PRINCETON, NJ -- While the general public is evenly divided in its rooting interests in this Sunday's Super Bowl, pro football fans say they would like the Arizona Cardinals -- rather than the Pittsburgh Steelers -- to win, by 44% to 35%.
This is according to a Jan. 27-28 USA Today/Gallup poll. The oddsmakers favor the Steelers -- five-time Super Bowl champions -- to win the game over the Cardinals, who are making their first appearance in a Super Bowl. The underdog role may help explain football fans' preference for the Cardinals.
The poll finds that, as might be expected, rooting loyalties vary by region, with those in the East more likely to favor the Steelers, and those in the West more likely to want the Cardinals to win. Midwestern residents slightly favor the Cardinals, perhaps reflecting some lingering affinity for the team that previously called Chicago and then St. Louis home before moving west in the 1980s.
These regional preferences are even more pronounced among pro football fans.
Majority of Americans Will Watch Game
Sixty-one percent of Americans say they plan to watch the game. This is similar to, though down slightly from, what Gallup has found in prior years.
Eighty-five percent of pro football fans intend to tune in to the game.
Perhaps not surprisingly because of the teams involved, viewing intentions among all Americans are greater in the East (66%) and West (67%) than in the Midwest (53%) and South (58%).
Since men are much more likely than women to be football fans, it follows that men would be more likely than women to watch the game. While this is true (67% of men, compared with 54% of women, plan to watch), a majority of women say they are planning to view the game.
Additionally, there are rather large differences in planned viewership by income, with wealthier Americans much more likely than less wealthy Americans to intend to watch. Gallup has found similar income differences on this count in the past.
Results are based on telephone interviews with 1,040 national adults, aged 18 and older, conducted Jan. 27-28, 2009. For results based on the total sample of national adults, one can say with 95% confidence that the maximum margin of sampling error is ±3 percentage points.
For results based on the sample of 504 pro football fans, the maximum margin of sampling error is ±5 percentage points.
Interviews are conducted with respondents on land-line telephones (for respondents with a land-line telephone) and cellular phones (for respondents who are cell-phone only).
In addition to sampling error, question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of public opinion polls.