Saturday, March 17, 2012

Politics is Everywhere, Even in the Brackets

. Saturday, March 17, 2012

Brad Smith, a UNC undergrad who is currently making his mind up about IR grad schools, writes:

Stated explicitly, the question I hope to answer here is: "Does Obama systematically favor teams from "swing states" when filling out his NCAA bracket?" My theory is that Obama does, indeed favor teams from swing states because, by doing so, he only stands to gain. As long as his predictions are not absolutely outrageous, Obama can favor a battleground state's team over the team of a state that he either expects to win outright or expects to have no chance in in order to curry favor with that state's voters. This might seem like a silly political move at first, but if you think this wouldn't make a difference in the way people might vote, you've never met someone from rural North Carolina. On a more serious note, it makes an intuitive sort of sense that during an election year a presidential candidate should waste no opportunity to squeeze out a little more favor from voters in strategically valuable states. I think that's exactly what Obama's doing here, which leads me to my hypothesis:
Hypothesis: Obama will predict more wins for teams from swing states than the "average" individual who fills out an NCAA bracket.
He has a little toy stats model and (surprise!) finds some basic support for the hypothesis.

My bracket got screwed by Mizzou and -- to a lesser extent -- Duke, but I'm totally fine with the latter.


Politics is Everywhere, Even in the Brackets
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