The Olympic bump (II)

A libertarian I knew in high school—though I don’t believe he was an avowed libertarian at the time—passes on the abstract of a study that would, in theory, lend some credence to the theory that the Olympics could benefit Stephen Harper’s hopes.

We leverage a natural experiment to explore whether personal happiness unrelated to incumbent performance affects voting behavior: the outcome of the local college football team’s games right before Election Day, an event that government has nothing to do with and for which no government response could possibly be expected. We collected football scores from 1964-2006, as well as county-level election returns for presidential, gubernatorial, and senatorial elections. On average, a pre-election win causes the incumbent to receive about one percentage point more of the vote, with the effect being larger for teams with stronger fan support.

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