The theory is almost too perfect to be true. Barack Obama, the son of politically progressive parents, was born Aug. 4, 1961—almost nine months to the day after John F. Kennedy was elected to the White House. Is it possible Obama was conceived on that historic night?
And if so, could history repeat itself? In the hours and days since Obama's victory, many of his exhilarated supporters have been, shall we say, in the mood for love. And though it's too soon to know for sure, experts aren't ruling out the possibility of an Obama baby boom—the kind of blip in the national birth rate that often follows a seismic event, whether it's scary (a terrorist attack) or celebratory (the end of World War II). "The mood of the country and the optimism about leadership is always somewhat related to birth rates," says Dr. Manny Alvarez, chief of reproductive science at Hackensack University Medical Center in New Jersey. "I'm gearing up for a healthy increase."
Hope and euphoria, says University of Washington sociologist Pepper Schwartz, are a serious aphrodisiac. And voters under 30 went for Obama by a margin of 2 to 1. When you combine those two elements—randy people of child-bearing age—the likely result is what the online Urban Dictionary has already dubbed "Obama Babies" : children "conceived after Obama was proclaimed President, by way of celebratory sex." "If the amount of alcohol, happy people and major functions on election night is any indication, I suspect we'll indeed see a boom," says 25-year-old Brandon Mendelson, a graduate student in Albany, N.Y., who says he changed his vote at the last minute because "I wanted to be able to tell our future children that we voted for Obama."
Anecdotal evidence abounds. "On election night, my husband had managed to down a bottle and a half of wine in celebration and he was all about making an 'Obama election baby'," Abbi Whitaker, 32, of Reno, Nev., told NEWSWEEK. "He thought it would be the coolest thing." In Oakland, jewelry designer Meghan Connolly Haupt, who, with her husband, has been trying for a baby for about eight months, says she "was optimistic when I realized election night coincided with my ovulation time." And in Chicago, where 28-year-old Chip Bouchard—a former Hillary supporter—attended Obama's acceptance speech, he says he looked over at his boyfriend, Chris, and thought: "This [is] the president under whom I [want to] get married and adopt a baby."
Not everyone's experiences were quite as earnest. During one round of election-fueled romance, says Eric Davis, 37, of Minneapolis, "my wife accidentally said, 'Oh, Obama!'" Craigslist boards in various cities swiftly filled with posts from people looking to form impromptu, um, political action committees. "Feel great from Obama win, but now need to expend this positive energy," wrote one 30-year-old Manhattanite. "Obama! Red Wine! Smooching!" promised another. (And from the too-much-information department, sex shop Babeland, which has stores in Seattle, New York and Los Angeles, reports a 26 percent sales increase since Election Day.)
In order for an Obama baby boom to come to fruition, the sex craze will have to last a while. In August of 2007, the last year for which August birth records are available, Americans bore some 390,000 babies. In demographic terms, to achieve even a tiny boom, the number of babies conceived this month will need to exceed that figure. "So the question," says Florida State University demographer Woody Carlson, "is whether or not this catches on. If it's just a moment of excitement and then everybody goes back to being depressed, then we may see a tiny birth spike. But if it continues, then the birth rate next August"—nine months from now—"could be the start of something big." So get busy, folks. One of these kids might just grow up to be president.