Does Football Have A Liberal Bias?

Figuring out how gridiron matchups could tilt the swing states.

Ohio State quarterback Barackxton Miller dives away from a Mittany Lion.

Image by Gene J. Puskar / AP

One of the more ridiculous phenomena in an American political scene filled with ridiculousness is the fact that football results have been shown to swing races in college towns by as many as three points. Wins help the incumbent and losses hurt, presumably by contributing to voters’ general sense of which direction their lives are headed. Assuming the linked study and others that have found similar results are legit, it doesn’t seem crazy to imagine that a big game in a football-wild and electorally divided state could tilt that state’s electoral votes one way or the other. When economist Tyler Cowen explained this potential Football Effect in Slate, he noted that Ohio State and Florida in particular had big matchups last weekend. (The study above found that games two weekends before elections can have an even bigger effect than the ones directly before.) Assuming that what’s true of college football is true of the pros as well, what do the results of those matchups and the rest of the swing-state football situation say about Obama and Romney’s chances?

Colorado Buffaloes
Last week:
lost to Oregon. (By a score of 70-14. Yipes.)
This week: 28-point underdogs vs. Stanford Cardinal.

Denver Broncos
Last week:
beat New Orleans Saints.
This week: 3.5-point favorites vs. Cincinnati Bengals.

Who wins the football vote? Boulder fans must be in a severe state of misery, but when we’ve visited Colorado we’ve gotten a strong sense that it’s an NFL state anyhow. With Peyton Manning and the Broncos in a serious groove, we’re calling this one for OBAMA.

Florida State Seminoles
Last week:
beat Duke (thanks, Florida State!)
This week: bye.

Florida Gators
Last week:
lost to Georgia Bulldogs
This week: 17-point favorites vs. Missouri Tigers

Jacksonville Jaguars
Last week:
lost to Green Bay Packers
This week: 4-point underdogs vs. Detroit Lions

Miami Dolphins
Last week:
beat New York Jets
This week: 2.5-point favorites vs. Indianapolis Colts

Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Last week:
beat Minnesota Vikings
This week: 1.5-point underdogs vs. Oakland Raiders

Who wins the football vote? Filled with expats and a variety of rooting options, Florida doesn’t seem likely to be moved strongly one way or the other by any given game result. (Note: the Miami Hurricanes were excluded from this survey, as I used our mostly subjective sense of a team's fan following to decide who made the cut...and Miami’s attendance has looked terrible on TV lately.) On the whole, though, the state's most prominent game of late was the Gators’ undefeated-season-ruining defeat to Cocktail Party rival Georgia, so this is a slight lean for ROMNEY.

Iowa Hawkeyes
Last week:
lost to Northwestern Wildcats
This week: 2-point favorites vs. Indiana Hoosiers

Iowa State Cyclones
Last week:
beat Baylor Bears
This week: 12-point underdogs vs. Oklahoma Sooners

Who wins the football vote? Iowa State’s win last weekend was a nice one, but they’re probably going to get blown out this week, and Iowa is having a terrible year, most recently punctuated by a loss to Northwestern. Yonder cornfields blow in ROMNEY’s direction.

New Hampshire
New England Patriots
Last week:
beat St. Louis Rams
This week: bye.

Who wins the football vote? The Northeast, in our experience, is a pro football zone, and the Pats’ whoopin’ of the Rams last week favors OBAMA.

Ohio State Buckeyes
Last week:
beat Penn State Nittany Lions
This week: 27.5-point favorites vs. Illinois Fighting Illini

Cincinnati Bengals
Last week:
This week: 3.5-point underdogs vs. Denver Broncos

Cleveland Browns
Last week:
beat San Diego Chargers
This week: 3.5-point underdogs vs. Baltimore Ravens

Who wins the football vote? Both NFL teams are seemingly headed for losses, but with interest in those mediocre-to-bad squads likely at low ebb vis-à-vis the undefeated Buckeyes — who are coming off a big win at Penn State and looking to hammer the woeful Illini — the Ohio football scene must be said to favor OBAMA. One mitigating factor, however? The ever present danger that Buckeye fans will get Cheeto dust in their eyes on their way to the polls and drive into a tree. Go Blue!

Virginia Tech Hokies
Last week:
This week: 1.5-point favorites vs. Miami

Washington Redskins
Last week:
lost to Pittsburgh Steelers
This week: 3-point favorites vs. Carolina Panthers

Who wins the football vote? This one could go either way, and the Skins did just lose, but with the odds saying both of the state's big teams should win this weekend, I have it as a tentative win for OBAMA.

Wisconsin Badgers
Last week:
lost to Michigan State Spartans
This week: bye.

Green Bay Packers
Last week:
beat Jacksonville Jaguars
This week: 11-point favorites vs. Arizona Cardinals

Who wins the football vote? It was a downer of a loss for the Badgers last week, but their fan base’s rabidity is nothing compared to the Pack’s. With Aaron Rodgers rolling again, this one’s a DISCOUNT DOUBLE OBAMA CHECK.

Conclusions: Romney snags the biggest electoral prize in Florida and wins a Midwestern bellwether in Iowa, but the state of football affairs in Colorado, New Hampshire, Virginia, Wisconsin, and the crucial battleground of Ohio favors the current prez. This year, at least, America’s most popular sport looks like it’s lining up with the homosexual Jews who run the media and conspiring to help reelect BARACK OBAMA as America’s Quarterback.

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