Campaign workers insist there is no evidence to support the idea, but imagine it anyway: Ticket in hand, the politically confused voter tonight journeys to Merriweather Post Pavilion to watch Paul Simon -- his candidate for president -- sing from that Grammy award-winning album "Graceland." After a lovely evening, the fan returns home to savor some old recordings of the president-to-be with the man any right-minded follower hopes will be his running mate: Art Garfunkel.

Paul Simon will no doubt sing tonight from his song "All Around the World or the Myth of Fingerprints": "There's no doubt about it/ It was the myth of fingerprints/ I've seen them all and man/ they're all the same." But forget about fingerprints -- what about names? What about voter confusion?

"It really isn't an issue," says Vic Fingerhut, pollster for the other Paul Simon, who happens to be running for president. "Someone thought it up -- it was kind of a cute thing, but it really has no bearing on the numbers."

The "cute thing" was the theory, happily circulated by the press after the Democratic senator from Illinois declared his candidacy, that Sen. Paul Simon is finding at least some of his support among "Graceland" fans who don't realize there are two Paul Simons and that one of them has never sung "Bridge Over Troubled Water" or "Parsley, Sage, Rosemary, and Thyme" -- at least not in public.

The Simon-Simon confusion was propounded by the usual sage political observers, who were surprised by the senator's third-place spot in polls at the time of his announcement in May. Could the old-line liberal in a bow tie be galvanizing voters by himself? Or did he have some pop culture assistance?

But even though the Simon for President organization laughs off the suggested connection, it has amassed a little supporting data.

"There's nothing to explain why Paul Simon the senator was at 1 percent prior to his announcement ... and within four weeks went from 1 to 9 to 13 points in the poll," says Fingerhut, having had his chuckle and moving on. "Obviously, there's nothing Paul Simon the singer did in that month which would magnify his {you know, the senator's} numbers from 1 to 13."

Fingerhut adds that if people were planning to vote with their stereos, pollsters could expect to find Simon the senator more popular among young, music-loving voters. Instead, he's most favored by people over 65 (who presumably would vote for a candidate named Frank Sinatra). Moreover, his support is strongest in the Midwest, Fingerhut says.

"If we were winning Hollywood and losing the Midwest," says Fingerhut, "it would be Paul Simon the singer, but as it is ..."

As it is, they're safe. Paul Simon the singer can bomb on his tour and the presidential campaign will survive.

Of course, the musical Paul has touched on some campaign issues in his oeuvre. "I need a photo opportunity," he sings. No candidate has said it better.

"Paul -- my Paul -- has actually at times thought of going into politics," says the singer's press representative, Dan Klores. "But then he's always asked himself the question, 'After I get elected, what do I do?' He has a tough time sitting behind a desk."

No endorsements have been issued either way, but Klores says, "If Paul Simon the songwriter was going to support someone publicly, it would be someone who would think along the lines of Senator Paul Simon. And if Paul Simon the songwriter was ever to wear a tie, it would be a bow tie."

The political Paul does sing, according to his wife Jeanne.

"My husband has a great bass voice," she says. "When he was in college, one of his great joys was to sing in the chorus, and he says to this day if he has a glass of wine, he can sing a Danish hymn he's fond of."

He plays the piano as well. "His favorite songs are things you can pound out. He likes to play things like 'The Battle Hymn of the Republic.' "

No record contracts have been offered.

"He calls my Paul 'the tall Paul Simon,' " says Jeanne Simon. "I think it's great -- don't you? -- that there's another person out there who's admired and respected and an artist with the same name. But there are a lot of Paul Simons in this world. I think there was an alderman in St. Louis who was indicted and convicted for some crime, so this is much better."

The two Simons in question met in 1984, when the singer agreed to attend a fundraiser for the politician during his Senate race. Fundraiser Rosemary Cribben, then a full-time member of the campaign staff, achieved that coup, and is now consulting for both Simons, helping the politician raise money and the singer arrange the funding for the eight-concert charity tour he is now close to completing.

"You know how hard it is to raise money -- any gimmick you can use is a draw," says Cribben of getting Simon to appear for Simon. She hopes to convince the short Paul to help out again in this campaign, but says, "They've been on tour since the first of the year -- they're real tired. This is not the time to bring it up."

So no word of it will be said at the concert, where at least 20 Simon staff members will show up wearing the obligatory Simon for President buttons. But "Simon the would-be-president," as Cribben calls him, will not be in the short Paul's audience tonight. The tall Paul and his backup group -- The Six Other Hopefuls -- will be singing their hearts out at a Democratic debate in Houston.