Thursday, October 07, 2004

Yankee Killers?

I have long maintained that the turnout for this election will reach record levels in terms of American electoral history. There will be more people at the polls, in sheer numbers, than ever before. Even as a percentage of the eligible voting public, the numbers will be higher than any election in the past 50 years and beyond. The events of the past four years have shaken the American public out of its long dormant apathetic slumber (relatively speaking).

For example, look at the viewership of the debates. 62.5 million tuned in to watch the Bush/Kerry debate last Thursday. That number is unprecedented - we're talking Super Bowl big, only without the snarky commercials. The American people are paying more attention.

While viewership for the vice presidential debate dipped to 43.6 million, that number marked a significant increase over the 29 million that watched the vice presidential debate between Cheney and Lieberman in 2000. The public is tuning in, even to the undercard.

For another example of the new found prominence of politics in the lives of an increasing number of Americans, just take a look at how the Edwards/Cheney debate fared against the juggernaut that is the New York Yankees. Edwards/Cheney took on the Yanks on their home turf - and won. In the New York City area, 2.7 million viewers watched the vice presidential debate compared to 1.5 million who watched the Yankee playoff game against Minnesota which was aired on the same night in the same time slot. This Yankee fan was among the 2.7 million who put aside their interest in America's past time in favor of a glimpse at America's future.

Maybe the Red Sox should consider taking debating lessons.

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