The PJ Tatler

Explained: Why Obama Pretends to Care About the World Cup

A new Pew poll makes some sense out of a couple of last week’s major Obama tweets. In one tweet, the president allowed himself to be seen watching the US vs Germany World Cup match aboard Air Force One. In another, ABC’s George Stephanopoulos tweeted that President Obama had shifted foreign policy decisions around World Cup soccer matches.

Apparently Obama’s internal polls show the same thing that Pew found. That is, that among younger Americans — the 18 to 29 year olds who propelled Obama to victory and on whom he still depends — the World Cup is blowing all other stories away.

Young people typically express lower levels of interest in news stories than older Americans, and the age differences are striking when it comes to Washington news and violence in Iraq. Just 13% of those younger than 30, and 19% of those 30-49, say they tracked news about Iraq very closely. That compares with 36% of those 65 and older and 34% of those 50 to 64.

Republicans interested in IRS scandalHowever, the World Cup is a different story. About a quarter (24%) of those under 30 say they are closely following the World Cup – making it by far the story they express the most interest in. Young people are more likely than older age groups to be closely following the World Cup.

Pretending to care about the World Cup so much that it even impacts his foreign policy moves connects Obama to two of his preferred groups, millennials and Hispanics.

Interest in the World Cup is also relatively high among Hispanics. Overall, 23% of U.S. Hispanics say they are following the soccer tournament very closely while another 32% are following fairly closely.

The World Cup beats the weaponization of government for this president, any day. Did you notice that on Monday, Obama timed his immigration announcement so that it would hit between the day’s two World Cup knockout matches?