Last night, 15 people in a Sacramento area office, all political junkies deeply involved in election campaigns, did not watch the presidential debates. Instead, they watched the San Francisco Giants storm back from a 3 games to 1 deficit to capture the National League pennant in seven games over the St. Louis Cardinals.
World Series fever has swept through Giants fans just as this political season heads to its climatic days. With the Series starting Wednesday in the City by the Bay, one wonders if the political discussions will be muted, if ads will be ignored, if early vote ballots will go untouched.
Could the Giants World Series run actually effect election outcomes?
Just yesterday it was reported that San Francisco has more registered voters than any time in its history – 489,000. Will the new voters take the time to vote; will long-time voters be concerned with the election when caught up with the World Series excitement?
If the Series with the Detroit Tigers runs a full seven games with no rain delays, the last game would occur on November 1. Enough days to sober up in case a seven-game Giant triumph brings on a wild celebration.
There is probably little scientific data that big sporting events change voters’ focus and actually alter election outcomes. However, there are a couple of very close statewide ballot measures and some local elections that could be nip-and-tuck.
Perhaps, lack of attention to the political debate may change the total number of voters. Perhaps, voters who planned to study the long ballot booklet in the Bay Area will put it aside to cheer on their favorite team, then feel they are not qualified to vote because they haven’t read the booklet or paid attention to the debate. Maybe cheering for a home run or strike out could have more effect than we know.
While political commentators express concern about an “enthusiasm gap” in the national election, an over-the-top enthusiasm for the Giants may have a reverse effect on California’s political landscape.
In the meantime: Go Giants!