Poll: 41% of Mich. voters prefer U-M; 31% like Sparty

Submitted by BlueinDC on June 1st, 2012 at 11:15 AM


A few months back, at the height of the Republican presidential primary in Michigan, robopolling outfit Public Policy Polling (PPP) included some questions on football in their survey
PPP released some new numbers on Friday, which includes some data on fandom for the Wolverines versus Sparty. 
Some toplines: 
  • 41 percent of Michigan voters said they're fans of the University of Michigan; 31 percent root for Sparty, while 28 percent said they're unsure. 
  • As a matter of contrast, in February, PPP's numbers pegged fandom in Michigan as 37 percent Wolverines, 31 percent Sparty, and 32 percent "not a fan of either school." (a slightly different response option than May's survey).
  • Breaking it down along gender in May's numbers, among women: 39 percent U-M, 32 percent Sparty, 28 percent unsure; among men: 44 percent U-M, 30 percent Sparty, 26 percent not sure
  • As we saw with February's numbers, there's a slight departure in fandom among partisan lines (though that's not necessarily shocking). Democrats prefer Michigan over Sparty, 54-25 percent (21 percent unsure). Republicans break for Sparty, 44-29 (27 percent unsure). Independent voters slightly prefer Michigan, 36-27 percent, with 36 percent unsure. 
A note of caution: PPP is an automated pollster (versus live response), and some outfits contend these results tend to be less reliable. PPP is also considered a Democratic pollster, because of the work it does for Democratic campaigns. I'm trying to add full disclosure; these numbers are intended more as a fun discussion point. 
The May poll was conducted May 24-27, and has a margin of error of +/- 4.4 percent. The full crosstabs are here.



June 1st, 2012 at 11:33 AM ^

While they are definitely "partisan" in that they work for one party, historically they are very accurate.  Nate Silver over at fivethirtyeight.com does analysis on pollster accuracy and if I recall PPP is usually among the top group.


June 1st, 2012 at 11:33 AM ^

I am not sure how to comment on this post without violating the "no politics" rule, so I will simply say that the R/D breakdown is very interesting.


June 1st, 2012 at 11:54 AM ^

MSU fans will brag about this and start talking about a certain giant global retailer.



Edit:  And apparently somewhat thought this was an overrated comment.  But it's a true comment.  MSU fans love to brag about how they have less fans because they usually just have fans that graduated from MSU (or so they claim), not "Walmart Wolverines."    It's stupid, but that's what  MSU fans will perceive this stat in trying to favor it towards MSU.

Moe Greene

June 1st, 2012 at 11:39 AM ^

Many Sparty grads will somehow read 31% as less than 41% and assume that these rankings are in numerical order so that they're 10% better than us...


/ basic stats FAIL




June 1st, 2012 at 11:55 AM ^

I think Sparty's 31% would be higher if they weren't so uncoothe towards the "non-alumni" fans (i.e. Walmart shoppers). I love that we're open to all fans (alum and non-alums) and I'm sure Dave Brandon is as well.


June 2nd, 2012 at 12:21 AM ^

It's not necessarily that MSU fans are unwelcoming to Wal-Marters it's that any Wal-Mart fan type would generally gravitate toward the more successful program. Hence the skewed fandom toward Michigan. No one would voluntarily root for Sparty, that's senseless.


June 1st, 2012 at 12:19 PM ^

Weird results.  I bet alligiances in the city of Detroit has something to do with the party breakdown.  Also interesting that the women vote for Sparty was higher than for men, and yet democrats favored UM (you'd there'd be a relation b/w female and democratic vote).  Also interesting that the school fandom by party changed so radically in a few months.  The first report was:

 Obama voters, 40 percent favor Michigan, 27 percent favor Sparty. Of McCain voters, Michigan still leads, at 35 percent, followed by Sparty at 34 percent. (Corrects 53 to 35 for McCain)


And now:

Democrats prefer Michigan over Sparty, 54-25 percent (21 percent unsure). Republicans break for Sparty, 44-29 (27 percent unsure). Independent voters slightly prefer Michigan, 36-27 percent, with 36 percent unsure. 

not exactly the same question in both polls, but still I am surprised by the huge difference. 


June 1st, 2012 at 12:33 PM ^

The big disparity may just reflect that there's not really a strong correlation between the two things (as, frankly, one might expect).

As others have stated, the loyalties of Detroit and Ann Arbor probably have more to do with the party breakdown than any sense of "Democrats inherently like Michigan more than Republicans"

turd ferguson

June 1st, 2012 at 1:23 PM ^

I think the difference is that Independents were treated as their own group in one poll but not the other.  Figure that:

- Democrats strongly prefer UM
- Republicans strongly prefer MSU
- Independents are in the middle

The recent poll has all three groups, which shows the sharp difference between Democrats and Republicans.  The older poll has only Obama voters (Democrats + some independents) and McCain voters (Republicans + some independents).  The differences were watered down in that poll by the requirement that everyone who voted had to be either in the "Democrat" group (Obama) or the "Republican" group (McCain).

Section 1

June 1st, 2012 at 12:27 PM ^

You may remember 'Public Policy Polling' from such polls as...  this little gem from 2010:


Here's the routine; Public Policy Polling commissions its own poll.  They do popular-interest items and they seem to have a penchant for college football.  (Can anybody think of anything, religion and politics included, that stratifies and divides demographic groups like college football?)  PPP releases it as press release.  The newspapers, looking for lazily-supplied free content, publish it.  The readers love it.  PPP gets its name into press.  Free content for the paper, free adverstising for PPP.


June 1st, 2012 at 12:49 PM ^

hence the R/D breakdown is exactly what we should expect. I don't think many people would dispute that the regional loyalty breakdown is West side for Sparty, East side for the Maize and Blue. Party breakdown is West side for the GOP, East side for the Dems. QED


June 1st, 2012 at 5:15 PM ^

Michigan fan in Kalamazoo here, and by far there are more MSU fans and grads living in Kalamozoo than Wolverines.

PS: I've heard of a certain Republican who happens to be a Michigan grad. He's lived in Lansing since 2010 and will live there until at least 2014. 

Just saying these are all pretty false presumptions.


June 2nd, 2012 at 7:41 AM ^

41-31-28 is good for Michigan, but let's not forget one other fact: 100% of current SI swimsuit cover models prefer Michigan to Sparty.