Fantasy politics season coming to a close
November, 5, 2012
By Zach McCann | ESPN.com
Pete Souza/The White House/Getty ImagesBarack Obama, a noted sports fan, is a surefire first-round pick in MTV's "Fantasy Election '12."The choice between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney isn't so much different than choosing between Aaron Rodgers and Arian Foster in a fantasy football draft.
Well, at least if you’re playing "Fantasy Election ’12."
The Facebook-based game, which wraps up this week, allowed players to draft politicians running for the White House, Senate and House and earn points based on the candidates’ behavior on the campaign trail in a fantasy football-style online game. Points weren't given based on poll numbers or public approval but rather the way candidates conducted themselves in five areas: constituent engagement, honesty, transparency, civility and public opinion.
Basically, Barack Obama engaging voters in an online chat was equivalent to a 16-yard Adrian Peterson touchdown run, while making a factually false statement in a speech was like a Tony Romo interception.
"Fantasy Election ’12," which is sponsored by MTV, used the fantasy football format to promote honest and transparent campaign tactics and encourage young people to take an interest.
“We’re working to bring young people into the election,” said Jason Rzepka, the vice president of public affairs at MTV. “We can all relate to when we were younger; it wasn’t super relevant to us. So there’s a need to bring young people into the tent."
Candidates received 10 points for a tweet or Facebook post, 300 points for a town hall event and anywhere between 50 and 200 points for making a public statement that’s deemed true. On the contrary, if a candidate attacked an opponent with a false statement or acted in a dishonorable way (as deemed by a number of third-party websites), he or she lost points.
Fantasy players also earned extra points to their fantasy teams by sharing a political news story or checking into an event or debate on Facebook.
AP Photo/Gerald HerbertMitt Romney surged to the top of the fantasy rankings with an active October.
“We basically want the candidates to give us the behavior we expect, because some people are frustrated,” Rzepka said. “We wanted to change that frame of mind and give points for good values and make sure people are holding them accountable.”
The results were as close as many expect Tuesday’s presidential election to be.
Romney ranked as the highest scoring candidate with 25,188 points, followed by Obama’s 22,451 points. Romney surged to the top of the leaderboard after holding more than 70 town hall meetings in the past six weeks, racking up the constituent engagement totals. But despite Romney’s production, 73 percent of fantasy players started Obama over Romney in the final week of play.
Republicans narrowly led the scoreboard overall, claiming 11 of the top 20 scorers in the game.
Pennsylvania, Florida, Illinois and California were the highest scoring states in the game.
Some other notable stats as the election season comes to a close:
"Fantasy Election ’12" scoring leaders:
1. Mitt Romney, Presidency (R): 25,188 points
2. Barack Obama, Presidency (D): 22,451 points
3. Gary Johnson, Presidency (L): 15,541 points
4. Frank Pallone Jr., House, New Jersey (D): 15,189 points
5. Tim Griffin, House, Arkansas (R): 13,009 points
6. Gary Delong, House, California (R): 12,877 points
7. Scott Rigell, House, Virginia (R): 12,775 points
8. Jill Stein, Presidency (Green Party): 12,760 points
9. Linda Lingle, Senate, Hawaii (R): 12,259 points
10. Chip Cravaack, House, Minnesota (R): 11,603 points
Highest engagement scores:
1. Mitt Romney, Presidency (R)
2. Barack Obama, Presidency (D)
3. Gary Johnson, Presidency (L)
4. Jill Stein, Presidency (G)
5. Tim Griffin, House, Arkansas (R)
6. Jon Tester, Senate, Montana (D)
7. Robert Menendez, Senate, New Jersey (D)
8. Chip Cravaack, House, Minnesota (R)
9. Scott Rigell, House, Virginia (R)
10. Lynn Jenkins, House, Kansas (R)
Highest transparency scores:
1. (tied) Jack Todd Arnold, House, Tennessee (I)
1. (tied) Mike Koffenberger, House, Pennsylvania (L)
1. (tied) Kevin Chisholm, Senate, Virginia (I)
1. (tied) Jason Howell, House, Virginia (I)
1. (tied) LeAnn Kolb, House, Florida (R)
1. (tied) Brian Doyle, House, South Carolina (D)
1. (tied) Tara Nelson, House, Indiana (D)
8. Frank Pallone Jr, House, New Jersey (D)
9. Alan Lowenthal, House, California (D)
10. Tom Guild, House, Oklahoma (D)