US Presidential Election 2012: Obama's Saturn vs. Romney's Sun

(Posted 4 June 2012)  With Mitt Romney sealing the Republican nomination in Texas last week, the race for the White House has entered a more intense phase.  US President Barack Obama is facing an uphill battle as he seeks re-election in November against a backdrop of a flagging economy.  Recent polls are showing Obama in a virtual statistical tie with Romney as the economy weighs on Obama's popularity.  In a classic example of political schadenfreude, Romney's fortunes got a major boost from Friday's disappointing jobs report as more commentators are openly considering the possibility that Obama may be a one-term president.

For the past couple of years, I have thought that Obama's chances for re-election were fairly good. In an article I posted in the run-up to the mid-term elections in 2010, I briefly noted how the favourable placement of Jupiter and Rahu in November 2012 suggested that he stood a good chance for winning.  Other factors also suggested that Obama had a good chance for a second term but a lot would depend on the horoscope of his opponent.  I wanted to revisit this question now that we know that Romney will be the challenger on November 6. 

Analyzing charts for elections can be complicated.  As all astrologers know, there are any number of potentially useful techniques one can use to predict election outcomes.  But how do we know which ones work and which ones don't?  Since astrology lacks the organizational discipline of a proper science, this laborious sifting process is pretty much just trial and error.  There are no proven reliable methods that will work 100% of the time and many techniques probably only work slightly more than chance would predict.  In fact, I think that some techniques don't work at all and often yield results that are no better than flipping a coin.  One example of an incorrect or flawed method occurred at the time of the 2004 US election between Bush and Kerry.  The vast majority of astrologers predicted John Kerry would win, in part,  because of apparently positive conjunction of transiting Venus (happiness) and Jupiter (reward, achievement) on his Midheaven (10th house cusp).  According to most western astrological theory, this should have coincided with a positive result in career matters and a boost in status. Many Indian astrologers likewise thought that this benefic planetary pairing in the 11th whole sign house of gains would produce a victory for the Democrats.  But they were wrong and Bush won.  As the late Richard Houck liked to remind me, transits are only one part of the overall puzzle and they are usually not the determining factor in elections.  A candidate may have apparently good transits, but that could represent things other than victory.  It could symbolize being in the spotlight (win or lose) or just feeling relieved at completing the long and arduous campaign.  Following Houck's teachings, I have found that a judicious use of progressions, dashas and a few other techniques are probably more decisive in these matters.  It was because of my focus on non-transit factors that I predicted a Bush win in 2004.

As I have documented over the past three years, Obama's horoscope suggested that he would face many difficulties and have a tough go of it in his first term. His approval ratings have hovered around 50% which is historically quite low.  Much of the problem has been due to his dashas.  Although he is running his favourable Jupiter dasha, his minor dasha periods have been more challenging.  In 2009, he was in Jupiter-Mars, and then in 2010 he entered Jupiter-Rahu which is still running now.  He won the election in 2008 while running the more clearly positive Jupiter-Moon period.  The problem for Obama is that both minor period lords for the past three years, Mars and Rahu, are placed in his 8th house, representing obstacles, embarrassments and overall bad luck.  I believe this is an important source of his low approval ratings and ongoing problems dealing with the economy.  Regardless of whether Obama's policies are the cause of the country's poor performance, the Jupiter-Rahu influence here does not address the question of ultimate responsibility.  It merely looks at outcomes. 

What is interesting here is that Obama will switch dasha periods right in the middle of the campaign. According to the Krishnamurti ayanamsha, his Saturn dasha will begin in late June.  By Lahiri, this will start in July.  While Saturn can be quite a nasty planet, Obama's Saturn is very strong and largely beneficial, at least as a dasha lord.  Saturn is placed in the 1st house in the sign of Capricorn, which it rules.  This forms a powerful royal Sasha Yoga.  In addition, Saturn is conjunct benefic Jupiter and opposite benefic Mercury.  While Saturn is retrograde, I would nonetheless expect somewhat positive results to flow during Saturn's dasha. Of course, the Saturn period lasts 19 years, so that is a rather large timescale to deal with.  It is so long that is may not even have a direct bearing on the outcome in November.  But I would still consider it a plus nonetheless, and perhaps most importantly, better than Rahu.


