Why are Romney and Obama tied- The Genetics of Politics


It was with great satisfaction that I read "The genetics of politics" for it has finally answered something that has been puzzling me since 2000 Bush-Gore election. For years my statistical mind has struggled to explain the tendency for American presidential campaigns to be decided on such small margins. My naive expectation has been that with such divisive and fundamental issues separating two candidates, one would naturally end up with a substantial lead over the other. My working theory had been that voters waited until they entered a polling booth and then flipped a coin to make their decision - candidates then being determined by the relative weight of George Washington's nose (on one side) vs. an eagles wing (on the other) on either side of a quarter. If we accept the possibility of genetics playing a role in party affiliation, my coin flip theory was wrong only by timing. The virtual "flip" that results in statistical dead heats actually takes place years earlier in utero and is indeed random. My faith in statistics has been restored.

Bill Patton

Original Economist Article: http://www.economist.com/node/21564191?frsc=dg%7Ca

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