Star Wars Sequel Or Iowa Caucuses: Americans Equally Excited About Both
Maybe Donald Trump, Ben Carson, and Hillary Clinton actually can compete with Stormtroopers, General Hux, and a robot named BB-8.
With the Iowa caucuses now just 10 weeks away, Americans surveyed in the latest Bloomberg Politics national poll say they are as excited about the first-in-the-nation presidential nomination balloting as they are about the mid-December release of the latest Star Wars: The Force Awakens, the latest installment in the blockbuster movie series.
When presented with a list that also included the Super Bowl and the NCAA basketball tournament, 20 percent of Americans picked the Feb. 1 caucuses as the event they're most excited about, while 19 percent selected the new movie.
Americans have not turned into complete political geeks: The NFL's championship game was the top pick on the survey list, winning 28 percent of the vote. The "March Madness" basketball tournament came in last among the choices, at 9 percent.
For those who are most excited about the Iowa caucuses, it's not necessarily because they're looking forward to learning the name of the winner. It seems it's more because the start of the presidential contests elimination rounds promises a little less hot air in a campaign that at one point featured more than 20 widely recognized Democratic and Republican candidates for the presidency.
"What I'm looking forward to is for some other people to drop out after the Iowa caucuses because the field is so crowded right now," said Penny Yost, 74, a retired real estate agent in Fort Worth, Texas. "I don't put that much stock in the Iowa caucuses because so many who have come out on top there haven't gone anywhere else, but I'm hoping it will thin the field."
Yost, a Republican who follows politics "very closely," said she had to think hard between picking the caucuses over the NCAA basketball tournament. "Star Wars doesn't interest me at all," she said.
Charles Masin, 53, a meat grinder from Janesville, Wisconsin, gave a similar rationale for why he's more excited for the caucuses than for more pop culture options as the event he's most excited about.
"It will thin out the herd, so we have an idea who is actually going to left and we can get down to the real issues," said Masin, a Democrat who is considering voting for billionaire Donald Trump if he gets a chance.
The Super Bowl is more eagerly anticipated by men than women, with 31 percent picking it as their top event from the list, compared to 25 percent for women.
The caucuses have a stronger appeal among registered Republicans and those who lean toward the party. The precinct meetings in Iowa secured first place with that group, at 26 percent, as they did with those with a college degree (25 percent) and those with household incomes of $100,000 and more (26 percent).
"It's going to start giving us clarity on the Republican Party and who can be the frontrunner," said Jake Jacobs, 37, a vice president of business development in the drone industry and Republican who lives in White Salmon, Washington. "I want to get this field narrowed down to where they can make a bigger impact against the Democrats."
The national poll of 1,002 adults was conducted Nov. 15-17 for Bloomberg Politics by Selzer & Co. of West Des Moines, Iowa. The overall sample has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points, higher among subgroups.