What Yesterday’s Football Results Mean for the Election

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.

Support Nonprofit Journalism

If you enjoyed this article, consider making a donation to help us produce more like it. The Washington Monthly was founded in 1969 to tell the stories of how government really works—and how to make it work better. Fifty years later, the need for incisive analysis and new, progressive policy ideas is clearer than ever. As a nonprofit, we rely on support from readers like you.

Yes, I’ll make a donation

Simon van Zuylen-Wood

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