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Thursday, April 01, 2010
Sports and politics, mixed

A recent study by National Media, Inc., a GOP firm (conducted by Scarborough USA, a joint project of Nielsen and Arbitron) found that dedicated sports fans tended to vote Republican than Democrat. The strongest Republican support was among fans of the PGA, college football, and NASCAR; strongest Democrat support was among fans of the NBA, WNBA, men's and women's tennis, and WWE (!). Fans of baseball, the NFL, and college basketball leaned Republican, but in somewhat closer numbers. The poll is based on 218,000 surveys conducted between August 2008 and September 2009.

Based in part on my interest in speech at sporting events, the connection between politics and sports (and sports fans) is of interest to me. The (likely) political make-up of the fan base at a game says a lot about what sorts of speech fans will tolerate from other fans at the game.

But I admit to being a bit surprised by the results, particularly the breakdown by individual sport. Although I probably should not be. Presumably white men make-up a big portion of sports fans and that group now tends to lean Republican. Conversely, perhaps women are more likely to self-identify as Democrats but less likely to be die-hard sports fans? There are presumptive geographic lines with some of the strongly GOP sports (NASCAR, bull riding) that map political lines. The college football and basketball numbers also are interesting. If (as I believe polling shows--I could be wrong) people with college degrees (or higher) lean Democrat, this poll suggests the people watching and rooting in those sports did not attend the colleges they are rooting for. Again, not a surprise, since the fan base for, say, Duke basketball or Florida football is broader than Duke student/alumni base. And a sport like college football again has geographic lines--it is probably most popular in the South and non-urban Midwest)--that map political lines. Finally, the size of the gap is surprising; if you look at the breakdown, Republicans enjoy a double-digit advantage among fans of most major sports (except baseball and pro basketball).

Maybe I just need a bigger circle. My closest friends and family all tend to be liberal Democrats who love sports.


I would say that this went just the way that I expected it to.

Blogger Pbenn001 -- 4/01/2010 4:22 PM  

I didn't expect to see WWE mentioned. Wonder how NHL fans go politically.

Anonymous Salem Attorney -- 4/01/2010 8:08 PM  

Strongly GOP (5th strongest--a +28 advantage). The white male explanation would seem to hold here.

Blogger Howard Wasserman -- 4/01/2010 8:15 PM  

A law professor whose closest friends and family are liberal democrats, really?

Anonymous Anonymous -- 4/02/2010 7:41 AM  

While I'm not too surprised by the demographics here, I find the discussion about people with college degrees leaning liberal and thus college sports fans must not be rooting for their own schools to be weak here. While generally those with advanced degrees may lean more towards the liberal side, I think that the political views of college graduates would follow many of the same geographic trends noted in your article...i.e. more conservative in the south rural midwest and more liberal in the north and urban areas.

Anonymous Anonymous -- 4/02/2010 10:49 AM  

Black Republicans make no sense to me. Pick up a history book.

Blogger KNEE JERK NBA -- 4/02/2010 2:22 PM  

Blogger KNEE JERK NBA said...

Black Republicans make no sense to me. Pick up a history book.

Abe Lincoln was a Republican so you need to reread that history book being as he freed the slaves. And maybe some black people believe in the free market and personal responsibility....

I cannot believe they included the WWE as a sport and not the NHL...

Anonymous Anonymous -- 4/03/2010 8:25 AM  

Did anyone look at the source article? The NHL is in there--it is the 5th strongest GOP sport.

Blogger Howard Wasserman -- 4/03/2010 8:35 AM  

"Abe Lincoln was a Republican so you need to reread that history book being as he freed the slaves."

You need to read further into that history book up to the part about the Civil Rights Act and Nixon's Southern Strategy, where the Republicans decided to take in the Dixiecrats and trade in the "Party of Lincoln" mantle for "Party of Maintaining Jim Crow, Black Poverty, and Voter Suppression".

There's a reason why Democrats routinely pick up 85-90% of the black vote, and it's not because the overwhelming majority of blacks are unable to determine which party better represents and defends them.

Anonymous Anonymous -- 4/03/2010 11:59 AM  

Hey anonymous, looks like you need to reread that history book you just told us to "reread"...again.

FACT: The "Dixiecrats" as you call them supported LBJ as Pres, but were NOT the driving force behind the Civil Rights Movement being passed. The Republican party (clearly identified by their party platform, which is available to read for yourself) promoted the Civil Rights Movement for minorities much earlier than the majority of LBJ's Demies did. It just so happened that much of the Civil Rights work came under, and with the support of Demie presidents (like Kennedy.)

Odd occurrence in history how most of the rest of the African American population IS unable to distinguish that historical fact. They vote Dem because the Presidents at the time of the Civil Rights movement were Democrat, not because a majority of Democrats were supporting the movement. More specifically, it is interesting how the vast majority of the rest of the African American community was unable to distinguish that just because a man has a Black non-US citizen from Kenya as a father, does not make him "black" like them nor necessarily a great candidate for President (90% voting for Obama on clearly racial lines.)

While the Repub. party now gets votes from many of those who descend from that Dixiecrat line, it wouldn't have to be that way if a minority block such as the majority of the African American community recognized these historical facts and engaged in changing the face of the party that truly did first fight for their basic rights. Many of the Repubs who did so, like Pres. Lincoln, based on strong religious conviction, another distinctive that marks the current makeup of the Republican party.

Again, reread your left-tainted history book.

Personally, I think both parties are crap and we need more competition, but this whole "Democrats have always supported the black man" mentality is one of the more comical farces of the current Democratic message and psyche of our African American society.

By the way, you don't have to be Democrat to be black, sucka

And if you don't like it, go pout to your boy Obama

Anonymous Anonymous -- 4/03/2010 12:27 PM  

The original post here had nothing to do with the relative merits of either political party or why particular groups have or should belong to either party. Please take it to a different forum. Thanks.

Blogger Howard Wasserman -- 4/03/2010 4:07 PM  

isn't this simply a representation of gender gap?

Anonymous ronen dorfan -- 4/06/2010 11:18 AM  

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