- The Washington Times - Thursday, November 1, 2012

The campaigns only wish they could trademark the word “change,” which technically functions as both noun and verb. President Obama and Mitt Romney are duking it out over who’s got the biggest “change” in the nation as Election Day looms, now some 96 hours away.

Mr. Romney says: “I don’t just talk about change. I actually have a plan to execute change and to make it happen.”

Mr. Obama says: “We know what change looks like. And what the governor’s offering sure ain’t change.”

And Mark Twain once said: “Politicians and diapers must be changed often, and for the same reason.”

VOX POPULI

Just so you know: According to an exacting analysis of social media, Mitt Romney will be victorious over President Obama on Tuesday by 52.1 percent to 47.9 percent, a margin of 4.2 percent in the popular vote. So says the Global Language Monitor, which used “narrative tracking technology” of some 2.2 million blogs and social media sites to gauge what the public actually said about the candidates, from Aug. 31 through Thursday.

“This is a prediction. It’s neither a poll, nor a statistical analysis. There is no margin of error. Our analysis includes data from the preceding 90 days incorporating long-, medium-, and short-term movements that polls cannot capture,” explains Paul JJ Payack, president of the Texas-based research group. “The narrative of the people is the true vox populi and it continually manifests itself through social media.”

THE REDSKINS FACTOR

If the Washington Redskins win their game against the Carolina Panthers on Sunday, then President Obama will win the election. That is the learned opinion of one Steve Hirdt, an Elias Sports Bureau executive who developed his intriguing “Redskin Rule” upon discovering a correlation between the team’s results and presidential election results 12 years ago.

“I was shocked to see it lined up exactly right, that whenever the Redskins won their last home game prior to the presidential election, the incumbent party retained the White House, and whenever the Redskins lost their last home game prior to the election, the out-of-power party won the White House,” Mr. Hirdt tells ESPN.

The rule held true for all 15 presidential elections from 1940 to 1996, following the team’s move to Washington from Boston in 1937, he says, though he had to tweak it in 2000 to accommodate the runoff between George W. Bush and Al Gore.

“Redskins Rule 2.0 established that when the popular vote winner does not win the election, the impact of the Redskins game on the subsequent presidential election gets flipped. So, with that, the Redskins’ loss in 2004 signaled that the incumbent would remain in the White House,” reasons Mr. Hirdt, adding that the rule returned to its old standards in 2008 when Washington lost to the Pittsburgh Steelers. The rule is “18 for 18” predicting the presidential elections since 1940, he concludes.

“As if Robert Griffin III and Cam Newton didn’t already have enough pressure,” observes ESPN’s Bill Hofheimer, an analyst and spokesman for the sports network.

ALL HANDS ON DECK

They’ve got one last big weekend fling before Election Day dawns and the world changes. Or doesn’t change. Here’s where the candidates will be in the next 72 hours: President Obama will journey to Ohio, Wisconsin, Iowa, Virginia, New Hampshire, Florida and Colorado. Vice President Joseph R. Biden will be in Iowa, Ohio and Virginia. Mitt Romney, meanwhile, will campaign in Wisconsin, Ohio, New Hampshire, Colorado and Iowa while Rep. Paul Ryan goes to Iowa, Colorado, Florida, Virginia and Pennsylvania.

ALTERNATIVE PROGRAMMING

“The Re-Presidenting of America: Who will Replace Obama?” “Election 2012: A Nation Votes, Ohio Decides,” “Election Night 2012: This Ends Now.”

- (Live election night shows on Comedy Central Tuesday night.)

POLITICAL NEUROSCIENCE

Though their party would be loath to acknowledge it, Democrats don’t have a monopoly on caring about others. So says the University of South Carolina’s new Brain Stimulation Laboratory, where an analysis of MRI scans from Democratic test subjects found they had considerable neural activity in areas of their brains associated with “broad social connectedness” among friends and with the world at large.

The scans of Republicans revealed more activity in areas linked with “tight social connectedness with family and country.” Translation: Democrats are global while Republicans are America-centric, running “counter to other recent research indicating Democrats enjoyed a virtual biological lock on caring for others,” the analysis said.

“The results were a little surprising,” says lead researcher Roger Newman-Norlund. “One possible explanation is that Democrats and Republicans process social connectedness in a fundamentally different way.”

It’s all part of the emerging field of “political neuroscience,” he says, predicting that future elections could be swayed by campaign strategists who “exploit brain differences to make more effective, biologically targeted appeals to voters.”

Keeping an open mind may be easier said than done, says Mr. Newman-Norlund, adding, “Bridging partisan divides and acting contrary to ideological preferences likely requires going against deeply ingrained biological tendencies. It takes a lot of effort to see the other side, and we’re not going to wake up one day and all start getting along.”

POLL DU JOUR

• 87 percent of U.S. investors say the “fiscal cliff” issue in Congress eventually will be resolved.

• 85 percent say the Republicans will control the House after the 2012 elections; 56 percent say the Democrats will control the Senate.

• 64 percent plan to vote for Mitt Romney, 27 percent for President Obama, 8 percent are undecided.

• 57 percent say Mitt Romney will win the election, 43 percent say President Obama will win.

• 48 percent are fiscal conservatives, 21 percent are “centrists” or independents, 12 percent are progressives, 10 percent are social conservatives and 9 percent are Libertarians.

• 45 percent are registered Republicans, 34 percent are independents, 19 percent are Democrats.

Source: MoneyShow.com/The Independent Agenda survey of 1,005 investors conducted Oct. 30.

Tip line always open at jharper@washingtontimes.com.

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