As counter-intuitive as it seems, election years are really not the best time to support political figures. And especially not this election year. After all, partisan arguments on both side of the aisle seem to have reached record levels – and record levels of arguing without bothering to actually listen to the other side, it seems – and the risk of accidentally upsetting someone by declaring a preference for one political candidate over another feels as if it is higher than ever before. And yet, it’s also the time when many people feel the most inclination to declare a preference, if only to out themselves as a supporter for a red or blue state mentality to the greater world. How, then, can you tell the Internet which Presidential candidate is going to get your vote without causing a fight on your Facebook comments thread? By dancing with them, of course.
Enter JibJab’s Great American Dance Off! Instead of simply, dryly, telling the world that Willard Mitt Romney or Barack Hussein Obama is your candidate of choice, it proposes, why not do so in a way that demonstrates that you haven’t lost your sense of humor about the whole thing? The Great American Dance Off! allows users to upload a photograph of themselves that will then be inserted in an animation where they will dance with either Obama or Romney that can be emailed to friends, or posted to either Facebook or Twitter.
That JibJab are getting in on the political act this year shouldn’t come as a surprise; it is a company, after all, that made its name initially with an animated duet between George W. Bush and John Kerry performing a version of “This Land is My Land” in time for the 2004 elections, and followed that for the 2008 elections with “Time for Some Campaignin’” featuring Bush, Dick Cheney, John McCain, Hillary and Bill Clinton and Barack Obama. Although the company announced earlier this year that they weren’t going to release a parody song for this year’s campaign, clearly they couldn’t find the strength to stay away from the subject entirely.
The Dance Off! does more than just allow users to watch themselves boogie with their Presidential bros, however; JibJab are also counting up how many users are selecting each candidate, to create a somewhat unscientific straw poll of JibJab users’ political preferences, and if it’s anything to go by, the real thing is going to end up very close indeed: At time of writing, Romney is trailing Obama by just 33,000 jigs, which – considering the traditional (if, potentially, mythical) left-leaning bias of tech early adopters – suggests that Romney is connecting with more voters than many within the political punditsphere are prepared to admit. Expect a long night come November 6… but at least you can spend part of it dancing.