I’m not a huge sports fan, but some of the best political campaign advice I ever got came from a seasoned politicians who knew a lot about elections: make sure you know all the sports scores if you’re going to be out meeting the voters.
People want to feel comfortable with political campaign candidates who are asking them for their vote. They want to feel that they have something in common with the candidate. They want to see that the candidate at least has a passing interest in the news they like to follow . . . and few things inspire more passion and interest in Americans than local sports scores.
If you’re running in a local election for office and you aren’t already a sports fan, make sure that you glance over the sports page in your local newspaper every morning. A lot of the voters you meet while you’re going door-to-door and shaking hands are going to feel you out by asking what you think about the local basketball, baseball or football teams . . . and you don’t want to come up blank.
I’m not saying that you need to be disingenuous and pretend to love sports if you don’t. But having a little knowledge about the current status of local sports teams will lead to a lot of small talk with fans, and will make them feel much more comfortable with you. A first impression is very important, and it’s never good if a voter’s first impression of you is that you’re a boring person who he has nothing in common with.
Make a habit of catching the scores every morning during election season–and don’t forget about local high school sports, either. Many of the people whose votes you will be asking for will have children who attend the local schools, and they’ll be happy to hear that you take an interest in how the team is doing.
Just make sure that you don’t try to pretend to be a huge fan if you aren’t. Letting people know that you’re following the scores is fine, but lying about your level of involvement is a good way to get yourself into a heap of trouble.