Tuesday, November 6, 2012
Will LSU-Bama election ties remain?
By Gary Laney
BATON ROUGE, La. -- Sally is an Arkansas fan who really should not have had a dog in the fight when LSU and Alabama played Saturday.
She had her own reasons to be happy with the Crimson Tide's 21-17 win Saturday.
"History shows that when the Tide beats the Tigers, a Democrat is elected to the White House," wrote Sally, who described herself as "Razorback Red/Democrat Blue."
Indeed, Sally is right, at least in relatively recent history.
In the last seven presidential elections, the outcome of the Alabama-LSU game correctly predicted the outcome of the presidential election. Alabama has won in the years of a Democratic victory. In Republican years, LSU has come out on top.
In election years, LSU won in 1984 (when Ronald Reagan won re-election over Walter Mondale), 1988 (George H.W. Bush over Michael Dukakis), 2000 (George W. Bush over Al Gore) and 2004 (George W. Bush over John Kerry). Alabama won in 1992 (Bill Clinton over George H.W. Bush), 1996 (Clinton over Bob Dole) and 2008 (Barack Obama over John McCain).
If the pattern continues, that would mean Obama would get re-elected today over Republican challenger Mitt Romney.
The Tide's win Saturday was somewhat analogous to this year's election season.
Like Obama, Alabama was the early favorite and like Obama, the Tide had a comfortable lead -- Alabama led 14-3 at halftime, Obama a comfortable polling margin coming out of the Democratic convention -- that dissipated and turned into deficits -- for Alabama, after LSU scored 14 straight points in the second half and for Obama after Romney's convincing win in the first debate.
The late game might also be similar. Alabama scored in the final minute to win to take a four-point win. After falling behind in polls, Realclearpolitics.com shows Obama having rallied on the election's eve with the smallest of leads -- fourth-tenths of a percentage point.
Seems eerily similar, but also just fun with numbers.
The pattern dies when you go to 1980. That's when Alabama won in the year Reagan beat incumbent Democrat Jimmy Carter for the White House.
The Alabama-LSU predictor isn't the only sport-election rule out there.
In Washington, the talk is of the Redskin rule. Since 1937, a Redskins win in the last home game before an election meant victory for the party that won the previous election's popular vote. A Redskins home loss has meant defeat for the previous winning party.
This year? The Redskins lost their last home game, 21-13 to the Carolina Panthers. Historically, that should mean defeat for Obama.
Only one trend can contintue. So will it be the Bama/LSU rule, or the Redskin rule?