From CLS Chief Strategist Scott Kubie…
Losing political campaigns is tough regardless of the level of the office. I remember losing around a dozen high school elections and each one hurt in its own way. I remember supporting candidates in college and feeling the anguish when some of them lost. For candidates and supporters, it is important to have some place to turn.
In this election, one place of solace for Romney supporters will be sports. While Romney lost the Electoral College and is barely losing the popular vote, teams from states he won or are undecided dominate the two most popular college sports in America.
If you are looking forward to men’s basketball season, 60% of the teams in the top 25 are from states Romney won or Florida. College football is even more pronounced. Over 75% of the top 25, and nearly all the top teams, are from states where Romney was very competitive.
Analyzing the election from sports demographics also can help to make sense of the race. In the end, Romney won the SEC and the Big 12 by landslides. States with schools in those conferences provided the votes that put Romney within 0.3% of Obama’s popular vote total. West Virginia, which joined the Big 12 even thought it is geographically removed from the other schools, votes more like Oklahoma than like its neighbors.
Obama won the election based on strong results in Big 10 states. Those states were generally thought to be toss ups and Obama won many of those states in typical Big 10 fashion: he had a good ground game and a late score that pushed him to victory.
So cheer up if you are on the losing side. There will be over a hundred bowl games between now and the next presidential election. Your preferred team is likely to be playing.