The NFL somehow managed to play every one of its scheduled games this year, though a few of them had to be delayed or relocated. That’s fairly impressive when you consider all of the complications of the plague. But now that Super Bowl Sunday is upon us, will viewers be returning in droves for what is typically one of the highest-rated television events of the year? Not all of them, at least according to a new poll released this week by Morning Consult. The drop in anticipated viewership is being seen more among Republicans than Democrats and it’s at least partly due to the league’s embrace of left-winig political ideology and social just mantras.
Despite both Super Bowl LV contenders hailing from states that backed Donald Trump in the 2020 presidential election, and Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady’s ties to No. 45, Republicans are less likely than Democrats to watch Sunday’s game, according to pregame polling data.
It’s the latest sign that, after years of regaining their affection, the NFL has once again fallen out of favor with the party of Lincoln.
In a Morning Consult poll conducted Jan. 25-26, 59 percent of Republicans said they were likely to tune in this weekend, 10 percentage points less than the 69 percent of Democrats who said they expected to watch. The gap in expected viewership this year is far larger than prior to each of the past two Super Bowls and comes in the wake of a season during which members of the GOP turned on the league due to its embrace of social justice activism.
I hadn’t really noticed this trend previously, but it seems that more Democrats have planned to watch the big game than Republicans for several years now. But the gap has historically been smaller. It was only four percent in 2020 and three percent in 2019. We can’t blame this one on the novel coronavirus, though. If anything, Americans have been watching considerably more television during the lockdown. Netflix, in particular, has really benefitted from a literally captive audience across the country.