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Predicting the Presidential Election with Baseball

Can the Winner of the World Series Predict the Presidential Election?


Updated September 08, 2008

Can the winner of the World Series predict who will become President of the United States? If the American League wins, will that mean a win for Republican candidate John McCain? If the National League wins, does that mean Barack Obama will become the 44th president?

Until 1976, it appeared that the World Series was an accurate predictor of the presidential race. From 1952 to 1976, if the American League won the World Series, then the President would be a Republican. If the National League won, then the election would go to the Democrat. However, it all changed after that.

Previous to the 2000 election when George Bush beat out Al Gore to become the 42nd president, the World Series had incorrectly predicted the last three elections. However, with the Yankees (American League) win in 2000, the superstition held true. Bush won the election through the electoral college even though he was defeated in the popular vote.

Seriously, though, many Americans swear by patterns and coincidences to help them predict presidential elections. Other examples of 'predictors' from past and present years include the following:

  • If the Washington Redskins win the week of the election, this means a win for the incumbent party. This has held true since 1936.
  • Whoever's Halloween mask sells the most will be the next president. (If more kids want to be Obama than McCain...)
  • When companies produce 'competing' products, whichever sells the most is supposed to predict the winner. For example, if a company has cups with images of Obama and McCain in 2008, the one which outsells the other would be a predictor.
  • If the Dow Jones Average gains over the time from August to October, this predicts a win for the incumbent.
  • If the Los Angeles Lakers win the the championship, then the Republican candidate will win.

Obviously some of these predictors have a greater basis in reality than others. While most people would say that the Lakers or the Redskins winning is more chance than anything else, the state of the economy does have a huge impact on the presidential election.

After all of these predictors, are we any closer to knowing who will win the 2008 election? As of this writing, no. What we do know is that the election will probably be close and will be hotly contested no matter what the outcome. However, one thing is fairly certain, at least for this year, John McCain will be rooting for the American League team and Barack Obama will be cheering on the National League team as the 2008 World Series draws to an end.

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