It’s only a few times a year when you get to have a weekend as incredible as May 3rd-6th. You had Cinco de Mayo, the last week before most college graduations, and tons of NBA and Hockey Playoff Games.
Of course the two biggest events from last weekend were the official kick-off of the Obama 2012 presidential campaign (although this is like his 2nd or even third kick-off) and the Avengers finally hitting theatres after an incredible build up since Iron Man and the Hulk in 2008.
As a comic geek and a political junkie I wasn’t quite sure which one I was supposed to be more excited about, but fortunately Mitt Romney came to help me out. He says Obama’s campaign weekend was a flop so I was much better off watching Thor and Nick Fury kick some aliens across Manhattan.
This past weekend Obama kicked off his campaign for president (heretofore referred to asRe-Seduction Tour 2012) by going to the swingiest of swing states: Ohio and then following it up with the newest of purple states in Virginia. The rally in Ohio at Value City Arena at Ohio State University – which seats a little over 18,000 – was considered a big test of Obama’s ground game in Ohio, a state he must win in the presidential election this fall.
Did he pass the test? Depends on who you ask.
The Obama campaign had been telling press outlets for weeks that they expected an overflow at the event, similar to rallies the president pulled off in 2008 – and yet they didn’t meet those expectations. The president drew a crowd of over 14,000 on a Saturday, filled mostly with college students to deliver a 37 minute speech explaining why they should stick with him this fall. Then Obama flew over to Richmond where he spoke at the Siegel Center (capacity 7617) to a crowd of 8,000 some of whom stood outside in the pouring rain just to hear the president speak.
Selectively picking their battles with the precision of a campaign desperately targeting 48% of the popular vote, the Romney campaign immediately jumped on the low attendance numbers of the Ohio rally. Romney supporters shot tweetpics to journalists showing empty seats in the upper decks as well as pointing out that Team Obama had to move some rally attendees forward to make sure the crowd looked robust.
They conveniently ignored the Richmond rally, but let’s not be picky.
Not to be outdone, Democrats responded by showing some Romney rallies, where, let’s just say when Romney was done speaking he was probably asking the crowd to bring some refreshments home because he couldn’t eat them all himself.
All of this is rather silly, though, politically. Does crowd size really indicate waning enthusiasm for Obama? Does it matter that he can’t fill a sports stadium to capacity when Romney can’t muster up enough folks for a pick-up basketball game? I thought it might be a good idea to really put Obama’s Ohio rally in context against what was really the biggest event of the weekend: the Avengers premiere.
Let’s do some fun math type games. So, the Avengers made about 200 million last weekend, which, if you calculate the average movie price being $10.00 means about 20 million Americans saw the movie, not counting comic nerds who went three times. Since 79% of the people who saw the Avengers were either in couples or families that means about 21% of the movie’s attendees were random groups of young people who just wanted to see something loud and big and entertaining – you know, like a president or a movie about superheroes.
Let’s assume that at least 10% of all young people (from birth to 24 years old) in Columbus saw the Avengers last weekend, which isn’t really a stretch if you’ve ever been to Columbus (not much going on outside of football season) which is maybe 29,907 people. If we toss the Virginia rally into the Value Center rally in Columbus, Obama pulled in about 22,000 mostly young people for his event on Saturday – which is about 7% of the TOTAL youth population of Columbus, Ohio.
So, what does all of that add up to? President Obama probably pulled as many YOUNG people into his two rallies in Ohio and Virginia as actually saw the Avengers in Columbus that weekend. Now, these numbers aren’t exact of course, but they do highlight something about this silly campaign season we’re about to embark on.
If Mitt Romney is really going to engage in a nation-wide nit-picking program on who gets more folks to come to their campaign parties’ he’s not going to win that fight. Obama may be a terrible negotiator with Congress, manage a horrible economy and fail to address the needs of the Black community – but he can still dust off his velvety vocal chords and bring out enough young voters in Ohio to rival the biggest movie debut in Hollywood history. Mitt on the other hand, is lucky if he can rally more people than a week 9 showing of “Hunger Games.” It’s pretty obvious who the superhero is in this pair.
This article originally appeared online at Politic365.com.