Saturday, October 22, 2016

2016 Clinton-Trump Edition: Does the World Series Winner Predict the Outcome of the Presidential Election?

2016 Clinton-Trump Edition: Does the World Series Winner Predict the Outcome of the Presidential Election?

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
YearWorld Series WinnerLeaguePresidential Election WinnerPolitical PartyAL=Rep. NL=Dem. Correlation
1908CHINLTaftRepNo
1912BOSALWilsonDemNo
1916BOSALWilsonDemNo
1920CLEALHardingDemNo
1924WASALCoolidgeRepYes
1928NYYALHooverRepYes
1932NYYALRooseveltDemNo
1936NYYALRooseveltDemNo
1940CINNLRooseveltDemYes
1944CINNLRooseveltDemYes
1948CLEALTrumanDemNo
1952NYYALEisenhowerRepYes
1956NYYALEisenhowerRepYes
1960PITNLKennedyDemYes
1964STLNLJohnsonDemYes
1968DETALNixonRepYes
1972OAKALNixonRepYes
1976CINNLCarterDemYes
1980PHINLReaganRepNo
1984DETALReaganRepYes
1988LADNLBushRepNo
1992TORALClintonDemNo
1996NYYALClintonDemNo
2000NYYALBushRepYes
2004BOSALBushRepYes
2008PHINLObamaDemYes
2012SFGNLObamaDemYes
2016 CUBS WIN!NLTrumpRepNo


2016 Results: With the Cubs and Trump winning in 2016, then the correlation percentage dropped to 57.1% (16 for 28). If the Cubs and Clinton both had won 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%.

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.


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