Jul 5, 2010 5:07 PM by Matt Stafford
Politicians in a close race may have something new to worry about -- how their local powerhouse football team is doing.
New research has found that incumbents whose major college football team has won during the two weeks before an election got up to a 1.5 percentage point boost at the polls. It could be enough to decide a close contest.
The study, published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, says events that government had nothing to do with, but that affect voters' sense of well-being, can affect the decisions they make on election day.
Professor Neil Malhotra of Stanford University says it tends to be subconscious, with people deciding who to vote for based on their mood. He says the effect tends to disappear when the bias is pointed out.