5 reasons the Super Bowl is America’s biggest bipartisan day

February 2

What does the Super Bowl say about American politics? Absolutely nothing.


(Evan Vucci/AP)

The political chasm between Democrats and Republicans is as familiar as an old baseball glove. (Mixed sports metaphor alert!) But the Super Bowl marks one of the few American experiences stubbornly chaste of partisan disagreement. Here are a five ways that politics takes a much-needed day off:

1. The remote control is neither red nor blue

Just 51 percent of Americans voted for President Obama in 2012, but 81 percent said they're likely to watch this year's Super Bowl, including 81 percent of Republicans and 72 percent of Democrats, according to a survey by the Public Religion Research Institute earlier this month. Religion is divisive, you say? Not in this case! In the same survey, just as many Democrats as Republicans said they've prayed to God on behalf of their team (30 and 27 percent, respectively, admit to doing so). Meanwhile, roughly one in four of Democrat and Republican sports fans say they’ve rooted for an accursed sports team (27 and 23 percent, respectively).

2. Chicken wing consensus

Democrats and Republicans alike said chicken wings were the best snack to accompany their Super Bowl viewing, a fact provided courtesy of a Vanity Fair/CBS News survey before last year's big game; 25 and 30 percent apiece chose it as their favorite, ranking first across five traditional options. Pizza and chips came in a close second, while guacamole trailed in fourth. The biggest surprise? Only two percent picked hot dogs. C'mon!

3. The game > commercials

Despite advertisers' perennially entertaining offering, Democrats and Republicans watch the Super Bowl for the main event. In 2008, 81 percent of Democrats and 71 percent of Republicans said they tune in for the football, not the beer frogs.

4. Injuries? What injuries?

The occurrence and aftermath of head injuries in the NFL has received a lot more scrutiny in recent years. But it's not going to stop fans in either party from tuning in. More than eight in 10 Democrats and Republican football fans alike (85 and 89 percent) said reports of the effects of head injuries made no difference in their likelihood to watch football. A separate Washington Post poll found almost equal numbers of Democrats and Republicans said if football had fewer hits they’d “like the sport less” as said they would like it more.

Still, Democrats worry a bit more about injuries than Republicans.  Some 27 percent of Democrats said they were “very concerned” about the number of pro football injuries in a separate 2012 Post poll, compared with just 15 percent of Republicans. They were also more likely that year to follow news about lawsuits from former NFL players over concussions.

5. Don't bet on it

You can bet on just about everything in the Super Bowl, from the point spread to how many times Peyton Manning will bark out "Omaha!" But neither Democrats nor Republicans are good bets (see what we did there?) to throw down some cash in advance of the big game, if recent history is any guide. Only about one in seven Democrats (14 percent) and even fewer Republicans (8 percent) said they were likely to bet money on the eve of 2010 Super Bowl, according to a CBS News poll. Oddsmakers favored the Patriots by three points, but it was the Giants who prevailed with a four-point victory.  (Helmet catch!)

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