Election's other crystal balls: Football, baseball and basketball
October 23rd, 2012
03:20 PM ET
10 years ago

Election's other crystal balls: Football, baseball and basketball

Washington (CNN) – Why invest in polling and television ads, when rooting for a few oddly dispersed teams can lead to presidential victory?

Election watchers have been looking for correlations between sports and the presidency for years. A few have been found, explaining why challengers should root for the Washington Redskins, Democrats should root for the National League baseball teams and Republicans should cheer for the Los Angeles Lakers.

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The most well known sports related presidential predictor is the Redskin's Rule. The rule is simple: if the Redskins lose, the challenger wins; if the Redskins win, the incumbent wins. Since 1940 (the 'skins moved to Washington in 1937), the outcome of the Redskins last home game before the election has correctly predicted the outcome of the presidential election 17 out of 18 times.

The Redskins play the Carolina Panthers at home on November 4, just two days before the election.

If you believe the rule, Obama will be cheering for the Redskins and Romney will be cheering for the Panthers.

Major League Baseball, in a press release, noted another correlation from the twenty-six World Series played since 1908, albeit a less reliable one.

About three-fifths (59%) of the time that the American League team won the World Series, the Republican candidate won the White House. Likewise, 67% of the time that the National League won the World Series, the Democrat won the White House.

After a long season, the National League's San Francisco Giants will face off against the American League's Detroit Tigers in the World Series starting on Wednesday. If the odds hold, Romney – a native of Michigan – will be pulling for the team from Detroit, while Obama will be pulling for the Giants.

Though not totally accurate, this theory has correctly predicted the last three elections.

But that is not all – the United States is more sports and politics obsessed than just two theories.

Eight of the last nine times that the Los Angeles Lakers have made the NBA Championship game, Republicans have won the White House. John McCain's loss in 2008, a year that saw the Lakers face the Boston Celtics in the championship game, is the only time since 1952 that the correlation was proven wrong. McCain lost and so did the Lakers.

This year, because the NBA championship was between the Miami Heat and the Oklahoma City Thunder, this predictor will not be in play.

With so many predictors, there is a good chance of complication. What happens if the Giants win (helping Obama) and the Redskins lose (helping Romney). What about the inverse – the Tigers win (helping Romney) and the Redskins win (helping Obama)?

A better question: what are the chances that Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson is pulling hard for a rained out World Series and a postponed Redskins game?

Filed under: 2012
soundoff (9 Responses)
  1. Sniffit

    Well, I think we can all agree on one thing: all of us are now stupider for having read this article.

    October 23, 2012 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  2. Sniffit

    Yes, reading the sports "tea leaves"...might as well try to predict the election by studying the Pollack-esque spray pattern created by the explosive mental diarrhea the MSM spews at us daily.

    October 23, 2012 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  3. What is the Difference between CNN and NYT - NOTHING!

    CNN has doubled down on helping getting Obama re-elected! Every article since Monday has been negative toward Romney and glowing toward Obama! Here's to hoping that you disappear as fast as Newsweeks print edition!

    October 23, 2012 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  4. kayla

    sniffit i agree

    October 23, 2012 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  5. truth hurts

    Look into the crystal ball of the 2010 election.... it is predicting the same outcome for the Democrats. Record losses.

    October 23, 2012 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  6. Euro4obama

    Romney has hair on the back of his hands and the way he brings both hands up and sways while talking, is very "unevolved" and scary. No wonder people don't trust him.

    October 23, 2012 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  7. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    Well, this is a complete waste of time... These sporting events have no real tangable & measurable effect on the elections. Do the people out there really think about the Redskins winning and then voting for Obama? I would hope not. Voting should be done based on the merits of the candidates.

    October 23, 2012 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  8. just sayin

    >Romney has hair on the back of his hands and the way he brings both hands up and sways while talking, is very "unevolved" >and scary. No wonder people don't trust him.

    you insinutate others are not eveloved after making these comments? obama voters.... cream of the crop...NOT.

    October 23, 2012 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  9. Rick McDaniel

    The silliness never goes away.

    October 23, 2012 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |