Saturday, February 17, 2007

Someone Has to Win, Right?

There is a style of betting on sports which is based not so much on direct evaluation of the relative strengths of the participants, but on the history surrounding the game. In pro football, those in the know will avoid a warm weather or dome team when they head north in December. In the NBA playoffs, the team that wins one game is unlikely to cover the spread in the next. People who bet this way are called technical bettors and those edges are located in every sport. Let’s look at the Presidential races through the technical betting lens and see who is more likely to win based on history.

Democrats to bet against:

Hillary Clinton: No woman has ever been nominated for President by a major party.
Barack Obama: You know why.
John Edwards: No candidate who lost for Vice President the previous election has ever been elected President. Only one person who ever lost for VP was later elected President, and that was FDR, who lost in 1920 and was elected in 1932, 12 years and one Governorship later.
Bill Richardson: No person of color has ever been elected.
Joe Biden: No Democrat over the age of 60 has ever been elected President (not counting the two, Johnson and Truman, who were already President when they ran.)
Chris Dodd: Same as Biden.
Tom Vilsack: No one from Iowa has ever been nominated for President.

Republicans to bet against:

Rudy Giuliani: No one has ever gone directly from being a mayor to being President. Only two Presidents, Cleveland and Coolidge, were ever elected mayor, and they held other offices between that and the Presidency.
John McCain: No one over 70 has ever been elected President. No Republican Senator has been elected President since Harding in 1920.
Mitt Romney: No Mormon has ever been elected and neither has anyone named after a piece of baseball equipment..
Newt Gingrich: Only one Speaker of the House has ever been elected President – James K. Polk. Only two others, James G. Blaine and Henry Clay, got their party’s nomination.

Well, not a lot to look at when trying to find a technical bet. But there are a couple:

Democrats: Al Gore – The last sitting VP to lose the Presidency and then run again was Richard Nixon, who ran and won 8 years later. Like Gore, Nixon lost a tight election, and many historians believe that, like Gore, he won the popular vote.

Republicans: Mike Huckabee - Republicans like to nominate Governors and Arkansas Governors are undefeated in presidential elections – it’s only one, but things are desperate on the GOP side.


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