The ashtakavarga system of planetary strength provides another intriguing piece of evidence that supports the re-election of Obama.  For the past two years, Saturn has been transiting Virgo.  According to Obama's ashtakavarga chart, Virgo is a very weak sign and Saturn does not draw any bindu strength there.  While it is not uncommon for Saturn to only draw 1 or 2 bindus in a weak sign, it is more uncommon to have none at all.  This is another reason why Obama has had such a tough time with the economy.  As long as transiting Saturn remains in Virgo, Obama is more likely to have problems.  Saturn is in Virgo now ahead of its completion of its retrograde cycle on 25 June. It will remain in Virgo until 2 August when it will enter sidereal Libra.  Obama's Saturn in Libra is much stronger where it draws 4 bindus.  (The maximum number of bindus is 8)  This is another reason to expect Obama to face difficulties in the near term, at least until August.  It also provides a neat piece of confirming evidence for the notion that his fortunes may soon improve.  He will likely get a lift from the start of Saturn dasha in July, and then another lift once Saturn enters Libra in early August. 


As I mentioned earlier, Obama's transits look pretty good on election day.  Transits usually aren't decisive by themselves, but we still need to assess them in light of the other chart factors.  Transiting Jupiter will be retrograde at 21 Taurus and will therefore be in a fairly close trine to his ascendant.  Even better, Jupiter will be in a near exact trine with his relocated MC in Washington.  Transiting Rahu will be close to his natal MC which is often a good placement for those seeking status and high public profile.  Moreover, Rahu-Ketu will be in a tight aspect with Saturn, the dasha lord and his lagnesh (i.e. the ruler of his 1st house).  This transit is a positive influence as I see it.  Recall that transiting Ketu was conjunct Obama's Sun on election day on 2008.  While the nodes are more unreliable in terms of transit effects, Obama can benefit from such transits by Rahu and Ketu.  

Transiting Saturn complicates the picture somewhat by virtue of its tight square to 6th lord Mercury.  This is usually a heavy transit associated with depression and frustration.  It is definitely not the first thing an astrologer looks for when forecasting an election win.  And yet it may not be decisive here because Saturn is not so bad in Obama's chart.  It could also reflect some difficulties on election day and shortly thereafter.  Since Mercury turns retrograde on the day of the election on November 6, it is tempting to think about some unpredictable situations that may arise around the administration of the election.  Mercury had a similar direct station on the day of the famously indecisive 2000 election between Bush and Gore.   When Mercury is stationary in this way around a key event, it can introduce confusion and foul ups.  A replay of the contested 2000 election is therefore possible here, although there are a wide range of possible scenarios with this pattern.  There could be disputed voters' lists, or even a tie in the Electoral College which would lead to a period of uncertainty as the state delegations in the House of Representatives would have to decide the final outcome.  The likelihood for some kind of problem is made more likely because Mercury will be in a close 30 aspect with Saturn (distortion, depression) and in a wide square with Neptune (deception, lack of clarity). 

The progressions offer more positive evidence for an Obama win in November.  While secondary progressions are important, they tend to move too slowly for my liking.  Tertiaries tend to produce clearer hits since the angles and inner planets move at a rate of about one degree per month.  We can see that there is a multi-planet alignment involving a Mars-Pluto conjunction and a square to both Mercury and Venus.  What's noteworthy here is that his relocated chart in Washington moves Mercury and Venus to the ascendant.  This is another plus.  There is also a Sun-Moon conjunction that conjoins his natal Venus in Gemini in this progressed chart.  Venus is a natural benefic planet and has the added feature of ruling the 10th house of status.  Moreover, the relocated angles (Asc/MC) highlight this Venus and hence the progressed Moon and Sun also.  In my view, this is a generally powerful and positive pattern. 

