Americans are more interested in following the IRS scandal than they are in following the 2014 World Cup, according to the Pew Research Center.
To be specific, Americans are more interested in the disappearance of nearly two years' worth of emails belonging to Lois Lerner, a disgraced former IRS official at the center of the targeting scandal, than they are in the international soccer tournament.
The Pew survey, which was conducted from June 26-29 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.6 percentage points, found that 21 percent of respondents say they are following the IRS scandal “very closely,” while only 17 percent of respondents say the same of the World Cup.
The IRS said earlier this year that thousands of Lerner's emails, which were subpoenaed by Congress, were accidentally destroyed in a mysterious computer crash. Congressional investigators say they are doubtful of the IRS' claim and have demanded additional correspondences from the embattled federal agency.
The Pew report, which surveyed 1,002 adults, likely comes as an unpleasant surprise for a White House that has repeatedly attempted to write off the agency's targeting of conservative groups as a non-issue.
However, it's important to note that many Americans are still not following the email scandal. In fact, according to the same Pew report, 43 percent of respondents say they are “not at all” following the IRS email story. This is compared to the 41 percent of survey reporters who say they're “not at all” following the World Cup and the 17 percent who say they are following “very closely.”
But there are still some important notes concerning the survey's demographics.
“The younger you are, the more likely you watch soccer with Wolf Blitzer-esque proximity. Only 9 percent of people over 65 are paying attention to the World Cup,” the Washington Post reported, “because they are much more worried about the still-unfurling problems at Veterans Affairs. While only 15 percent of people aged 18-29 are paying close attention to the news about veterans hospitals around the country, 44 percent of people over 65 are doing the same. The same gulf between old and young occurs for all news stories Pew asked about.”
“Another group paying very close attention to the World Cup but being pretty casual about politics? Hispanics. Twenty-three percent are watching soccer very closely, and 55 percent are watching it at least fairly closely — compared to 32 percent of whites,” the report added.
And here's the important takeaway from the Pew data: Young people and Hispanics are more engaged in the World Cup than they are in the upcoming midterm elections, meaning Democrats could be in trouble if they fail to turn out these two groups this fall.
“Basically, the people who are following political issues closely in this poll — wealthier, older Republicans — are also the people who will vote in the upcoming midterms. The people who would rather watch the World Cup ... aren't,” the Washington Post reported.
“If the World Cup remains a priority for voters like young people and Hispanics, Democrats are in trouble."