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Can Applying Baseball Metrics to Presidents Predict Success?

“Presidents, Baseball, and Wins Above Expectations: What Can Sabermetrics Tell Us about Presidential Success? Why Ronald Reagan is like Bobby Cox and Lyndon Johnson is like Joe Torre” is the title of the cover article for the 50th-anniversary edition of “PS”, the magazine of the American Political Science Association. Written by Texas A&M University Associate […]

“Presidents, Baseball, and Wins Above Expectations: What Can Sabermetrics Tell Us about Presidential Success? Why Ronald Reagan is like Bobby Cox and Lyndon Johnson is like Joe Torre” is the title of the cover article for the 50th-anniversary edition of “PS”, the magazine of the American Political Science Association. Written by Texas A&M University Associate Professor Manuel P. Teodoro and Professor Jon R. Bond, the article adapts the Pythagorean Expectations (PE) formula as a tool to analyze presidential legislative success from Eisenhower to Obama. They also used Wins Above Expectations (WAE) as a second method of review.

It was determined that a parsimonious regression model and the PE formula were able to predict annual success with 90 percent accuracy. The estimates of WAE are uncorrelated. It was determined that regression analysis did not identify any president who systematically exceeded expectations, but using the sabermetric analysis indicated that Republican presidents have outperformed Democrats.