Heard on the Hill

Some Golf, Listen to Pacino on Election Day. But Hold the Scotch

Superstitions range from the sartorial to the gastronomic when it comes to elections

At least one congressional staffer likes to golf on Election Day. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

It comes every two years. Many of them have survived it before. Some have personally knocked on doors for their boss. Yet every Election Day can feel like the first for those who work on Capitol Hill.

There’s nothing left to be done. Campaigns have ended, and the voters are in charge now. All staffers can do is sit and wait as their jobs — and control of both chambers — hang in the balance.

It’s no wonder that stomach butterflies start flapping. What better way to squash them than with some harmless superstitions? 

We asked more than 100 congressional staffers about their Election Day rituals. Most said they didn’t have any — or didn’t want to tell us.

But a few people played along. “If you don’t vote, two years of bad luck guaranteed!” one wrote.

Others mentioned bumper stickers, scotch, sweatshirts and Al Pacino. (Remember: Don’t jinx it.)

Here are some of their responses:

  • I wear the same sweatshirt every Election Day.
  • I don’t like to talk about what we’ll do when we win.
  • No scotch.
  • Golf.
  • Re-read the November 2016 pundit predictions to remind how little pundits actually know.
  • Every candidate whose bumper sticker I’ve put on my car has lost. So no bumper stickers on my car!
  • Carry a big stick.
  • Being unable to eat anything.
  • Early morning walk, set playlist, watch Al Pacino “Any Given Sunday Speech.”
  • President Trump’s approval/disapproval rating in state/district = the results for Republicans running for office.
  • Don’t count your chickens before they hatch!

We emailed congressional staffers this Capitol Insiders Survey on Oct. 22. The poll closed on Oct. 25, and 174 aides filled it out: 94 Democrats, 76 Republicans and four independents. Of those, 139 people answered the superstition question.

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