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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Party Preferences of Sports Fans Predictable, Turnout Not So Much

Reid Wilson has a fun post up at Hotline On Call, with a somewhat misleading title “Sports Viewers largely Republican.” Wilson discusses the results of a Nielson/Arbitron survey 0f 218,000 respondents, conducted between 8/8 and 9/9 by National Media Inc., a GOP firm. Among the findings, according to Wilson:

GOPers are most likely to watch the PGA Tour, college football and NASCAR, according to the study. But if GOP ad buyers want to reach more frequent voters, they should focus on the PGA; golf fans told researchers they were much more likely to vote than NASCAR fans say they are. Meanwhile, Dems hold the largest advantages among basketball fans, both those who watch the NBA and the WNBA. And fans of World Wrestling Entertainment are also much more likely to favor Dems — if they vote. Wrestling fans are less likely to cast ballots than any other sports fans…Those who watch Major League Baseball and the NFL are only slightly more conservative than the average voter, while those who watch college basketball are about 5% more likely to vote with the GOP.

No big shockers there, other than presumably intelligent grownups referring to pro wrestling as an actual ‘sport.’ But the following is kind of interesting:

Among the major sports, college football fans say they are most likely to vote, followed closely by MLB aficianados. NFL fans rate with NASCAR fans as less likely voters…The data is fun to peruse, but it has practical implications as well. Ad buyers should focus on sports programming, according to the analysis. That’s because sports fans are most likely to view events live instead of on a DVR machine, meaning they don’t skip the ads.
Dems tend to watch more TV than GOPers, and they dominate most kinds of programming. That means GOP ad buyers have fewer choices, and sports offer the best opportunity to reach their voters…Then again, not every sport has a devoted following. Fans of minor league baseball are high-propensity swing voters, but there aren’t all that many of them.

Almost all sports are covered in the survey analysis, including motocross, bull riding and monster trucks. No doubt the data is useful to political ad-buyers. As Wilson notes, “If you’re a GOP strategist looking for key primary votes, spend your valuable advertising money on PGA Tour events. If you’re a Dem trying to win over your base, focus on advertising during NBA games.”

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