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Sports teams' success 'affects how politicians fare in elections'

By Devaki

London, July 6 (ANI): The success of your local sports team in the two weeks before an election affects the performance of incumbent politicians, says a new study led by an Indian origin researcher.

In the new study, researchers looked at US elections for president, governor and senate between 1964 and 2008 and compared them to College American Football results for 62 teams.

And they found that wins in the two weeks before an election boosted the vote share of incumbents in the county where a school is located by 1.05 to 1.47 percentage points - enough to make a difference in a close race.

For teams they termed "powerhouses" the impact was even greater, giving the incumbents between 2.30 and 2.42 percentage points more than in years when the local team lost.

Powerhouses were defined as teams that had won a national football championship since 1964, or were among the teams with average attendance of 70,000 or more from 1998 to 2008.

"Events that government had nothing to do with, but that affect voters' sense of wellbeing, can affect the decisions that they make on election day," the Telegraph quoted the researchers as saying.

Neil Malhotra, an assistant professor of political economy at Stanford University, and colleagues, decided to look at the relationship between football and politics because they wondered if elections were affected by "irrelevant" information.

Malhotra said that there has been a lot of discussion of the rationality of the American public when it comes to voting, but there have also been studies indicating people can be "predictably irrational."

The study is published in the latest edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Science. (ANI)

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