Political Skew of Sportsfans

I just thought this chart was interesting.  The source reported it as evidence that ESPN's strategy of being more explicitly political and skewing Left makes no sense given its audience.  I don't particularly care if ESPN skews Left or Right, it is their decision to add political content of any sort to all their programming that has turned me off. (source)



  1. ErikTheRed:

    Monster truck and extreme sports fans leaning left is an amusing surprise.

  2. FarmBoy11B:

    What's interesting to me is where UFC, WWE, and super truck fans fall on this chart. None of the rest surprise me. Is there actual data behind this?

  3. J_W_W:

    Note to PGA, go SJW and you're gonna end up cooked....

  4. MJ:

    I was very surprised by where the LPGA appeared on this spectrum. Men's PGA? Not so much.

  5. J_W_W:

    Supercross, the sport of true equality!!

  6. MJ:

    Extreme sports don't surprise me, since they tend to be both practiced by a mostly urban population and also concentrated in certain left-leaning states like California and Colorado. Monster truck fans appear to be largely centrist (at least by whatever index has been constructed here), but also below-average in terms of turnout. This tells me that they either are not terribly engaged in politics or simply don't hold sharply partisan views on a majority of issues.

  7. craftman:

    I'd be interested to see this chart corrected for race, age, and gender (no to go all liberal arts college on you). But of course old white men watching the PGA are more likely to vote and vote Republican. This is not news.

    In other words, I'm guessing that correcting for those 3 factors moves most of these bubbles very close to dead center. Which ones still have a large skew in either axis? You might be able to tease out something interesting from that chart.

  8. MJ:

    I don't think the point is to suggest that there is a causal relationship between being a fan of a given sport and holding particular political beliefs. Socioeconomic variables and selection effects probably account for much of the correlation between fandom and political orientation. It's a largely descriptive analysis, but an interesting one nonetheless.

  9. Dan Wendlick:

    Two conclusions: Wealthy people vote, men vote Republican.

  10. craftman:

    Yeah I agree I would be skeptical of someone attempting a causal analysis - but my point was is this chart even interesting or is it just a sports-fan-demographic chart? If it zeroes itself out, so to speak, upon controlling for that, I don't find it interesting at all.

    I agree with others that - as is - the WWE and UFC bubbles were not what I expected.

  11. MJ:

    I'd say its value lies in attempting to quantify what many of us already suspected. From a social science standpoint, the next step would be to investigate what accounts for membership in these fan groups, including the factors you suggested. I wouldn't be surprised if marketing departments of some of the larger leagues already had a great deal of information on this, but haven't really extended it to questions of political leanings.

  12. Dan Wendlick:

    LPGA doesn't surprise me. The people who watch women's golf are likely to be the hard-core golf fans, skewing older and richer than the population generally. I've also heard from several golf fans that he women's game is closer to what the typical weekend golfer plays, with less emphasis on distance and more on shot selection and precision. Women's basketball doesn't correspond to this, because of the general criticism that they play a style of basketball that the men's game abandoned by the early 1970s, i.e. the pick-and-roll, look for the open man, jump-shot, instead of the slash and drive, above the rim plus three point game played in the NCAA men's and NBA. Golf is largely watched by those who play the game; basketball is not.

  13. Dan Wendlick:

    And widespread political apathy

  14. J_W_W:

    Well, yes there's that too ;-)

  15. J_W_W:

    The point is to the sports. Bring left wing social justice signaling into your sport at great peril.

    For one example, I now actively cheer agains Missou in college supports because of their despicable SJW efforts. I used to just not care about them at all.

  16. J_W_W:

    Apparently ESPN is dumber than a box of rocks then based on how they're skewing their coverage....

  17. Dan Wendlick:

    After some more thought, ESPN has become Howard Cosell's revenge. The endless parade of ex-jocks has been put to pasture; the Jockocracy overturned. It has become a network not of and for sports fans, but a network of and for sports reporters. When sports reporting became a professional discipline, in part because of the market created by outlets like ESPN, it was populated by people who had interest in sports, but not enough talent for the game. Just like political reporting, It is inhabited by people jealous of those they cover; a jelousy that breeds contempt.

  18. marque2:

    Even if folk tended neutral when adjusted as you want, then ESPN coverage should be neutral, not way left. Better yet, we tend to watch to heat the latest about sports, not how bad Hillary or Trump are, why not talk sports instead of politics unless there is a strong sport related issue like Football brain injury.

  19. johnmoore:

    The modern corporate world is, these days, led by captains of progressivism, rather than capitalists. Sure, they seek to make a lot of money, but they also largely come from colleges where they were steeped in progressive ideas, and their friends are the same way.

    Our society has stratified, and those at the top, contrary to what the left always claims, are lefties, except in a few areas directly tied to their profits. Look at how many companies boycotted North Carolina for refusing to bend over for the latest craziness in the sex war.

  20. Matthew Slyfield:

    So explain the WWE.

    Poor so not many vote, but I would think they have that big a female audience.

  21. Peabody:

    I would have guessed that WWE trends low turnout, white, blue-color dems that vote Democrat for historical reasons. I couldn't find anything regarding methodology, dates, etc. but I would be surprised if the 2016 presidential election was strongly included in this.

  22. CC:

    I can believe some of these, but Monster Trucks is politically neutral? UFC?

  23. Matthew Slyfield:

    UFC isn't really neutral. It's very slightly Democratic.

    UFC and Pro Wrestling on the Democrat side. Who would have thought that the SJW crowd would go for blood sports (well a fake blood sport in one case)?

  24. markm:

    Perhaps there's a significant block of the monster truck fans that are union members, and strongly Democrat.

  25. Craig:

    Inside every sportswriter is a little Paul Krugman wanting to emerge. Look what happens every time sports and politics converge - sportswriters jump at the chance to espouse their lefty politics.

  26. jon spencer:

    One of the reasons that I watch the LPGA is that the women hit the ball roughly the same distance that I did. Although they are much, much more accurate. Putt better too.
    When a male pro pulls out a 8 iron and the yardage is near 200, I cannot relate.