Can Baseball Predict the Election Outcome?

The Philadelphia Phillies World Series win in five games over the Tampa Bay Rays on Thursday meant one thing to a city, and possibly another thing to an entire country.

The Phillies ended a city’s drought of 25 years without a major sports championship. However, in the bigger picture, did the Phillies predict the next President of the United States?

As irrational as it sounds, the World Series champion in an election year has been an accurate presidential predictor in several elections. That is, if an American League team wins the World Series, a Republican will be elected into office. And vice versa, if a National League team wins the World Series, the President will be a Democrat.

Since 1920, the World Series has helped predict 69 percent (15 out of 22) of the presidential race winners. In fact, between 1952 and 1976, the World Series as a presidential predictor held true in every election year.

Matt Pepin, Times Herald Sports Editor, does not believe in using it as a predictor and thinks it is just a “complete coincidence”.

“I think it is an amusing and interesting storyline that makes for great water cooler talk,” Pepin said. “I can’t imagine any possible tangible reason for the occurrence, but knowing the statistical trend makes me feel smarter about the election.”

The World Series used as a presidential predictor is only one sports superstition linked to the presidential race. For example in 18 of the last 19 elections, when the Washington Redskins have won their final home game prior to the election, the incumbent party holds the White House. The Redskins lost their final home game to the Pittsburgh Steelers on Monday.

“Sports are almost unpredictable but at the same time, create some interesting patterns,” said Jon White, Sports Communications senior at Marist. “If Obama wins this election, I won’t think twice about this pattern anymore.”

When a National League team wins the World Series, a Democrat has taken the oval office in 71 percent of presidential races. Did the Phillies winning the World Series foreshadow Barack Obama winning the election? Well, that will not be known until the last electoral vote is tallied and the race is called. Whether a coincidence or not, one thing is certain: odds are Barack Obama was probably wearing a Phillies hat last week.

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One response to “Can Baseball Predict the Election Outcome?

  1. In another instance of sporting events predicting who will be the victor of this years election, I read that, as has been true for the last 17 elections, the winner of the final home game of the Washington Redskins has been a key predictor every time. The article argued that if the Redskins won, the incumbent party stays in office. However, If the Redskins lose that final home game before election day, the incumbent party loses and the opposing political party takes office.

    If this supersition rings true, as it has been since FDR’s re-election in 1936, the new president may already be predicted. Since the Redskins lost to the Steelers in there last home game, it could be said, that Obama might be the victor of tonight’s election.

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