Political Animal


October 28, 2012 7:30 AM What Yesterday’s Football Results Mean for the Election

By Simon van Zuylen-Wood

On Thursday, Kevin Drum pointed to a recent study (via Tyler Cowen) that found that college football games taking place 10 days before the election had the power to sway voters. When high-profile, Division I home teams won, incumbents received 2.57% more of the local vote share than if they lost, feeling more or less satisfied with the status quo. The effect was even more pronounced after an upset. So here’s what happened yesterday in the swing-ish states.

Florida State crushed Duke, but Florida lost to Georgia, so we’ll call this one a wash.

Ohio State beat Penn State, and Ohio lost to Miami of Ohio, so either way, Ohio’s happy.

Arizona registered a huge upset over USC, but Arizona State narrowly lost to UCLA.

Iowa fell to Northwestern, but Iowa State beat Baylor.

North Carolina and NC State played each other, so that’s a draw too.

Michigan lost to Nebraska, but Michigan State upset Wisconsin in OT.

Colorado got squashed by Oregon.

What to make of all this? Everything cancels out except in Colorado, where voters are now seeking sweeping electoral change, and Ohio, which is happy the way things are. Oh, and I couldn’t resist checking—New Hampshire beat Rhode Island 40-20.

Simon van Zuylen-Wood is a writer for Philadelphia Magazine.


  • Tom Moriarty on October 28, 2012 8:57 AM:

    C'mon Kevin, you forgot about Kent State!

  • Tom Moriarty on October 28, 2012 9:03 AM:

    Whoops,thinking I was at my other favorite site.

  • stevio on October 28, 2012 9:17 AM:

    You also forgot that Notre Dame squished Oklahoma, making Indiana happy, but alas, not enough to vote Democratic...

  • liam foote on October 28, 2012 9:19 AM:

    I don't know, stevio. A win by the Irish could be a good sign for Joe Donnelly.

  • Hedda Peraz on October 28, 2012 9:59 AM:

    Such world class perspicacity is above reproach!

    Yet, I, too, have been conducting a "scientific study" on past elections, dating back to my First Time with A Man. (JFK, if you must know).

    In every election since then, when the voting took place on a Tuesday, either a Democrat or a Republican won!
    You could look it up.

  • Neil B on October 28, 2012 10:37 AM:

    Heh, well this type of thread invites "open" comments so I want to pass on this terrific pic I saw on Facebook:

    Formidable Republican Opposition - PERFECT! — with Larry Boehlke - Timeline Photos · Yesterday at 2:03am·
    Pic shows John Sununu, former Republican Governor of NH and Mitt Romney's campaign co-chair (likely to stay such IMHO), in valid satire, saying:


    BTW, why aren't you guys here making more about this, or did I miss something? It should be a big deal, and instead we get "pearl clutching" and this sort of pointless fluff about sports? Really, there is an important election coming up, does WaMo really care? Sorry, I'm serious.

  • Gandalf on October 28, 2012 10:50 AM:

    Gee Simon why don't we just read sheep guts? That would be just as accurate and relevant.

  • Rich on October 28, 2012 10:59 AM:

    Clearly, you've run out of things to write about.

  • c u n d gulag on October 28, 2012 11:32 AM:

    Sheep guts are SOOOOOOo yesterday!

    Plus, they're highly inaccurate - or else we'd all still be speaking Greek or Latin, and worshipping the Oracle Of Delphi.

    Vietnames Potbellied Pig guts are not only more hip, they're more accurate, too.
    How the hell do you think they beat us, hmmm?

  • DJ on October 28, 2012 3:36 PM:

    Clearly, you've run out of things to write about.

    No, Simon ran out of things to write about well before this stupid post.

  • castanea on October 28, 2012 10:52 PM:

    Look, I don't mean to insult them, but these weekend bloggers have been less than optimal for months.

    Their writing might be fine in other venues, but can we get someone who can address something related to policy development or economics so the readers can actually learn useful information?

    The notion of a weekend blogger on this site as some sort of gimlet-eyed social commentator would be lame even if the person had a rapier-like wit and two-fisted grasp of his/her prolix. Substance, please!