Friday, November 2, 2012

Tie, Pin and Politics

We are approaching an important and fascinating week. Everything has already been said, shown or written about. Now it is just us and the ballot. Here is something playful to note about the candidates: their ties and pins.

First Presidential Debate:

Second Presidential Debate:

Third Presidential Debate:

Vice Presidential Debate:

What can you tell about the parties and candidates based on their tie and pin choices? Mathematically speaking, can you spot any peculiar patterns?

Your answers are accepted any time until midnight Eastern Time on Sunday, on our Family Puzzle Marathon.


Wang said...

It looks like Barack opts for more solid patterns and Romney opts for ties with stripes. It's also interesting that either side is either red or blue - not the same color nor any other colors and this is probably to signify the two parties of democrats and republicans.

Jerome said...

I wonder if anyone noticed that President Obama is wearing a blue tie. When maps are shown which state did what when electing someone, blue is usually reserved for the Republicans.

Joe Biden suffers from the same political color blindness and so does Paul Ryan. How could their wardrob managers get this so terribly wrong?

The colors have a history. It began with Europe, but the first presidents to use it were Harrison and Grover Cleveland. See second title in the reference below.

Only the second debate between Romney and Obama did these two get their colors right.

Would you look at the pins? Even that's a bit mixed up. Romney leans to the right and where's his pin? On the left. Can you really trust a candidate who puts his signature pin in a place meant to deceive voters about his true political leanings. (Obama's is correct. But do you trust him just on this piece of information alone). Paul Ryan's pin is incorrect, but you can forgive him because his pin is an American Flag. Very patriotic. Well chosen. He gets a point.

What can you make out of the fact that Obama's tie is plain and Romney's is striped? One thing I would notice is the stripes go from Right to Left. Now really is that the subliminal message Romney wants to convey? Another gaff. (Of course that is the way that the American ties are designed. Upper right to lower left. European ties go the other way. So at least Romney's tie is at least an American Tie.)

[By the way guys, don't miss out on going to the above reference. There is a video there that shows the correct way to tie a tie. It is not the tie that is relevant, but the lady doing the presentation. Well worth the minute you spend there.]

This right left business is all in fun. I think it is probably more a matter of fashion than politics.

Our household is very political. We`re both almost junkies. I think the most amazing thing I could tell you about us is that we never argue about politics although we do have slightly different views. That`s very possible in Canada.

thelittlebird said...

The color of the tie is not consistent by party but both parties in this election cycle never wear the same color tie at the same debate. Red and blue ties look to be mandatory. I thought that there could be a coin toss before the first debate to see who wears what color tie and then they switch. suggested that there is no coordination and that it is pure chance that in 4 debates the ties would not be the same color. They noted that it has actually been very common for the ties to match in previous debate cycles.
If tie color selection is random, the probability that candidates would randomly wear different color ties in 4 separate events is 1/256 or .39%. This very low probability might lead one to conclude that this indeed may not be a random event. (please feel free to correct my math ~ probability is a little rusty)

President Obama opted for solid ties in all three debates. Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan selected stripes 100% of the time. Only Joe Biden wore a striped tie for the Democrats.

I notice is that the flag pin is always placed on the left side lapel, over the heart. The Republicans' flag pin is much larger than the Democrats' 100% of the time.

Another interesting article on tie/color psychology is :

Ilya said...

The opponents wore different colored ties in every debate. At first I thought it was coordinated by the campaigns, but some light web research seems to suggest it was a coincidence. If so, what are the chances? Let's assume the choices are always either blue or red (what other color tie can a candidate wear in the US? :-). In every debate, the probability of picking the opposite color is 1/2 (four outcomes - RR, RB, BR, BB, 2 of them are different colors). Probability of that happening in four different debates is (1/2)^4 = 1/16. It's curious that in the repeated performances, same people kept switching their tie color.

Jerome's wife said...

Just some observations: Obama wears all plain colored ties. In his first debate Obama wears a blue plain tie, 2nd debate a red plain tie, and third debate back to a blue plain tie...and at the same time Romney wears the opposite color of Obama in first debate, wearing a red striped tie, opposite color again in the 2nd debate a blue striped tie, and in 3rd debate opposite color again wearing a red striped tie. Romney always wore striped ties and Obama always wore plain ties. Each wore pins of the American flag. Obamas pin and his running mate were smaller than Romney and his running mate's pins. Both Running mates wore striped ties. Obama's running mate always wore a blue striped tie, and Romney's running mate always wore a red striped tie; with the difference being that Romney's running mate had 3 stripes close together in intervals on the fabric, where Romeney's tie had 1 larger stripe occuring in intervals on the fabric. I don't know how to describe these observations in a mathematical analysis, aside from assigning plain and striped colors significance in a numerical way and frequency and comparison of appearance significance in a numerical way, plus size,in terms of values. I was surprised to realize how coordinated even down to the smallest detail of fashion that the candidates had displayed themselves in the debates.

Jerome said...

I'm a little right left dyslexic. I used to tell my physics classes never to write down anything about right and left hand rules until I had time to think about what I'd just said. Did I mean right when I said right.

Romney on the first and second debates had his tie the correct American way. Upper right going to lower left. And those ties are also correct politically for him.

On the third debate, his tie was done the European way, and the tie is going from upper left to lower right. Neither American nor politically correct. I think to add to his problems, Obama won the debate.

Joe Bidden didn't fair any better. He has the wrong tie color (blue) and European stipe pattern.

Paul Ryan has a tie that is correct for being an American, but it's the wrong color.

The Fashion police really ought to be ignored and I should quit before I confuse everyone.

Goodnight from Canada.

Anonymous said...

The puzzle came out late today so I was concerned that maria and her family had a problem with Hurricane Sandy. I hope and pray that everyone came through the Hurricane okay and if not, I hope their lives rebuild quick.

At each debate, it, the candidates wore the opposite predominate0 color of the other candidate. The Dem. candidate wore blue in 3 of 4 debates and the Repub. candidate wore predominately red in the same 3 of 4 debates. In the other debate, they switched the color they usually wore ( blue=Dem.=blue state) (red=Repub.=red state)I just wonder if they conferred on this beforehand . Another possibility is that this was the second debate with questions from the "common people" so maybe they wanted to seem bipartisan. At every debate, the Repub. had a larger pin and the Dem. had a smaller pin. (wearing the patriotism on their lapel for Repubs. vs. understated patriotism for the Dems.


Tom said...

I give up...Rich guys wear bigger flag pins?
Democrats have nicer smiles?
Button-down shirt collars are Out?
Can't wait to see the results!

Maria said...

Wow, I am learning a lot of fascinating stuff from your answers.

If you read Jerome's answer and follow the pointer you will be shocked to realize that Red-Republicans, Blue-Democrats color association was established only in the year 2000 by Today show. Before that various color mappings have been used, and in fact historically Red was more associated with Democratic views and Blue with Republican.

From the above pics there is undoubtedly a preference for Democrats and Republicans to support their parties' newly established colors. However, both also try to appear by-partisan and cross-color-dress.

I agree with you that it is very peculiar that candidates always chose opposite colors. Very slim chance that they didn't coordinate. I bet they also coordinated the spouses dresses. I believe Ilya gave the correct math for it: 1/16 or 6.25% change that candidates tie colors never coincided.

As we are stuck with Red and Blue, in each debate there are 2 main color choices for each candidate: R or B. So, there are 4 possible combinations for both candidates: RR, BB, RB, BR. Out of these four choices two provide the result that we see: RB or BR. So, the probability of candidates having ties of different color in one debate is 2 out of 4=1/2.

Since there are 4 debates we need to raise this into the power of 4, resulting in 1/16.

It is also interesting to see that Obama, or his stylist, prefer plain ties while Romney and both vice-presidential candidates prefer stripes.

I loved to learn from Jerome that there is more to stripe direction that it seems. One tilt is European and one American.

And yes, Republican pins are larger than Democrats'. I believe they all are American flag pins. It is interesting to contemplate why Republicans prefer larger flags, but I will try not to sink into the mud. In general I think Republican supporters are more likely to display their patriotism with a large country flag on the fence, windows, clothing or earrings.

Thank you all. Enjoy the few interesting political math days ahead. And yes, a puzzle point for everyone who answered. Sorry, not you, Tom.

Maria said...

Ilya - congratulations on turning 50 (puzzle points). I would love to honor this event with an exclusive interview. Please get in touch via email.
Wang - you are over the hill as well :) We will be happy to write about you if you want.

Anonymous said...

No matter who is the candidate or what party he belongs to, tie color is either red or blue.

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