Did you know that there is something called, “The Commission on Presidential Debates”? Did you also know that this Commission determines which Presidential candidates get to debate each other before the general election. More over, the Commission on Presidential Debates has a criterion that has excluded third party candidates from the debates since Ross Perot was invited in 1992. In order to be invited to a Presidential debate, a candidate must have a composite average of 15% of popular support from nationally administered polls. One problem with the requirement is that most national polling companies do not include any third party candidates as a choice in their polls. Another problem is how subjective the 15% requirement is. Why not 5% as a requirement? How about 1%? What about ballot access requirements as a criterion? If you are not included in a poll as a choice, then how can a candidate receive any show of public support, let alone 15%?
Being a political scientist and a sports fan, I thought it would be interesting to see if there were any political trends as to predicting a winner in the Super Bowl. For the purposes of this post, I thought I would look at the years when the United States Senate has changed hands (i.e. shift in party majority) and did that correlate to a winner in the following Super Bowl. Here’s what I found:
1980: Republicans win Senate; 1981: Oakland (AFC) defeats Philadelphia (NFC)
1986: Democrats win Senate; 1987: New York Giants (NFC) defeats Denver (AFC)
1994: Republicans win Senate; 1995: San Francisco (NFC) defeats San Diego (AFC)
2006: Democrats win Senate; 2007: Indianapolis (AFC) defeats Chicago (NFC)
2014: Republicans win Senate; 2015: ?
I hoped to find a clear correlation between the party winning the Senate and the conference winning the Super Bowl. That I did not find. However, what I do see is that when the Republicans win back the Senate, the team from the West wins the Super Bowl, while the team from east of Mississippi wins the big game when the Democrats win back the Senate in the previous year. So, in all fun and games, let’s just say that Seattle will win the Super Bowl.
Take a look at the chart below from the Gallup organization. According to Gallup, the results were based on “telephone interviews conducted January-December, 2012, with a random sample of 20,800 adults, aged 18 and older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia.” The margin of error was +/- 1%.
When we “spin”, we usually embellish facts to suit our own goals and outcomes. What could you say about Independent voters when you spin the numbers? About Republican voters? About Democratic voters? Remember, “spin” can be positive or negative.
The United States is a two-party country. This means that one of two parties typically wins an election. Those two parties are the Democrats and Republicans. However, before there were Democrats and Republicans, the country had a two-party system involving Federalists and Democratic-Republicans. The Federalists disappeared by the 1820s and the Democratic-Republicans would later become the Democratic Party. They soon faced an adversary for a short in the 1830s-1850s in the Whig Party. The Whigs slowly faded away and factions from their party formed what we know as the Republican Party. Third parties consistently find little success in elections at the national, state, and local levels.
Why did you choose the answer that you did in the poll?