One thing that is missing, however, is any progressed stations in Obama's chart.  Richard Houck liked to say that winner's charts usually had the necessary "torque" from planets at their progressed stations.  Stations were times when planets were at their maximum strength and often correlated with significant life events. Direct stations were usually preferable to retrograde stations, and benefics preferable to malefics.  Obama has no progressions stations here, so that is one potential area of weakness at election day.  That said, I do note that he at least has something that could be analogous: a progressed station of the Sun in declination.  Obama's tertiary progressed Sun achieves its point of maximum northern declination at 23N24 in November 2012.  This is another piece of evidence that makes me think that Obama will win.  As an added enhancement to Obama's chances, I should also note that VP Joe Biden has a direct station of tertiary progressed Neptune in the 11th house in October.

What about Romney, the millionaire businessman, Mormon and former governor of Massachusetts?  Romney has a powerful chart in 2012 as he is running Sun-Mercury dasha from March 2012 until the election.  Both planets are well-placed in the 10th house of status and leadership.   It's worth noting that his Mercury minor period began in March just as he finally fended off a formidable challenge from Rick Santorum in the Republican primaries.  Clearly, Mercury is a positive planet for Romney.  But is it enough to win him the presidency?  One possible shortcoming in his chart is that Mercury is retrograde and conjunct 12th lord of losses, Mars.  The other potential problem is that neither dasha lord Sun or Mercury receives a helpful transiting aspect at the time of the election.  In fact, the Sun receives a difficult square aspect from 12th lord Mars on November 6.  The 12th lord is usually unhelpful in this regard and may be interpreted as a negative influence. 

Like Obama, Romney also has to contend with the full weight of a Saturn aspect.  In Romney's case, Saturn aspects its natal position near his IC (unequal 4th house cusp) by full strength square aspect.  Saturn does rule the 10th house in his chart, so that is positive, but generally I don't like to see aspects to the IC in this manner.  The 4th house is the bottom of the chart and is sometimes referred to as "the end of things".  On the plus side, Romney's relocated chart to his current residence in Boston shows that transiting Jupiter will conjoin his ascendant.  This is rarely a bad thing.  Whether or not it functions as one of those superficially positive Kerry-esque influences remains to be seen.  I tend to think it won't matter that much in the final analysis.

Mercury turns retrograde on election night at 10 degrees of sidereal Scorpio. This will be very close to Romney's 7th house cusp opposite his ascendant and conjunct Ketu.  The Mercury-Ketu contact is not something that makes me think of victory.  Rather, it looks more like something is unclear or even unfinished, especially given the wide square with transiting Neptune.  It is possible that this pattern could reflect some election day snafu given the whole Mercury Rx scenario, although it may simply reflect dissolving (Ketu) of Romney's electoral (Mercury) dreams (Neptune).

Romney's secondary progressions show an impressively dense pattern involving Sun, Mercury, Venus and Mars all in tight aspect with the natal Moon-Jupiter conjunction.  That alignment is very powerful but there is no station here that would make me think he is going to unseat Obama from the White House.  The tertiary progressions also lack any tell-tale stations so that further reduces the probability of a Republican win.  Tertiary progressed Mars made a declination station back in March but its energy was likely all used up on defeating Santorum.  Moreover, we can see that his relocated chart features a fairly nasty looking Mars-Neptune square that is highlighted by the progressed angles. This is not what you want when the decision for a competition is coming down.  It's hard for me to see how Romney can win under these progressed patterns.

While we don't yet know Romney's running mate, I do think it is quite likely he will lose the election. It will be interesting to see who he chooses so that their chart can be used for further confirmation.  Perhaps the more pressing question concerns the election itself.  How will that Mercury retrograde station play out on election day?  It seems unlikely that lightning will strike twice with another contested result, and yet the planets on that day definitely up the likelihood of some unusual developments.  I hope to post something more about this possibility as we approach election day.  In addition, I hope to write something soon on the horoscopes of both campaigns.  These are a fascinating window on the ups and downs of the candidates as they slug it out in the political trenches leading up to election day.  As I noted, I do expect more problems for Obama for the rest of June so I would not be surprised to see him polling well behind Romney by July.  By August, however, we should start to see Obama regain his footing.