Who’s Excited for the Super Bowl?
|February 2, 2012||Posted by ReubenFB under Geo-Analysis|
The 2009 Super Bowl featured a dramatic East-West matchup, with the Steelers and Cardinals separated by 1,833 miles of good ‘ol frontier land. 2010 was a North-South contest, with 714 miles of Louisiana Purchase dividing the Colts and the Saints. Even the Packers and Steelers were 497 miles apart.
This year, the Patriots and Giants are 170 miles apart. Word on the street is that most of America isn’t so psyched for The Rematch.
The ESPN poll above can help us test this theory that this Super Bowl is regionally confined. Unfortunately when you map the question like ESPN did, America looks like an ad for Peptol Bismol. So to clean it up we’re going to combine the votes into a single weighted average for each state, here are the results:
Not surprisingly, New England, New York, and New Jersey are pumped for Super Bowl XLII, with the Southeast and parts of the Midwest also showing above-average interest. On the other end, Wisconsin comes in on the bottom with an interest score of only 2.6, although Wyoming isn’t far behing at 2.8.
Looking at these two states, it should be pretty obvious that there are two very different ways to “not be interested” in the game. This year’s Green Bay Packers were supposed to be the huggable version of the 2007 Patriots, instead they became the 2005 Colts. Wisconsin may not be happy about this Super Bowl, but they’re still opinionated about it. Wyoming, on the other hand, is probably just apathetic. These speculations are supported by the voter turnout for this poll, with Wisconsin drawing 241 votes per million inhabitants – the 4th highest among all states – while Wyoming only managed 106 votes per million.
When we calculate the voter turnout of each state and plot it against its interest score, here’s what we get:
Note: intersection of the axes is the average for both both turnout and interest score.
Quadrant I: Fuck Yeah Let’s Go (high interest and turnout)
No surprises here, your New England and the New York City friends are excited for this one. Like really excited. Avoid them.
Quadrant II: Bad Losers (low interest, high turnout)
Packers fans are bitter, and they want to talk about it. Ravens fans got even closer to the Bowl, but with none of the expectations or likeability. Utah might seem like the odd one out, but it’s definitely in Broncos country, and it’s tied for 3rd-highest church attendance in the US. Did Tewbow-mania turn Utah into the true core of this playoff-embarrassed team?
Quadrant III: What Kind of Bowl? (low interest, low turnout)
Wyoming may not care about this Superbowl, but at least they dominate the World Forage Analysis Superbowl.
Quadrant IV: The Enigmas (high interest, low turnout)
This quadrant is pure speculation. Has Mississippi, caught in the crossfire of two NCAA powerhouses turned away from college football altogether? Has Florida’s burgeoning Hispanic population thrown their weight behind a Super Bowl starring Victor Cruz and Aaron Hernandez? Can I slyly downplay my own homestate’s poor turnout?
The real story of this graph is the clump of 36 states right in the middle, 17 of which were in Quadrant III. The indifference of these states is the strongest indication that this Super Bowl might really be a Northeastern affair, the sort of small-time regional rivalry that over 100 million people are probably going to watch anyways.