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Super Bowl Interest Dips

Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2019

Public supports legalized sports betting by 5:3 margin

West Long Branch, NJ – It’s Super Bowl LIII Sunday and most Americans will be rooting for … no one.  More than half say it does not matter to them whether the Los Angeles Rams or the New England Patriots emerge victorious.  Only 1-in-6 have a lot of interest in what is typically the country’s biggest sporting event.  This marks a slight decline in interest compared to last year.  The Monmouth University Poll also finds that a small number of Americans will be placing a monetary bet on the contest.  Half support making sports betting legal.

When asked who they will be rooting for on Sunday, 29% of Americans are backing the Rams compared with 18% who are behind the Patriots. A majority of 52%, though, say it does not matter to them who wins.  In last year’s contest, a larger number (37%) were pulling for the NFC team (Philadelphia Eagles) while 16% backed the Patriots, which is similar to the support received by the repeating AFC champs this year.  Regionally, residents of the Northeast are more likely to back the Pats (32%) over the Rams (23%). On the West Coast, the Rams (34%) are preferred over the Patriots (13%). Game favorites in other regions look similar to the West (31% Rams–13% Patriots in the Midwest, 30%–17% in the Southeast, and 30%–14% in the Southwest/Mountain region).

“This year’s match-up doesn’t seem to have produced quite the same spark as 2018, which featured a clear underdog,” said Patrick Murray, director of the independent Monmouth University Polling Institute.

The Super Bowl may be the nation’s premier sporting event, but just 16% say they have a lot of interest in this year’s game, which is down from 21% in 2018. Another 34% have a little interest and half (50%) express no interest at all.  Just over one-third (35%) of Americans say they will not have the game on TV, which is up slightly from 31% last year. Another 28% say the game will be on but they will only pay a little attention to it, while 37% say they will be actively watching the game.  Men (44%) are more likely than women (29%) to say they will be watching the game.

A small but significant number of Americans have more than a rooting interest in the game.  About 6% say they will place a monetary bet on the outcome.

“Most of these Super Bowl bets are likely to be placed surreptitiously since few Americans have access to legal sports betting outlets. Many would like to see that changed,” said Murray.

Overall, half (50%) of the public supports legalized betting on sporting events, which is currently allowed in only a few states. Another 30% oppose this and 20% have no opinion. Men (60%) are more likely than women (40%) to support legalized sports betting.  Also, adults under age 55 (58% age 18-34 and 54% age 35 to 54) are more likely to back it than older adults are (40% age 55 or older).

One-in-five Americans plan to attend a Super Bowl party this year, with most going to someone’s house (15%).  Another 3% will be at a restaurant or bar and 2% are attending a party at some other venue.  Adults under the age of 35 (29%) are more likely than those age 35-54 (17%) and age 55 or older (12%) to be attending a Super Bowl party.

For many Americans, the action on the field is not the most appealing part of the game. Most say that the ubiquitous TV commercials will be the most interesting part of this year’s Super Bowl (53%, up from 49% last year). Just under one-third say the game itself will be more interesting than the ads (32%, down from 36% last year).  Women are more likely to be drawn in by the ads (63%, up from 54% last year) than the game (21%, down from 29%).  Men are divided between saying the game (45%, similar to 44% last year) or the commercials (43%, similar to 43% last year) will hold more interest for them.

The Monmouth University Poll was conducted by telephone from January 25 to 27, 2019 with 805 adults in the United States.  The question results in this release have a margin of error of +/- 3.5 percentage points. The poll was conducted by the Monmouth University Polling Institute in West Long Branch, NJ.

QUESTIONS AND RESULTS     

(* Some columns may not add to 100% due to rounding.)

[Q1-17 previously released.]

[Q18-34A held for future release.]

35. How much interest do you have in this year’s Super Bowl game – a lot, a little, or none at all?

TREND:Jan.
2019
Jan.
2018
A lot16%21%
A little34%34%
None at all50%45%
(n)(805)(806)

36. Will you be watching the game, will it be on a nearby TV but you will only pay a little attention, or won’t you have the game on at all?

TREND:Jan.
2019
Jan.
2018
Will be watching the game37%39%
Will be on a nearby TV but will only pay a little attention28%28%
Won’t have the game on at all35%31%
(VOL) Don’t know1%1%
(n)(805)(806)

37. Will you be attending a Super Bowl party, or not? [IF YES:  Will this be at someone’s home or at a restaurant or bar?]

 Jan.
2019
Yes, someone’s home15%
Yes, restaurant or bar3%
(VOL) Yes, other place2%
No79%
(VOL) Don’t know2%
(n)(805)

38. Which do you think will be more interesting – the game or the commercials?

TREND:Jan.
2019
Jan.
2018
Game32%36%
Commercials53%49%
(VOL) Both equally5%5%
(VOL) Neither8%8%
(VOL) Don’t know1%2%
(n)(805)(806)

39. Will you be rooting for the Los Angeles Rams or the New England Patriots, or doesn’t it matter to you who wins?

 Jan.
2019
Rams29%
Patriots18%
Doesn’t matter52%
(VOL) Don’t know1%
(n)(805)

40. Have you or will you place a monetary bet on the game, or not?

 Jan.
2019
Yes6%
No93%
(VOL) Don’t know1%
(n)(805)

41. In general, do you favor or oppose the legalization of betting on sporting events?

 Jan.
2019
Favor50%
Oppose30%
(VOL) Don’t know20%
(n)(805)

METHODOLOGY

The Monmouth University Poll was sponsored and conducted by the Monmouth University Polling Institute from January 25 to 27, 2019 with a national random sample of 805 adults age 18 and older, in English. This includes 405 contacted by a live interviewer on a landline telephone and 400 contacted by a live interviewer on a cell phone. Telephone numbers were selected through random digit dialing and landline respondents were selected with a modified Troldahl-Carter youngest adult household screen. Monmouth is responsible for all aspects of the survey design, data weighting and analysis. Final sample is weighted for region, age, education, gender and race based on US Census information. Data collection support provided by Braun Research (field) and SSI (RDD sample). For results based on this sample, one can say with 95% confidence that the error attributable to sampling has a maximum margin of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points (unadjusted for sample design).  Sampling error can be larger for sub-groups (see table below). In addition to sampling error, one should bear in mind that question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of opinion polls.

DEMOGRAPHICS (weighted)

Self-Reported

25% Republican
45% Independent
30% Democrat
 
48% Male
52% Female
 
30% 18-34
33% 35-54
37% 55+
 
65% White
12% Black
15% Hispanic

  8% Asian/Other

 
68% No degree
32% 4 year degree
  

Click on pdf file link below for full methodology and results by key demographic groups.

Download this Poll Report with crosstabs