Still think sports is irrelevant?
A Loyola Marymount University study is drawing a link between the outcome of sports events and the outcome of political elections, lending credibility, Discover reports, to the evidence that “voting decisions aren’t just based on objective and well-reasoned analysis, despite their importance in democratic societies. They can be influenced by completely irrelevant events, putting the fate of politicians into the hands (or feet) of sportsmen.”
According to researcher Andrew Healy “if a local college football team wins a match in the ten days before a Senate, gubernatiorial or even presidential election, the incumbent candidate tends to get a slightly higher proportion of the vote.”
A victory by the local squad, Healy says, puts voters in a more positive frame of mind and that’s all to the good for incumbents. He looked at counties that had teams in the Bowl Championship Series in elections between 1964 and 2008 for his data. Oddly, the BCS didn’t exist, though, until 1998. But why quibble with such facts?
Does the phenomenon hold true for Minnesota. It’s hard to say since the research doesn’t say a candidate will win or lose based on the football results, only that the total votes received will be higher or lower. Healy says the value of a team win is about 1 percentage point.But let’s look anyway:
|2002||Ohio State||Loss 34-3||No incumbent|
|1998||Michigan||Loss 15-10||No incumbent|
|1986||Michigan State||Loss 52-23||Won|
|1982||Michigan||Loss 52-14||No incumbent|
|1970||Iowa||Tie 14-14||No incumbent|
|1966||Ohio State||Win 17-7||Lost|
In the three times since 1966 that a sitting governor of Minnesota has been turned out of office by voters, the Gophers won the previous Saturday.
The question now is whether this alleged phenomenon translates to geographic areas that aren’t quite so college football-rabid. Does a Minnesota Wild team win do the same thing for Minnesota? And what about the Timberwolves? If so, write if you get work, incumbents.
Update 3:44 p.m. – Several people on Twitter suggested the cause-and-effect might be more noticeable with the Vikings, rather the Gophers. The results are even more tenuous with the purple.
|2006||San Francisco||Loss 9-3||Won|
|2002||Tampa Bay||Loss 38-24||No incumbent|
|1998||Tampa Bay||Loss 27-24||No incumbent|
|1994||Tampa Bay||Win 36-13||Won|
|1982||No Game – Strike||No incumbent|
|1970||Detroit||Win 30-17||No incumbent|
|1966||San Francisco||Win 28-3||Lost|