Forget the campaign, the curse of Harry Kane could have a bigger impact on the election

Forget the campaign, the curse of Harry Kane could have a bigger impact on the election

Martyn Ziegler in The Times has this little piece that might explain why Sunak called a July election

Rishi Sunak will be hoping that England do well at Euro 2024 because an early exit could be the final nail in the coffin of his dying government.

A general election will take place during a major tournament for the first time since 1970 and research carried out by the political scientists has suggested that incumbents get a lift from positive feelings provided by a sporting triumph — and suffer from sporting defeats.

Election day is on July 4, between the round of 16 and the quarter-finals of the Euros. Gareth Southgate and Sunak may both be desperately hoping England are through to the last eight when the country goes to the polls. Research published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences journal in 2010 suggested happy fans gave incumbents in elections up to 2.4 per cent more votes after a win.

In 1970 the Labour prime minister, Harold Wilson, asked his Cabinet to “consider whether the government would suffer if the England footballers were defeated on the eve of polling day”.

As it turned out, England suffered a shock 3-2 defeat by West Germany in the World Cup quarter-finals and four days later Wilson was out of office.

Should England still be in the Euros on July 4, Sir Keir Starmer could point out, however, that they have only ever won a major tournament when Labour were in government: they won power four months before England triumphed at the 1966 World Cup.

Over on Betfair England are the favourites to win Euro 2024, traitorous capitalist that I am, England are a lay so I expect England to be doing well by election day before the curse of trophy dodger Harry Kane kicks in although if England repeat their 2016 performance they will be out of the tournament by election day.

As the previous thread shows the difference between a wipeout for the Tories is very marginal, the 2.4% could be crucial to the Tories.

If the Scottish men’s football team break the habit of a lifetime and make it to the knockout stage of a major tournament then the SNP might get an unexpected boost.

Alas for Labour the Welsh men’s football team didn’t qualify preferring solidarity with their wooden spoon winning counterparts in the rugby.


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