The Buzz

Could the World Series turn Kansas elections toward Republican incumbents?

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback and his wife, Mary, attended a Royals playoff game.
Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback and his wife, Mary, attended a Royals playoff game. Facebook

The Royals’ wild ride through the playoffs may score a few votes for Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback and U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts.

Both Republicans are in the toughest elections of their lives. And both are incumbents.

Research published in 2010 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences concluded that when local sports teams capture big wins near election time, incumbents do slightly better.

Apparently the good mood of a landmark sports win rubs off on those politicians in office. Perhaps at some subconscious level, voters think times are good, so maybe they don’t need to throw the bums out.

At stake? Theoretically, the elections of a governor and U.S. senator in Kansas. Independent candidate Greg Orman has been alternately leading and trailing Roberts. Polls suggest it’s just too close to call. Brownback, polling suggests, is in a nail-biter with Democrat Paul Davis.

The research, done by folks at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles and Stanford University’s business school, looked at state and national elections from 1964 through 2008.

“We find that a win in the 10 (days) before Election Day causes the incumbent to receive an additional 1.61 percentage points of the vote … with the effect being larger for teams with stronger fan support,” the social scientists said.

Election Day this year, Nov. 4, falls well within that 10-day window. And it’s safe to say that this year’s Royals have fairly healthy fan support.

| The Star