Seton Hall Sports Poll, January 2016, Super Bowl and Politics

And Which Candidate Would You Want Coaching Your Team?

South Orange, NJ, January 28, 2016 — With the Super Bowl coming right as the presidential primary season “kicks off,” Americans said they were following the presidential contests by more than a 2-to-1 margin over football, with 60% choosing the political contests, and 24% the Super Bowl. 53% say the political races will be the most competitive, compared to 37% naming the Super Bowl. (By party, 35% name the Republican race, 18% the Democratic race).

The responses came in the latest Seton Hall Sports Poll, which polled 771 Americans (by landline and cellphone across the nation) this week. The margin of error is 3.6%.

Blending sports and politics, Donald Trump was the choice of 32% when the Poll asked “which candidate would you like to have coach your favorite team?” Hillary Clinton, Ted Cruz and Bernie Sanders each received 15%. (Interestingly, among African-American respondents, a third named Clinton, about double any other candidate on the list).

The reasons for watching the Super Bowl are of course, varied. 40% said it was best explained because they were football fans, with 19% saying they were a fan of one of the participating teams, 18% saying it was a “big event,” and 10% interested in the commercials. Only 2% said it was primarily because they had a bet on the game, although in another question, 13% said they participated in wagering on the game.


Regarding commercials, 52% acknowledge that they watch Super Bowl commercials more closely than in other TV shows, with 39% saying “about the same.” 88% said seeing a product advertised in the Super Bowl would make no difference in their buying habits, and the remainder is split.

“This news reinforces the prices charged for Super Bowl ads,” noted Rick Gentile, director of the Poll, which is sponsored by The Sharkey Institute. “88% may say it doesn’t influence them, but when 52% say they pay more attention to ads during the game than in other TV shows– that’s a powerful number for advertisers to focus on.”


Peyton Manning, whose name emerged recently as having been sent human growth hormones (the report was on Al Jazeera and was recanted by the source), was the subject of a question on whether that report changed opinions about him. (During the polling period, the NFL announced it would investigate the charges). A significant 11% said they thought “less favorably” of him, and 76% said it had no effect. 3% said they felt more favorably towards him.


Pete Rose, who will be inducted in the Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame this year, was the subject of two questions, the first asking whether that was appropriate – to which 47% said yes, 33% no. The second asked if he should be eligible to be elected to the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, to which 56% said yes, 28% no.


A question was also asked whether a player being investigated for domestic violence offenses off the field should be suspended by his sport or allowed to play. 48% said the player should be suspended, and 39% said the player should be allowed to play. Broken down by gender men said allowed to play by 49%-43% over suspended. Among women, it was 52% suspended, 30% allowed to play.

For a fully produced podcast in which Seth Everett interviews Rick Gentile tonight, you may stream the podcast :–super-bowl-pete-rose-hall-of-fame

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About the poll:

This poll was conducted by telephone January 25-27 among 771 adults in the United States. The Seton Hall Sports Poll is conducted by the Sharkey Institute.

Phone numbers were dialed from samples of both standard landline and cell phones. The error due to sampling for results based on the entire sample could be plus or minus 3.6 percentage points. The error for subgroups may be higher. This poll release conforms to the Standards of Disclosure of the National Council on Public Polls.

The Seton Hall Sports Poll has been conducted regularly since 2006.

Media: Media: Marty Appel Public Relations,; or

The results


  1. Do you plan to watch the Super Bowl on Feb. 7?

Yes 68%

No 29

Don’t know 4


2. Which of the following best explains why you’ll be watching the Super Bowl?

I’m a fan of one of the teams 19

I’m interested in seeing the commercials 10

I’m a football fan 40

It’s a big event 18

I have a bet on the game 2

Other 9

Don’t know 3


3. In the next two weeks will you pay more attention to news about the upcoming Super Bowl or the presidential contests?

News about Super Bowl 24

Presidential contests 60

Don’t know 16


  1. Which do you think will be most competitive, the Republican presidential race, the Democratic presidential race or the Super Bowl?

Republican race                                      35

Democratic race                                     18

Super Bowl                                              37

Don’t know                                              10


  1. Of the following presidential candidates which would you like to have coach your favorite team, Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders or Ted Cruz?

Trump                                                      32

Clinton                                                      15

Sanders                                                    15

Cruz                                                          15

Other                                                        10

Don’t know                                              13


  1. Do you tend to watch commercials in the Super Bowl more closely,

less closely or about the same as in other TV shows?

More closely                                            52

Less closely                                                9

About the same                                      39



  1. Would you be more likely to buy a product advertised on the Super Bowl, less likely or does it make no difference?

More likely                                               7

Less likely                                                 5

No difference                                        88


  1. Do you participate in any pools or wagering on the Super Bowl?

Yes                                                            13

No                                                             82

Prefer not to say                                       5


  1. Has the recent news concerning the risk of permanent injury to football players made you more interested, less interested or has it had no affect on your interest in the Super Bowl?

More interested                                      14

Less interested                                          9

No affect                                                   73

Don’t know                                                 5


10. A report last month by the news service Al Jazeera claimed that Peyton Manning and other sports stars were sent human growth hormones in 2011 by an anti-aging clinic despite the fact that it was recanted by the source. Did this story make you think more favorably of Manning, less favorably or did it have no effect on your opinion of him?

More favorably                                         3

Less favorably                                         11

No effect                                                  76

Don’t know                                                9


  1. Switching to baseball now, it was announced Pete Rose will be inducted into the Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame and have his number retired by the team. Do you think this is appropriate considering his ban for life by Major League Baseball for betting on games while active?

Yes                                                            47

No                                                             33

Don’t know                                              20


  1. Do you think Pete Rose should be eligible to be elected to baseball’s Hall of Fame in Cooperstown?

Yes                                                            56

No                                                             28

Don’t know                                              16


  1. The New York Yankees traded for a player who is being investigated by Major League Baseball for a domestic violence incident although he was not charged with a crime by authorities. Do you think players should be allowed to continue to play while being investigated for violent offenses or should they be suspended pending the results of the investigation?

Allowed to play                                       39

Suspended                                               48

Don’t know                                              13

  1. How closely do you follow sports, very closely, closely, not closely or not at all?

Very closely                                             18

Closely                                                      41

Not closely                                               27

Not at all                                                   14







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