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Will the 'Redskins Rule' dictate fate of McCain, Obama?

October 31, 2008 |  1:50 pm

          Redskins helmet Redhelmut

Steve Hirdt of the Elias Sports Bureau offers what he calls the Redskins Rule, which he says has held true for the last 17 presidential elections.

When the Redskins win their last home game prior to election day, the party that won the popular vote in the previous presidential election wins the race to the White House. When the 'Skins lose the last home game before the election, the party that lost the popular vote in the most recent presidential election turns out the winner.

That means a Redskins win would favor McCain, while a Steelers victory would presage an Obama victory. The Redskins Rule deals with the popular vote, so let us know if you've got a sports-related barometer for the electoral college.

Update: Sam Farmer, The Times' NFL beat reporter, weighs in with this gridiron barometer:

Candidates also should keep an eye on the Cincinnati Bengals.

STATS LLC points out that in nine of the past 10 elections, the Bengals have tied their fate to the Democratic candidate. Since 1968, if Cincinnati won its last contest prior to Election Day, the Democratic contender for the White House also won. If Cincinnati lost its last game before Election Day, the Democrat also lost.

The lone exception came in 1988 when the Bengals defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers on November 6, yet two days later, Michael Dukakis lost the election to George H.W. Bush.

-- Greg Johnson