Halo 4 *(Microsoft)Could the Master Chief have an impact on the next Commander in Chief?
Political activists fear it's possible.
The November 6 release date of Halo 4 — which sees the return of Halo's iconic star -- coincides with Election Day in the U.S. And just like the annual release of the Madden franchise has been known to cause people to call in sick to work, politicos fear the game could keep younger voters away from the polls.
"It's unfortunate, because now we're going to have to compete with that when it comes to getting people out to the polls on Election Day," says Democratic activist Tim Heberlein.
The theory goes that the desired 18-35 voting demographic also happens to be the same demographic that plays Halo. Since it's been five years since players have been able to play a Halo game featuring Master Chief (the last two games, Halo: ODST and Halo:Reach, starred other protagonists), the excitement over the game could prove so distracting that they'll forget to vote.
A stretch? Maybe, but if it proves true, it could be particularly troubling to the Obama campaign, which relied heavily on the young vote in 2008. College voters chose the president over rival John McCain by a two-to-one margin.
Given the prolonged economic troubles the country has been facing, the 2012 race is expected to be a much closer contest. A Gallup daily tracking poll puts Obama and Romney in a statistical tie, with Romney leading among key independent voters. A CNN poll, though, gives the president a 9 point lead, with a 5 percent lead among independents.
The threat of the game impacting the election even has a nickname at this point — the "Halo Effect" (which, we suppose, is better than the "Madden Curse").
Not everyone's trembling in fear, though.
"Young people who are motivated to vote in this election will vote," said Florida democrat Jim Davis, a former member of the House.
As for Microsoft, they're insisting there was no political motivation in choosing the release date.
"The shared date is purely coincidental," the company said in a statement.