Come Sunday evening, just like more than 100 million people around the world, I’ll be watching the Super Bowl and I’ll be wearing my Vince Wilfork jersey. My wife and sons will don jerseys that show similar homage to Edelman, Gronk and Brady.
All of this is to say: I’m not your unbiased source for news about the Patriots. Nor is State & Capitol when you’re looking for articles about sports.
However, there’s been a poll on the matter and this IS where you read about a lot of those. Public Policy Polling (which like me is obviously testing the boundaries of its mission) released a poll Tuesday that found 50 percent of all National Football League fans think the Patriots and their deflated footballs cheated in the AFC Championship game.
My knee-jerk reaction was OK sure, the other half of the poll’s respondents must be Pats fans. I mean, obviously, right? Then I kept reading.
- 41 percent of voters overall (which includes a healthy percentage of people who don’t care about football and are going to scream if they hear “deflategate” one more time) think the Patriots cheated, versus 27 percent of those who think they didn’t.
- I promise not to hold this against Democrats (as far as they know): 46 percent of them think the Pats cheated, compared with 36 percent of Republicans.
- Bill Belichick has a terrible 28 percent favorability rating, which I’m guessing might be his personal favorite in a long list of superlatives that includes three Super Bowl wins.
- The poll put the Patriots in a two-team group with the Dallas Cowboys (the COWBOYS!?) for having a net negative favorability rating. We’re (notice how I used “we” there?) 36 percent favored. They’re four percentage points better at 40, even though another poll question found the Cowboys to be “America’s most hated team.” The Pats were second most hated followed by the Bears, Giants and Steelers. Most loved are the Green Bay Packers.
- Pats QB Tom Brady has a dismal favorability rating of 37 percent, which was 2 percent lower than last year. Two is also about the number of pounds per square inch that the Pats’ footballs were (allegedly) deflated. Clear correlation here.
- Just because this is a political blog and that’s a political poll: 38 percent of Republicans had a favorable view of the Cowboys, versus just 32 percent of Democrats. Draw your own conclusions.
“Yet for all that it’s not clear that the Patriots have really fallen that far on the field of public opinion for the simple reason that the franchise wasn’t very popular to start with,” wrote a PPP researcher, who must be a Cowboys fan.
Thirty-six percent of poll respondents said they will root for the Seahawks in the Super Bowl, versus 29 percent who are behind the Pats.
Which proves, definitively, that 36 percent of America is wrong.