Why Should New Hampshire Have All the Fun?
Super Bowl Party Nominates
John Kerry for President:
Patriots reject Bush
Panthers Embrace Republican President
In addition to Republicans and Democrats, there's another party: the Super Bowl Party. Some 63% of America's adult population will watch the game on Sunday, February 1st. Still others will watch some portion of the national event, whether just commercials or the half-time show. According to Fairleigh Dickinson University's nationwide Super Poll, the bi-partisan group, made up of both hard core and merely social fans, nominates John Kerry as the challenger to President Bush.
Kerry garners 22% of the vote among those who will be tuning in on Sunday, February 1st. Kerry's closest rivals, Howard Dean and John Edwards, trail Kerry by 9 points with just 13% apiece. "The Iowa Bounce affects Super Bowl fans as well as New Hampshire." said Peter J. Woolley, a political scientist and director of the poll. "They're going to need more than a touchdown and a two point conversion to catch Kerryand the clock is working against them." Joe Lieberman and Wesley Clark are the big losers at the Super Bowl Party, each getting just 10%.
Super Bowl watchers, whether intense fans or just hangers-on, are bipartisan in composition: Republicans, Democrats, Independents and even non-voters watch the game in equal percentages. "We chose to poll the Super Bowl because these fans are far more representative of the nation than the folks in New Hampshire," explained Woolley. "Besides, it's good to see Republicans and Democrats come together on something in an election year." Nonetheless, the Super Bowl Party prefers the Carolina Panthers to the New England Patriots by a margin of 41% to 34%. When leaners are included the Panther preference stretches to 45% to 36%.
When asked whether they would re-elect Bush or vote for his Democratic opponent, Super Bowl watchers break only slightly for Bush 42%-39%, a statistical dead heat given the poll's margin of error. When the name of the Democratic opponent is given, Bush beats all comers.
Kerry and Edwards fare best against the President. Coincidentally, Kerry and Edwards are two candidates who represent contending states in the Super Bowl. Kerry is from Massachusetts where the New England Patriots play. Edwards is from North Carolina where the Panthers play. The other three candidates for the nomination hail from states with no NFL franchise.
But the President does not get 50% of the Party's vote against any Democratic nominee, even Howard Dean. "It's still the first quarter of the election year," said Woolley, "and getting past the 50 yard line is essential in the big campaign game."
The Super Bowl Party is not without dissension in its ranks. Democrats are more likely than Republicans to endorse the New England Patriots. "This Democratic preference for the Patriots is ironic," commented Woolley, "given their carping about the Patriot Act." Moreover, Patriot fans are more likely than Panther fans to say the country is on the "wrong track." Patriot fans also give the President lower ratings than Panther fans. In fact, Patriot fans would not put Bush back into the White House, voting for a generic Democratic opponent by a margin of 43%-37%. And if Kerry were the Democratic nominee, Patriot fans would elect him over Bush by a margin of 43%-40%. "The findings are surprising," said Woolley. "The pundits were saying Patriots would break heavily for Bush."
Bush racks up larger margins of approval among Panther fans than among Patriot fans. Panther fans vote to re-elect the President by a margin of 43%-37%. And if Kerry were the Democratic nominee, Panthers would go for Bush by a margin of 49%-33%. Bush also gets bigger margins from the core fans who watch football regularly and never miss a Super Bowl.
Self-described conservatives tend to be either regular fans or non-watchers. Liberals are more likely to be "social fans" than either hard core fans or non-watchers.
The PublicMind poll of 801 adults nationwide was conducted from January 20 to January 26. The margin of error for 801 adults is +/- 3.5% percentage points. Sub-samples have larger margins of error.
Peter Woolley 973.670.3239
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