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Seattle scribe gives Nate Silver election run for his money with sports inspired picks

Seattle sports writer Seth Kolloen found Seattle sports history was an ideal indicator for predicting an Obama victory. (AP Photo/File)

Political analyst Nate Silver, author of the highly revered New York Times 538 blog, is getting all the props for his near perfect prediction of the outcome of the presidential election. But a Seattle sports scribe is giving him a run for his money with his own presidential picks that nailed an Obama victory.

Seth Kolloen says the uncertainty about the election was stressing him out, so he went looking for leading indicators that would help him predict the outcome. Unlike the regular pundits though, he turned to over a century of Seattle sports for his tea leaves: he was dead on.

"I just thought, look at the years where something has happened, like for instance, the years when the presidential incumbent had won. I found the first three years that had happened the Seahawks had beaten the Minnesota Vikings in football. Then on Sunday the Seahawks and Vikings played and they beat them again."

So Kolloen, a longtime Seattle writer with The Sun Break, P-I and numerous other outlets, used his vast powers of deductive reasoning to predict an Obama victory. Then he went looking for more connections and found plenty. He posted them Tuesday well before the polls closed.

Kolloen says after doing extensive research that "starts with me drinking a couple of beers," he discovered in 1992, 1996, and 2008 - previous election years in which a Democrat won-the Seattle Mariners had a losing record in May. So undoubtedly Obama would win.

The Mariners factored in again when he realized in 2008 - the only time an African-American was elected president - the Mariner finished in last place. Just like this year. It had to foretell an Obama victory.

"So that to me showed that's a pattern," he says. "Then I just kept finding all these other indicators. So it all sort of came together at that point."

Kolloen says his extensive, alcohol-fueled punditry also revealed in 1948 and 1996, previous election years in which a Democrat won the second of two full terms, the University of Washington football team was ranked during the season. Since the Huskies were ranked #23 in September, Obama had to win.

Kolloen hasn't gotten any calls from Fox News to replace Karl Rove, but says perhaps it's time to hire an agent and start branching out with his new found powers of prognostication.

"I think really the sky's the limit. I mean horse racing, the Oscars are coming up pretty soon, the likelihood of nuclear war. I think there's anywhere I can go with this."

After all, he's the only pundit to predict an Obama win based on the fact that the two previous times a politician from Illinois won a second term as President, Seattle did not have an NBA team. Alright, it might have been just a bit of a stretch. That was 1864 and 1872. But you have to admit, like Nate Silver, he nailed it.

About the Author


Josh Kerns is an award winning reporter on KIRO Radio 97.3 FM. He covers everything from May Day riots in Seattle to the latest Boeing news.

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