College football brings surprising twist to elections

With Tuesday’s presidential elections approaching, the sports world has found a way to intertwine politics and sports quite closely.

Nerds and jocks unite yet again.

A 2010 study by Stanford University found that the outcomes of college football games in swing states within 10 days of the election have an impact on those states’ voting trends.

The research was conducted by a group of political scientists and economists that observed college football scores over the 42 years prior to the study in comparison to the local county election results.

According to the study, if the swing state’s local college team loses, voters tend to want change and vote against the incumbent.

The mix of anger and frustration led to voters wanting something different.

The study pertained to bigger universities with larger fan bases, and includes the presidential, gubernatorial and Senate elections.

Stanford reports that a victory on the gridiron gives the current politician in office an extra 1.61 percent in the polls.

For example, studies showed that if Ohio State could win both games within the 10 day period — which they did this weekend — President Barack Obama’s vote would jump up by about 2.5 percent in Franklin County.

While 1.61 percent may not seem like much, it could make a huge difference with the races being so close.

Business Insider reporter Grace Wyler named eight states that are considered swing states: Ohio, Florida, Iowa, Wisconsin, New Hampshire, Nevada, Virginia and Colorado.

Michigan State, for instance, beat No. 25 Wisconsin last week — which is within 10 days of the election — thus supposedly giving former Gov. Mitt Romney an extra 1.61 percent in Wisconsin.

Over the past 10 days, states have swung both ways due to the recent college football games, but look to be in Romney’s favor in this logic thus far.

Obama should receive the boost of votes in Florida, Ohio and New Hampshire after wins by Miami, No. 7 Florida, USF, No. 13 Clemson, Ohio State, Ohio University and New Hampshire over the weekend.

Gov. Romney will get his extra percentage in Iowa, Wisconsin, Nevada and Colorado.

Some will say this is just a coincidence, others will wonder how sports fans could be so insensible to vote against whoever is in office out of rage that their team lost?

The results, however, are just another example of the ignorant reasons people vote a certain way, beyond just young adults voting for whomever “seems cooler” and mature adults voting without doing any research of the politicians policies.

It’s ridiculous.

Now we have to focus on sporting events to get an idea of who might win each swing state.

Sports are great, and it’s awesome when your team wins and sucks when it loses. But you should never vote based on whether they win or lose.

That’s too much. That’s another level of fandom.

It’s called being idiotic.

Other than that, Stanford took the election year and put a totally different spin on it. It attracted the eye of sports enthusiasts who don’t typically care about politics, and vice-versa.

Some politicians may have been watching a college football game for the first time to see if his candidacy was in jeopardy.

The actual purpose of the study was to focus more on why and how voters make decisions.

Who knew Stanford’s finest would come up with this association?

Thanks college football for causing more problems in America other than creating controversy in the BCS standings.

 

Reach the reporter at msterrel@asu.edu