How far do voters go in crediting incumbents for good news, and blaming them for bad news, they didn't actually cause? Far enough to give incumbents a bump if the local college football team is winning:
The new study looked at elections for president, governor and senate between 1964 and 2008 and compared them to football results for 62 major college teams. The researchers found that wins in the two weeks before an election boosted the vote share of incumbents in the county where a school is located by 1.05 to 1.47 percentage points — enough to make a difference in a close race.
And for teams they termed "powerhouses" the impact was even greater, giving the incumbents between 2.30 and 2.42 percentage points more than in years when the local team lost. Powerhouses were defined as teams that had won a national football championship since 1964, or were among the teams with average attendance of 70,000 or more from 1998 to 2008.
There is a powerful urge to read election results and public opinion as the result of the public's discerning ideological judgment of the candidates. But evidence overwhelmingly argues otherwise.