Americans are divided about a lot of things these days, but there's one thing our new national poll finds they can come together on: wanting the Patriots to lose the Super Bowl. We find that among football fans nationwide, 53% are rooting for the Falcons to win on Sunday, compared to only 27% who are pulling for the Patriots. Republicans (58/23), Democrats (54/27), and independents (47/31) all give their support to the Falcons in pretty similar numbers. The Falcons have a very positive overall image as a team- 55% of fans see them favorably to 19% with an unfavorable view. Meanwhile attitudes toward the Patriots are considerably more divided, with 43% seeing them positively and 42% negatively.
To get an idea of the extent to which Tom Brady is a lightning rod, he won our poll on who people's favorite Quarterback in the league is...and he also won- with even more 'support' - our poll on who people's least favorite Quarterback in the league is.
On the favorite QB front Brady gets 22% to 16% for Aaron Rodgers, 11% for Eli Manning, and an impressive 10% for Dak Prescott in his first year in the league. Ben Roethlisberger and Russell Wilson each get 9%, followed by Matt Ryan at 7%, Tim Tebow at 6%, and Cam Newton at 2%. On the least favorite QB front Brady gets 24% to 15% for Newton, 10% each for Roethlisberger and Tebow, 8% for Rodgers, 6% for Manning, 4% for Prescott, and 2% each for Ryan and Wilson.
Both the Falcons QB and Coach have better images than their counterparts for the Patriots. Matt Ryan's overall favorability is 51/10, while Tom Brady's is 46/39. Dan Quinn has a pretty low profile but his +22 net favorability rating (30% positive, 8% negative) is a good deal better than Bill Belichick's, who comes in at +6 (40% positive, 34% negative.)
The Patriots are the most hated team in the NFL, an 'honor' they've taken away from the Cowboys ever since Deflategate. 21% of fans say the Pats are their least favorite team to 19% for the Cowboys, and 12% for the Bears with the Packers at 8%, the Giants and Steelers at 7%, the Broncos and Seahawks at 5%, and the Falcons at 3%.
There is one good piece of information for the Patriots in this poll though, and it's probably the most important piece- 52% of fans think the Patriots will win on Sunday, to only 36% who think the Falcons will take home the Super Bowl.
Favorite team in the NFL honors are bunched up with the Cowboys and Packers both at 14%, and the Patriots and Steelers both at 11%. The Falcons and Giants are at 8%, Seahawks at 7%, Bears at 5%, and Broncos at 4%. The Cowboys- probably the most bandwagon team in America- saw their percentage of fans increase from 10% last year to 14% this year following their strong season on the field. That hasn't changed one thing though- only 30% of fans consider them to be 'America's Team' to 60% who say they aren't.
Other notes from the football poll:
-On a couple of existential questions for the NFL the numbers are actually better for the league than they were a year ago. 50% of fans think the NFL will be around with football played in its current form in 2050, to 29% who think it won't be. When we asked that question last year only 46% thought the league would survive to 35% who thought it wouldn't. And 71% of fans this year say they would let their children or grandchildren play football, to only 19% who say they wouldn't. On that question 64% said yes last year and 23% said no. It feels like there's been a lot less discussion about concussions and player safety this year than there had been in the last few years, and that seems to be helping the league on some of these measures.
-There's an increased sense that Joe Flacco is not a elite Quarterback. 41% of fans this year say he is not elite, to 22% who think he is. That's up from 35% last year who said Flacco was not a elite Quarterback.
-There's not much that unites Donald Trump fans like opposition to the Redskins changing their name. 86% say they're opposed to that, to only 10% who say they would support a name change. We found a similar story when we polled in Ohio on whether the Indians should keep Chief Wahoo or not- 82% of Trump voters supported keeping that insignia to only 1% who were opposed. Clinton voters are opposed to the Redskins changing their name too- 53/30- but it's not the kind of unifier it is for Trump voters.
-Finally we find that the halftime show for Sunday's Super Bowl is very polarizing. Lady Gaga has an overall 45/37 favorability rating, but it's 59/23 with Democrats and just 28/56 with Republicans. 45% of fans say she is a good choice for the halftime show with 38% saying she's a bad one, and the party splits break out similarly to her favorability numbers.
Full results here