Americans Evenly Divided on Super Bowl; Brady a Lightning Rod

| Tom Jensen

PPP’s annual poll on the Super Bowl finds Americans evenly divided on the big game this year- 40% say they’re rooting for the Panthers and 40% say they’re rooting for the Broncos. There’s less division when it comes to who people actually think will win on Sunday- 56% say they believe the Panthers will be the winners to 32% who think the Broncos will come out on top.

There are big race and generational divides in terms of who people are rooting for on Sunday. The Broncos are strongly favored by white people (46/34) and seniors (55/28). Meanwhile the Panthers are the team of choice for nonwhite voters (53/26) and voters under 45 (46/31).

Despite the divide on who people are rooting for Sunday both franchises are pretty well liked overall. 64% of voters see the Broncos favorably to 18% with an unfavorable view. And 54% have a positive opinion of the Panthers to 21% who see them negatively.

Our look at the most and least popular Quarterbacks in the NFL finds that….they’re the same person. 23% say Tom Brady is their favorite QB to 16% for Peyton Manning, 13% for Aaron Rodgers, and 11% for Cam Newton. Brady has even more support when it comes to who people’s least favorite QB is, with 29% to 10% for Tim Tebow with no one else in double digits. We still throw Tebow in our polling because he’s such a lightning rod and despite not actually having played in the NFL in 3 years he comes out as the 5th most popular QB in the league at 7%, ahead of Ben Roethlisberger, Russell Wilson, Eli Manning, and Drew Brees. That’s thanks largely to Tebow finishing in a tie for second place among Republicans at 16%, behind Peyton Manning’s 20%.

Both Quarterbacks in Sunday’s game are broadly popular nationally. Manning has a 77/11 favorability rating, and Newton’s is 57/16. There is a pretty big difference among Republicans when it comes to the two Quarterbacks though- Manning comes in at 79/12 with them, while Newton’s rating is only 48/24. Newton’s favorability is 81/1 with nonwhite football fans, but only 46/23 with whites. Newton’s prominence this year has caused a lot of discussion about touchdown dances and overall football fans say they approve of them by a 57/27 margin. There are some divides in those numbers though. While fans under 45 say that they like the dances by a 67/21 margin, seniors say they disapprove of them 32/43. Democrats (70/17) are also a lot more fine with them than Republicans (48/31) are.

A couple final notes on Quarterbacks. NFL fans don’t have much faith in Johnny Manziel- only 16% say they think he will ever amount to anything to 45% who think he won’t and 39% who have no opinion about it one way or another. And we put the great question of our times to the test and found that only 21% of NFL fans think Joe Flacco is a elite Quarterback- 35% think he is not and 44% have no opinion on the matter one way or another.

Every time we’ve done a poll over the years on the most hated team in the NFL the Cowboys have won out. But this year there’s a new sheriff in town- 23% of fans say the Patriots are their least favorite team with the Cowboys dropping to second at 20% and no one else in double digits. It may be nice for the Cowboys to have dropped to only second most hated but we also asked if people still consider them to be America’s team and only 27% of fans do, to 64% who say they don’t deserve that designation.

The most popular team in the NFL is pretty bunched up. The Packers lead with 15% to 13% for the Panthers, 11% for the Patriots, 10% for the Cowboys, 9% for the Steelers, 8% for the Broncos, 7% for the Giants, and 6% for the Seahawks. 

A few final notes:

-Only 19% of NFL fans have a favorable opinion of Roger Goodell to 40% with a negative one and another 40% who have no opinion about him one way or another.

-Despite all the recent attention to long term injuries from the sport, 64% of fans say they would let their children or grandchildren play football to only 23% who say they wouldn’t.

-We find only 25% of NFL fans think the Redskins should change their name, to 64% who think it should be left as it is. By a 47/35 margin nonwhite fans do think the team ought to dump the Redskins moniker, but white fans are opposed to a change 15/77.

Full results here

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