Could Lost NFL Season Cost Obama His Job?

Could Lost NFL Season Cost Obama His Job?

By Samuel Chi - May 20, 2011

Will Barack Obama take it upon himself to end the National Football League impasse?

For reasons both atmospheric and economic, he should at least think about it.

With Monday's ruling from the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that keeps the owners' lockout intact, there is a possibility that both sides will dig in, thus putting the upcoming season in peril. More than two months into the lockout and just two months from the scheduled start of training camp, the NFL is already way behind in preparing for the upcoming season.

Any lost games -- even preseason ones -- have an economic cost to the teams and the cities they do business in. The NFL Players Association estimated that each NFL city stands to lose $160 million over the course of the season, or $16 million per home game. Though these figures may be greatly exaggerated (the most conservative estimate is at $35 million per city for the season), there is no doubt that millions of dollars and thousands of jobs will be lost should the games be canceled.

A number of NFL teams, the Miami Dolphins among them, have already drastically reduced their staff or cut pay during the lockout. Keep in mind that each team and its host city hire a large number of people, from full-time employees who work in custodial, food service and media relations at the training facilities, to contract workers who sell souvenirs, clean up and provide guest services at stadiums. Not to mention thousands of cops and firefighters who depend on overtime income from working on game days.

The economy and jobs. Now do they sound like something President Obama should worry about? Left unmanaged, the damage from a lost season may very well negatively affect his re-election chances in 2012.

In 2008, Obama won 365 electoral votes, comfortably beating John McCain for the presidency. But since the Democrats' 2010 midterm election wipeout, combined with the reallocation of electoral votes following the 2010 Census, his prospects have arguably worsened already. And that doesn't even take into account the bleak employment picture that has persistently dogged his presidency.

Six states, each home to at least one NFL franchise, may just hold the key to his bid for a second term.

These six (North Carolina, Indiana, Florida, Ohio, Virginia and Colorado) all went for George W. Bush in both 2000 and 2004, and they were also the states where Obama's winning margins were the smallest in 2008, ranging from 0.3 percent in North Carolina to 8.9 percent in Colorado.

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Samuel Chi is Editor of RealClearWorld.

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