It's probably time to turn the America's team label over to the Green Bay Packers. PPP's newest national survey finds that no matter how you measure it the Packers are more popular than the Dallas Cowboys, and in fact the Cowboys are actually America's least favorite team.
22% of voters say the Packers are their favorite team in the NFL to 11% for the Cowboys, 8% for the Bears, Giants, and Steelers, 7% for the Saints, 6% for the Patriots, 4% for the Redskins, and 2% for the Jets. 24% say someone else is their favorite team or that they don't have a favorite.
We also asked favorability questions about both the Cowboys and Packers. The Packers are seen positively by 57% of voters in the country to only 13% who have negative opinion. Their positive image is pretty universal- every subgroup we look at by ideology, gender, party, race, and age has a strong favorable opinion of them. The Cowboys meanwhile are generally viewed negatively, with 29% of voters having a favorable opinion of them to 41% with a negative one.
Finally we also asked a straight up 'horse race' style question about whether people like the Cowboys or Packers better. The Packers come out ahead 49-28 on that one. In an era of unprecedented political divisiveness liking the Packers better than the Cowboys is something Americans across the political spectrum can agree on- Democrats prefer the Packers 44-26, Republicans do 60-29, and independents do 44-30.
The Cowboys did come out first on one question in our poll: Americans' least favorite NFL team. 22% pick the Cowboys on that front to 11% for the Bears, 8% for the Packers, 7% for the Patriots and Redskins, 6% for the Steelers, 4% for the Jets and Giants, and 1% for the Saints. The Cowboys may deliver awesome tv ratings but these numbers suggest that's in large part because people are watching them and hoping they lose.
It's a murkier picture when it comes to crowning America's most popular quarterback. When you just ask straight up who's your favorite quarterback Tim Tebow comes out ahead by the narrowest of margins with 15% to 14% for Eli Manning, 12% for Peyton Manning, 10% each for Tom Brady, Drew Brees, and Aaron Rodgers, 6% for Michael Vick, and 4% for Ben Roethlisberger and Tony Romo. The Mannings are clearly very popular but since they're 'splitting the vote' it allows Tebow to finish first.
When you look at it in terms of ranking the quarterbacks by their net favorability though Peyton Manning emerges on top at +42 (51/9), followed by Brees at +40 (46/6), Tebow at +35 (50/15), Eli Manning at +32 (44/12), Aaron Rodgers at +31 (39/8), Tom Brady at +18 (35/17), Tony Romo at -4 (23/27), Ben Roethlisberger at -11 (20/31), and Michael Vick at -19 (24/43).
The crosstabs expose some more interesting divisions on the quarterbacks:
-Tim Tebow is viewed favorably by 68% of Republicans but only 39% of Democrats. Just to put those numbers into some context, none of the Republican Presidential candidates are even seen positively by 68% of Republicans. He's more popular than any of them.
27% of GOP voters pick him as their favorite QB, putting him in first place by a mile, but among Democrats he's only tied for 6th at 9%. The Mannings are the preferred quarterbacks of Democratic voters. 13% pick Eli as their favorite and Peyton has the best net favorability with them at +39 (49/10).
-Michael Vick's numbers are incredibly polarized along racial lines. African Americans see him positively 75/10, but whites see him negatively 16/52. 41% of blacks name him as their favorite quarterback with no one else above 13%, but only 2% of whites say he's their favorite.
Vick wins the dubious distinction of least popular QB with 26% picking him on that question to 15% for Roethlisberger, 11% for Eli Manning, 8% for Brady, 6% for Romo, 5% for Tebow, and 3% each for Rodgers, Brees, and Peyton Manning.
Methodological note: we picked the 9 teams to include based on this year's Harris poll of NFL team popularity, except we swapped in the Saints for the Colts because of the Colts' rough season. We chose the quarterbacks to include based on our best guess of who the 9 most well known currently in the NFL are.
Full results here