Are presidential elections influenced on the gridiron?   

Updated: November 4, 2008, 4:35 PM ET

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By now you've probably heard that the Washington Redskins directly influence presidential elections.

Five elections have taken place which didn't involve the incumbent since the Redskins came into being. The Redskins lost their last home game prior to the election four times, and the White House changed parties each of those times. The one time the Redskins won their last home game before the election, in 1988, the party in control of the executive branch retained control.

This made us wonder whether a candidate's college could influence an election by virtue of gridiron performance. So we tracked down the football score of each candidate's alma mater in the game immediately preceding the election. You might be surprised by the results.

For candidates who attended more than one school, we used the one from which the candidate earned his undergraduate degree. Only candidates who received electoral votes are listed here … our apologies to Ralph Nader, H. Ross Perot and John Anderson. Here are the results from the past eight elections:

2008

Republican: John McCain, U.S. Naval Academy -- Midshipmen beat Temple, 33-27.

Democrat: Barack Obama, Columbia -- Lions lost to Yale, 27-12.


2004

Yale

AP Photo/Bob Child

Yale beat Columbia on the eve of the 2004 election, which should've brought a smile to the faces of both candidates -- even if it didn't foreshadow anything significant.

Election winner: George W. Bush (R), Yale -- Bulldogs beat Columbia, 21-14.

Election loser: John Kerry (D), Yale -- Bulldogs beat Columbia, 21-14.

Notable: Both candidates went to the same school … and graduated only two years apart. So we go to the tiebreaker: the Harvard game in their graduation year. In 1966, the year Kerry graduated, Yale lost to the Crimson 17-0. It was the Bulldogs' only loss that season, as they went 8-1. In 1968, the year Bush graduated, Yale tied the Crimson 29-29, although the Harvard school newspaper touted the result as a 29-29 "victory." It was the only blemish against Yale that season, as the Bulldogs went 8-0-1.


2000

Election winner: George W. Bush (R), Yale -- Bulldogs lost to Brown, 28-14.

Election loser: Al Gore (D), Harvard -- Crimson beat Columbia, 34-0.

Notable: Yale beat Harvard 34-24 on Nov. 18, 2000, 11 days after election day, yet several weeks before the outcome was determined.


1996

Election winner: Bill Clinton (D), Georgetown -- Hoyas beat Canisius, 24-0.

Election loser: Bob Dole (R), Washburn -- Ichabods lost to Pittsburg State, 43-14.

Notable: It goes without saying you can toss the records aside whenever the Washburn Ichabods and Pittsburg State Gorillas do battle.


1992

Election winner: Bill Clinton (D), Georgetown -- Hoyas beat Catholic, 19-16.

Election loser: George H.W. Bush (R), Yale -- Bulldogs lost to Penn, 13-10.

Notable: If a winning football program is a drug, then Georgetown hasn't inhaled in a while. The Hoyas are 23-62 since Clinton left office.


1988

Election winner: George H.W. Bush (R), Yale -- Bulldogs lost to Cornell, 26-0.

Election loser: Michael Dukakis (D), Swarthmore -- Garnet beat Western Maryland, 15-7.

Notable: Although Swarthmore went only 2-8 in 1988, we're fairly certain the team wasn't tanking. On the heels of a 28-game losing streak that ended in 1999, Swarthmore dropped football after the 2000 season.


1984

Election winner: Ronald Reagan (R), Eureka -- Red Devils beat Concordia (Wis.), 15-11.

Election loser: Walter Mondale (D), Minnesota -- Golden Gophers lost to Illinois, 48-3.

Notable: The Gophers' loss was actually less devastating proportionally than the defeat Mondale suffered in electoral votes, 525-13.


1980

Election winner: Ronald Reagan (R), Eureka -- Red Devils tied Milton College, 17-17.

Election loser: Jimmy Carter (D), Navy -- Midshipmen lost to Notre Dame, 33-0.

Notable: Reagan played guard for the Eureka football team.


1976

Election winner: Jimmy Carter (D), U.S. Naval Academy -- Midshipmen lost to Notre Dame, 31-10

Election loser: Gerald Ford (R), Michigan -- Wolverines beat Minnesota, 45-0.

Notable: To date, Carter is the only graduate of the Naval Academy to be elected president. (Ford, of course, was a star center and linebacker at Michigan.)


Conclusion
Predictably, there is absolutely no correlation whatsoever, and we would like to personally thank you for reading this far. The election winners' alma maters have gone 4-3-1 on the eve of the election, while the election losers' alma maters have gone 5-3.

Thomas Neumann and Mike Philbrick are editors for Page 2.


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