More Americans are also paying attention to the Veterans Affairs problems and violence in Iraq, which seems reassuring until you attach numbers to the comparison. Only 25 percent of Americans are paying very close attention to Iraq. Twenty-eight percent of Americans are paying close attention to Veterans Affairs issues.
Although only a measly 17 percent of Americans are watching the World Cup very closely, that's higher than some other political topics, including the upcoming midterm elections (16 percent) and the recent Supreme Court decisions (15 percent).
Whatever Americans are thinking about right now -- summer vacation, or perhaps summer vacation -- it hasn't left them much time to consider which candidates they should vote for in November, or whether Uruguayan soccer stars might also be vampires.
However, some Americans have had more time for the World Cup than others. 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...
... 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.
Two groups Democrats just happen to need to turn out in the November election? Young people and Hispanics.
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.
Which leads us to the grand revelation that midterm season is the World Cup for old Republicans.
The real question, however, is will midterm elections ever "catch on" with the broader American public? If the World Cup remains a priority for voters like young people and Hispanics, Democrats are in trouble.