PPP's 4th annual Super Bowl poll finds Americans rooting for the 49ers over the Ravens on Sunday by a 33/25 margin, although a 42% plurality don't care one way or the other who wins the big game.
The preference for the Niners holds true across party lines. Democrats (36/24), independents (29/21), and Republicans (34/28) are all pulling for San Francisco. The only groups we track who are rooting for the Ravens are African Americans (30/24), young voters (31/25), and the incongruous ideological groupings of 'somewhat liberal' voters (36/35) and 'very conservative' ones (27/23).
Having the upper hand in the court of public opinion has boded well for the eventual Super Bowl winning team in the three years we've been doing this poll. In 2010 we found Americans pulling for the Saints over the Colts 32/22, in 2011 we found a 43/27 preference for the Packers over the Steelers, and last year the Giants beat out the Patriots 37/27.
We also asked Americans what they thought about retiring Ravens star Ray Lewis. Despite the massive amount of press coverage he's received in the last month, only 42% of voters have an opinion about him. When we did a poll about 9 different Quarterbacks in December, more than 50% of voters were familiar with every single one of them. That's a good measure of how hard it often is for defensive players to get the respect they deserve, and why it's close to impossible for them to win things like the league's MVP award.
At any rate I don't care what the people think about Baltimore or Ray Lewis, as a very proud 2002 graduate of Ann Arbor's Pioneer High School I will be pulling hard for my fellow alumnus John Harbaugh, class of 1980. Go Ravens!
Full results here