by Bill Staples, Jr.
Author's note: Back by popular demand, this is an update to my blog post published during the 2012 election.
Question: Is there a correlation between the winner of the World Series and the outcome of the Presidential Election?
Answer: It's not definitive, but more often than not, when the National League wins the World Series, a Democrat wins the Presidential Election; when the American League wins, a Republican wins the Presidential Election.
Let's look at the data:
|TABLE: World Series Winners and Presidential Election Winners, 1908-2016|
|Year||World Series Winner||League||Presidential Election Winner||Political Party||AL=Rep. NL=Dem. Correlation|
|2016 Prediction||CUBS WIN!||NL||Clinton||Dem||Yes|
2016 Scenarios: If the Cubs and Clinton both win in 2016, then of the 28 elections held between 1908 and 2016, there will have been a correlation (AL = Rep.; NL = Dem.) between the World Series winner and the Presidential Election 60.7% of the time (17 for 28). If the Indians and Clinton win in 2016, then the percentage drops to 57.1% (16 for 28). (Note: Experts say Clinton has a 91% chance of winning the election.)
BTW, the first World Series held during an election year was back in 1908, when the Cubs last won it all. Republican William Howard Taft won the election, but its worth pointing out that the Republican party of 1908 is nothing like the Republican Party of 2016. In 1908, the Republican Party platform still reflected the values set forth by of the "Party of Lincoln". Taft also ran as a continuation of popular two-term (1901-1909) President Theodore Roosevelt, who was also a "Lincoln" Republican.
In my original blog post, I stated that the World Series-Presidential Election coincidence could be explained by the simple laws of probability (and coin flipping).
Some people would like to think that National Pastime is somehow connected to the pulse of the Presidential Election. But most likely it’s not.
I would say that once we reach 70% then someone might be able to argue that the winner of the World Series IS a strong predictor of the presidential election.
Hopefully we will have a decisive answer -- and winner -- by Wednesday, November 9, 2016.
About the author
Bill Staples, Jr., is a member of the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR) in Arizona, chairman of the of the SABR Asian Baseball Committee, board member of the Nisei Baseball Research Project, and a past speaker at the National Baseball Hall of Fame. He received the 2011 SABR Baseball Research Award for his book: Kenichi Zenimura, Japanese American Baseball Pioneer (McFarland, 2011). Learn more at www.zenimura.com.