Every four years the Olympics rolls around capturing the attention and time of people around the globe. In America, the timing with the Presidential campaign creates a bit of distraction and focus of citizens.
The Olympic Factor - a subtle, yet notable 'interruption' of the American political process. This factor draws attention by major media away from the mass coverage of the Presidential campaigns and on the Olympic games. When the public is not tuned in to political news, the campaigns dive in to advertising to stay relevant in the eyes of the electorate. During this four week period the campaigns will be scrapping for as much coverage of their candidate as they can capture.
An example of how the Olympics can be a plus and minus to a campaign is Mitt Romney's timing for his Vice-Presidential announcement. Prior to the start of the Olympics, there was quite a build up and hype about a Republican VP announcement. Quickly pundits and insiders said the announcement would be made after the Olympics had concluded. Analysts on Fox News commented how the announcement would be more effective after the Olympics to take advantage of the lapse of newsworthy topics.
How could the Olympics have such a effect? Americans love to support our Olympic athletes. And the media wants to be in position to take advantage of increased listener/viewership with additional coverage and Olympic features. In essence, the media wants to boost their ratings to bring in more advertising revenue. The media is going where the 'money' is. The television and radio stations already know they have a gold mine of political ads waiting to take them through Election Day.
Just enjoy the Olympic factor now, because in a few weeks the news media and campaign ads will be building to a frenzy till November 6. By the way we are less than 100 days till the big day.