseball’s commissioner, Rob Manfred, and the front office of the Cleveland Indians to institute stricter ticketing policies. These lawmakers want to prevent fans from attending games unless they have their ticket and at least two forms of government ID to present at the time of entrance to the stadium. They argue this it to prevent fans from attending both halves of a double header with only one ticket. Democratic lawmakers believe this is just a thinly veiled attempt to certain demographics of fans from attending games.
Key: Team -Median Record (Mean Wins)
New England: 12-4 (11.562)
Buffalo: 7-9 (7.388)
NY Jets: 7-9 (7.068)
Miami: 6-10 (6.243)
Cincinnati: 10-6 (10.348)
Pittsburgh: 10-6 (10.249)
Baltimore: 9-7 (8.666)
Cleveland: 5-11 (4.557)
Houston: 8-8 (8.399)
Indianapolis: 8-8 (7.962)
Tennessee: 5-11 (4.621)
Jacksonville: 4-12 (3.666)
Denver: 12-4 (12.228)
Kansas City: 10-6 (10.127)
Oakland: 5-11 (5.107)
San Diego: 8-8 (8.212)
Dallas: 8-8 (8.036)
Philadelphia: 8-8 (7.549)
NY Giants: 7-9 (6.913)
Washington: 5-11 (5.347)
Green Bay: 13-3 (12.476)
Detroit: 9-7 (8.978)
Minnesota: 9-7 (8.542)
Chicago: 7-9 (7.042)
Carolina: 11-5 (10.757)
New Orleans: 8-8 (8.295)
Atlanta: 6-10 (6.510)
Tampa Bay: 4-12 (4.386)
Seattle: 13-3 (13.386)
Arizona: 9-7 (9.089)
San Francisco: 7-9 (6.724)
Los Angeles (nee St. Louis): 6-10 (5.567)
- New England
- Kansas City
- Green Bay
Wild Card Games
Kansas City (6) beats Cincinnati (3)
Pittsburgh (5) beats Houston(4)
(3) Carolina beats (6) Detroit
(5) Arizona beats (4) Dallas
(1) Denver beats (6) Kansas City
(2) New England beats (5) Pittsburgh
(1) Seattle beats (5) Arizona
(3) Carolina beats (2) Green Bay
(1) Denver beats (2) New England
(1) Seattle beats (3) Carolina
(1) Seattle beats (1) Denver
One of my colleagues, Tim O’Brien, showed a slide in the first week of his classes describing how he first found out about R:
Here is that email from 1996 (TWENTY years ago!!!) where Tim asked Ross Ihaka how to get R, and Ross helped him out. #amazing #history
There is a general election happening right now and the NFL season is starting. Let’s talk about the candidates chances in terms of NFL games.
At the The Upshot they track 8 different presidential forecasts, 5 of which give actual percentages. Currently (at 11:07am on September 2nd) Clinton’s win probabilities range from a high of 94% based on the Princeton Election Consortium’s forecast to a low of 74% for FiveThirtyEight and DailyKos. (PredictWise has it at 77% and the New York Times has it at 87%).
Let’s put these probabilities in context using Pro Football Reference’s NFL win probability calculator:
Let’s start by looking at the worst case scenario for Trump: 6% chance to win. (Unless otherwise noted, I’m assuming the spread is 0.)
- 5.9%: A 21 point underdog wins the game outright.
- 5.8%: Your team is down 15 at halftime.
- 5.97%: Your team has the ball and is trailing by 7 with 2 minutes left with 1st and 10 from your own 3 yard line.
- 6.09%: Your team has the ball and is trailing by 3 with 10 seconds left with 1st and 10 from your own 10 yard line.
Now let’s look at Trump’s best case scenario for Trump: 26%
- 26.4%: An 8.5 point underdog wins the game outright.
- 26.4%: Your team is down 6 at halftime.
- 26.28%: Your team has the ball and is trailing by 7 with 2 minutes left with 1st and 10 from your opponents 13 yard line.
- 25.37%: Your has the ball and is trailing by 3 with 10 seconds left with 1st and 10 from your opponents 40 yard line.
In Clinton’s best case scenario, she has 94% chance to win the election.
- 93.78%: Your team has the ball and is up by 4 with 2 minutes left with 1st and 10 from your own 20 yard line.
- 94.2%: Your team is up 15 at halftime.
- 94.1%: A 21 point favorite wins the game outright.
In Clinton’s worst case scenario, she has 74% chance to win the election.
- 74.83%: Your team has the ball and is up by 3 with 4 minutes left with 1st and 10 from your own 20 yard line.
- 73.6%: Your team is up 6 at halftime.
- 73.6%: An 8.5 point favorite wins the game outright.
So Clinton’s chances of winning right now are comparable to a team that is somewhere between an 8.5 and 21 point favorite. Or a team that is up somewhere between 6 and 15 points at half time.
Sort of unrelated fun fact that I found when looking up Super Bowl spreads: That last three teams to be favored by more than 10 have all lost outright (2008 New England (-12), 2002 St. Louis (-14), 1998 Green Bay (-11)).
Based on @predictit state electoral college markets, Clinton has about a 94.1% chance to win in November compared to a 5.6% chance for Trump (with a 0.3% chance of a tie). Details of how I estimated these probabilities are here and the code is on github here.
Overall in the past week, there has been a small shift towards Trump. Clinton hit a high of about 96.8% on August 18 and is down a few percentage points today to about 94.1% This has been pretty steady since around August 9th when clinton jumped to over 90% and she’s been above that ever since. This is good news for Clinton who, as recently as August 1st was in the low 80’s percentage wise to win the electoral college. It will be interesting to see if Trump can make any sort of comeback at all or if Clinton will hold steady in the 93-97% range up until the election.
I’ve also looked at state polling information based on the Huffington Post’s collection of polls. (You can get my scraping and plot building code here.) You can see a few new states have been added since the last time including West Virginia and Massachusetts. Not surprisingly, these are deep red and deep blue, respectively. States with no polling data in the Huffington Post data set will not appear in this graph. What I still find fascinating about this plot is how well third party candidates are doing in a few states. States like Idaho, Utah, Texas, and Delaware seem very receptive to the idea of voting for a third party candidate like Gary Johnson. It will be interesting to see if Johnson can somehow win a state like Idaho or Utah, which both have large Mormon populations and loathe both major candidates.
I’ve also put together a plot of national polling over time. The top plot here follows the race from September 2015 to present whereas the bottom plot focuses on May 1, 2016 – present. I’ve also indicated when some key events took place like debates, Super Tuesday, when each candidate got the clinching number of delegates, and their primaries.
You can see that before about May of this year, polling between Trump and Clinton was fairly sparse as they were still battling in their respective primaries. After that though more Clinton vs Trump polls were taken and the margin of error for these polls drops considerably. Both candidates continue to increase their polling numbers, but the gap between Clinton and Trump has been a pretty consistent 3-5% since right after the Democratic National Convention.
Finally, I made GIFs! Here are the state polls over time.
And here is the electoral college distribution over time.