Sabato's Crystal Ball

Baseball and the 2004 Election

Matt Smyth, Senior Writer October 22nd, 2004

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Yesterday the political world was abuzz with talk of a potential World Series match up between the Boston Red Sox from John Kerry’s home state of Massachusetts and the Houston Astros from George Bush’s home state of Texas. Never has there been a team from the home state of each presidential candidate, and the St. Louis Cardinals ensured that this streak will continue for another four years. However, the possibility spurred your Crystal ball to wonder: is there any correlation between the success of a team from the same state as a presidential candidate in the Fall Classic, and that candidate’s performance on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November?

In the 5 years that the team from the state of a presidential candidate has won, the corresponding candidate has won an impressive 4 times, with the only exception being Al Smith in 1928. Two of these occasions were made easier when both teams in the series hailed from the same state: the New York Yankees beat the New York Giants and Franklin Roosevelt won in 1936, and in 1944 the St. Louis Cardinals beat St. Louis Browns and Harry Truman was elected vice president, but became president shortly thereafter.

In the 4 years that the team from the state of a presidential candidate has lost–to a team from another state–the corresponding candidate has lost 3 times (Ronald Reagan in 1984 was the exception).

Of course, this is neither a scientific nor a serious way to analyze the fortunes of candidates for president, but in what is turning out to be a down-to-the-wire race, this method may be as good as any. As always, the Crystal Ball is dedicated to providing out readers with any information that may prove useful or enlightening.