Saturday, June 26, 2004
9/11 Fahrenheit Presidential Indicator
I'd like to, in advance, suggest yet another potential indicator: The 9/11 Fahrenheit opening weekend gross indicator.
Here are my thoughts: If this film has a blowout boxoffice for its opening weekend, that might actually be implying that the vein of, lets call it "discomfort" against the incumbent runs far wider and deeper than many moderates previously believed.
If, on the other hand, the film does rather poorly, it suggests, perhaps, that the only people really angry at the President are hardcore partisans. (Perhaps, perhaps not -- I'm thinking out loud here).
An element of truth -- or at least recognition -- of this can be seen in the way both sides have alternately promoted and dissed the film: Some Lefties have been encouraging people to go see it, while some Righties have mounted active campaigns to discourage exhibitors from showing the movie.
I cannot say what the uptake is on the encouragement, but as the Al Franken - Bill O'Reilly dispute demonstrated, orchestrated campaigns of censorship have a tendency to backfire.
(Its not just the Right which seems never to learn this, but the Left also:
Barbra Streisand learned that the hard way when she attempted to have photos of her house suppressed. She lost, and the photos became far more widely distributed than if she hadn't ever said anything in the first place).
The 9/11 Farenheit thesis is but a mere half-formed theory, and I cannot say something like this has ever been tested before. Baybe the total gross has more predictive power, or the opening month sales, or even DVD rentals will be instructive; I cannot say. This is only a thoery, so your mileage may vary . . .
UPDATE: June 26, 2004 1:05pm
A few people have pointed out that a film such as this is more geared towards the so-called base, and not really geared towards "mainstream" or "swing" voters. While I'm not sure if thats true, it certainly is a realistic possibility.
Further, some writers suggested that these same voters tend to be less involved in national elections until after both conventions -- and that also may be true. (Thats why I said this was merely a half formed thesis, and not a historically well correlated proof)
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