Politics Blog

Republicans claim they’re the better Seahawks fan on eve of Super Bowl

Washington State Republicans have decided to hitch their wagon to a winner.

A recent press release from the state party says Republicans are winners — just like your beloved Seattle Seahawks.

Here’s the full release:

When it comes to politics, fans of the Seattle Seahawks lean Republican. According to data-driven market research reported in the Seattle Times, Seahawk fans are “22 percent more likely to identify as Republican.”

We’re on a winning streak. In 2014, there were two clear-cut victories: the Seahawks’ Super Bowl victory over Denver in February, and the Republican victory over the Democrats in November.

Now the Seahawks are back in the Super Bowl. And we Republicans are aiming at more victories in 2015 and 2016.

With the right plan and the right team, winning is contagious, whether in football or politics.


Susan Hutchison

Chairman, Washington State Republican Party

Hutchison’s source is a blog post in The Seattle Times, headlined, “ Who is the 12th Man?” According to the blog, written by the Times’ news librarian, Seahawks fans are more likely to be Republican than Democrat, based on surveys conducted by the market-research firm Nielsen Scarborough.

I have a lot of Dems and a lot of Republicans on my Facebook feed, and without going back to measure carefully I would guess the Seahawks stuff is in fact coming more from Republicans. More than one of my liberal Facebook friends have gone out of their way to repudiate the NFL altogether.

Are the players and owners conservative? I can’t pretend to know what the political leanings would be of a young millionaire who plays a game for a living. Paul Allen is perceived as a Democratic supporter; he gave a large sum to Washington’s gun background-check initiative in 2014. According to reporting by NPR on the occasion of last year’s Super Bowl, Allen has given about equally to Democratic and Republican candidates.

The NPR piece also said that Russell Wilson was more popular among Democrats (39 percent favored him) than Republicans (25 percent liked Wilson).

One year later, I have to think, those Wilson popularity numbers must have shot way up on both sides of the spectrum.

I’m a stickler for numbers and truth in statistics (if there is such a thing), so it’s worth pointing out that the Times blogger’s idea of “Seahawks fan” is those people who responded “very interested” in a survey, when asked how interested they were in the NFL. (In the Seattle area, 35 percent of respondents said “very interested.”) Of course the leap from interest in the NFL to Seahawks fan is a bit too large to allow for conflation of the two. Last year, when the Seahawks faced the Broncos, we made contact with a lot of Denver fans in the county. I am very interested in the NFL, I will admit, but my allegiances lie with my hometown team, on the other side of the country.

Leaving that aside, I’m also unsure what the blogger means by “22 percent more likely.” Does that mean the survey showed that the number of Republicans was greater than the number of Democrats by 22 percentage points? In other words, 39 percent of respondents were Democrat and 61 percent Republican? That would be a GOP victory by a landslide.

But that’s not what “22 percent more likely” means. That means that the odds of finding a Republican Seahawks fan is 22 percent better than the odds of finding a Democrat. In other words, for every 1 Democrat Seahawks fan there are 1.22 Republican Seahawks fans. Put in percentages, the body of Seahawks fans is 45 percent Democrat and 55 percent Republican.

Whether or not you’re still with me, I guess that’s still a landslide for Republicans.