As I've talked about before, prognosticators like Nate Silver are constantly looking at historical precedents in national elections to calculate how to predict what will happen in the current one. I've tried to be helpful in giving them ideas about ones they might not have considered looking in to.
So here's one more for them to factor into their equations: how many candidates have won the presidency while losing their home state? It turns out there's a wiki on that question. They even had the sense to break it down into two questions - one that looks at the state where the candidate was born and secondly the candidate's current residence.
It turns out that 4 Presidents have won while losing their birth state: Polk, Lincoln, Bush I, and Bush II. And 3 Presidents lost their state of residence: Polk, Wilson and Nixon. Notice there is only one man who shows up on both lists: Polk - who was elected in 1844.
So how are our current candidates doing?
Mitt Romney was born in Michigan. He's currently behind there by 10 points. I think we can bet on him losing that one.
Romney's state of residence poses a bit of a conundrum though, doesn't it? Where exactly does this guy live? We've all heard about the $12 million home they bought in 2008 and planned to renovate - complete with car elevators. It sounds like before the Romney's started campaigning for 2012, that's where they spent most of their time. But he's running behind President Obama by 16 points in California. So its a pretty sure thing he'll lose that one.
During the primaries Romney seemed to want to claim New Hampshire as home base - where he owns a $3 million lake home. He's losing there by 11 points.
But really, we all know the Romney's live in Massachusetts, don't we? After all, he was Governor of the state for 4 years and recently bought a townhome there for under $1 million to avoid having to claim his son's basement as a residence in order to vote there. He's currently behind by 24 points in Massachusetts.
All I can say is that its too bad the Romney's decided to sell their ski lodge in Utah. That state - for sure - would have been a winner (its so red they're not even polling there).
All this suggests that a Romney win would have to out-Polk President Polk from 1844. Not good odds.
When it comes to President Obama, as long as we can agree that he was born in Hawaii (*snark*), its pretty safe to assume he'll win that state. Its so blue they're not polling there either. But he won it by 45 points in 2008.
And we all know that the Obama's call Illinois home when they're not in the White House. Once again, too blue to poll, but he won it by 25 points last time.
Its pretty clear that when it comes to the "home state poll," we have a winner! And so it might be another 4 years before the Obamas can go home again :-)