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Football and Public Opinion: A Partial Replication and Extension*

  • Ethan C. Busby (a1) and James N. Druckman (a1)
Abstract
Abstract

Do events irrelevant to politics, such as the weather and sporting events, affect political opinions? A growing experimental literature suggests that such events can matter. However, extant experimental evidence may over-state irrelevant event effects; this could occur if these studies happen to focus on particular scenarios where irrelevant event effects are likely to occur. One way to address this possibility is through replication, which is what we do. Specifically, we replicate an experimental study that showed the outcome of a college football game can influence presidential approval. Our results partially replicate the previous study and suggest the impact is constrained to a limited set of outcome variables. The findings accentuate the need for scholars to identify the conditions under which irrelevant effects occur. While the effects clearly can occur, there relevance to politics remains unclear.

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We thank Jake Druckman, Adam Howat, Elizabeth Meehan, Jacob Rothschild, and Richard Shafranek for research assistance. We also thank Daniel Biggers, Anthony Fowler, Seth Hill, Adam Howat, and Neil Malhotra for excellent advice. The data, code, and additional materials required to replicate all analyses in this article are available at the Journal of Experimental Political Science Dataverse within the Harvard Dataverse Network, at: doi:10.7910/DVN/BKVLFI. Financial support was from internal University funds. Neither author (nor a relative) received significant financial support over the last three years, or had a position with a relevant organization. No other party had a right to review the paper prior to circulation.

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Journal of Experimental Political Science
  • ISSN: 2052-2630
  • EISSN: 2052-2649
  • URL: /core/journals/journal-of-experimental-political-science
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