Republicans and Democrats disagree about lots of things. But here’s something on which voters from both sides of the political divide can unite: dislike of the Dallas Cowboys.
It’s true. We are not making this up. According to a new Public Policy Polling survey, 61 percent of Republicans, 57 percent of Democrats, and 63 percent of independents answer with a resounding “no” when asked whether the Dallas Cowboys are, in fact, “America’s Team."
“In a time of unprecedented division there’s one thing Americans agree on across-the-board,” said Dean Debnam, PPP president, in a statement. “The Cowboys aren’t America’s team – in fact, they’re America’s least favorite team.”
A plurality of 23 percent of Americans picks the Cowboys as their least favorite NFL franchise, according to PPP. Democrats are slightly more likely than Republicans to rate the 'Boys "least fave," but the margin is slight.
Given the depth of partisan wrangling, it’s perhaps heartening to see something on which Speaker John Boehner (R) of Ohio and President Obama could safely shake hands. (OK, it’s probably not heartening if you’re from Dallas. Don’t send me hate mail – I’m just reporting the facts.) It’s also indicative of the binding power of sports in an age in which audiences increasingly fragment into political and entertainment niches.
Voters from both parties generally go for the Denver Broncos as today’s most popular NFL team, for example. PPP notes this is driven to some extent by the popularity of quarterback Peyton Manning, a Hall of Fame player and accomplished ad pitchman. It’s also reflective of the fact that Democrats and Republicans alike go for winners. The Broncos are good this year, so they rate high. In 2011, the then-undefeated Green Bay Packers rated at the top of PPP’s favorite rankings.
Asked to rate quarterbacks, Republicans and Democrats generally come up with the same list. Peyton Manning is on top, with around 22 percent of respondents picking him as their favorite QB. Tom Brady of the New England Patriots and Robert Griffin III of the Washington Redskins tie for second at 13 percent.
But never underestimate the ability of journalists to dive into the numbers and find controversy in the cross-tabs. After perusing the PPP poll, we found a couple of places where Republicans and Democrats, in fact, seem to have statistically significant differences over the NFL.
One of them is Tim Tebow. The ex-Jet benchsitter seems significantly more popular in the GOP. He’s rated favorably by 68 percent of Republican respondents. Among Democrats, only 39 percent rate him favorably, however.
That’s the biggest partisan split among any of the nine quarterbacks PPP asked voters to rate. Most likely it’s due to Mr. Tebow’s well-known evangelical Christianity.
Drew Brees of the New Orleans Saints also polls significantly better among Republicans. He got a 52 percent favorable rating from GOP respondents and only 38 percent from Democrats. The reason for that is ... we have no idea what the reason for that is. Anyone? Actually, in general it looks like Republicans rate most individual quarterbacks at least a bit more favorably than Democrats do. If we were a pundit, we’d say that was due to the GOP focus on individuality, as opposed to the Democratic focus on collective responsibility.
Not that we’d really know.
Lastly, there’s the Chicago Bears. Fourteen percent of respondents who said they voted for President Obama in 2012 ranked “da Bears” their favorite team. But only six percent of Mitt Romney voters polled said the same thing.
Is it a coincidence that Obama is from Chicago and roots for the Bears? We think not.