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Research Shows That Soccer Fans Are More Likely to Be Liberals

During the frenzy of the World Cup, it was difficult to stay on top of all of the headlines, so one of the reports that you and I may have missed was in The Wall Street Journal newspaper where research shows that most soccer fans are liberal.

The poll showed that amongst those who consider themselves ‘liberal,’ 11% said they watched the 2010 World Cup, while a mere 6% of conservatives took in the action. About 7% of independents, which labeled themselves in the survey as ‘middle of the road,’ watched four years ago.

The question then becomes whether this is just correlation or if there is a cause to the difference between preference of sport. According to a similar poll noted in the article, preference for National Football League playoff games remains constant across political affiliations at 28%.

The reporter looked for a possible correlation to the numbers from the poll in relation to the state of youth soccer. He compared total youth populations in each state with a count of players under 19 years of age from regional and state youth soccer organizations connected to U.S. Soccer to get a percentage of youths that play per state.

The map produces an interesting outcome that seems to support the findings of the poll commissioned by Experian. Blue (left-leaning) states, such as Massachusetts, Maine, Washington, and Vermont have higher percentages of youths playing soccer than states with conservative tendencies, such as Texas, Kansas, and Missouri. The article notes that of the top 20 states in terms of participation, 17 gave their electoral votes to the Democrat, Barack Obama, while the 16 of the 20 lowest states voted for the Republican, Mitt Romney in the 2012 presidential election.

While the candidates represent an extraordinarily small sample size, it is worth noting that Barack Obama is a West Ham United fan and Romney attends his grandson’s youth matches.

High attention to soccer in certain states could be a by-product of the high numbers of foreign-born individuals in those areas. A connection could be a result of relatively large immigrant populations having been exposed to the sport more than their native-born neighbors. Immigrant populations tend to affiliate with liberal ideals as well, which could explain Experian’s findings.

In terms of media representation, multiple conservative columnists and talk show hosts have labeled soccer as from a reason for America’s moral decay, to being worse than the deadly ebola virus.

Conservatives associate the game with more liberal thinkers, as they observe that the game is more popular in metropolitan areas, which have progressive populations (i.e. Boston and New York).

Soccer has reason to appeal to both sides of the US political spectrum. Republicans preach that hard work and determination can get an individual to the top, which is true for the world’s best players, while liberals associate themselves with the collective efforts of society, which are embodied in the integral team cohesion required to attain success at the game’s top levels.

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  1. john marzan

    August 9, 2014 at 11:25 pm

    i’ve always assumed that those who are MORE LIKELY to hate america loves soccer (despite MIBlazers constant declarations for love of america. i mean why keep convincing your listeners that you “love” america?). dean stoll diplomatically calls it “counterculture.”

    more liberals hate america than conservatives, and more democrats hate america than republicans, so is it really a surprise?

    • john marzan

      August 9, 2014 at 11:34 pm

      • Harry Nibbler

        August 10, 2014 at 12:06 am

        Men in Blazers is such embarrassing garbage.
        Perfect for all the American losers who love to say things like “Salt Lake City ’til I die!”, and then try to squeeze into their XXXXXL jersey.


  2. Harry Nibbler

    August 9, 2014 at 8:12 pm

    A lot has to do with cavemen Americans who automatically take an anti-european view towards pretty much everything.

  3. Dean Stell

    August 9, 2014 at 5:24 pm

    I guess this is what I sort of suspected without having any data. I can’t say that I hear much political talk at all at soccer games, but I just sort of assume that anyone willing to be somewhat counterculture is probably somewhere in the liberal/libertarian end of the spectrum.

    • rkujay

      August 10, 2014 at 7:21 am

      Dean, Liberal is left politically. Libertarian is right.

      • Matt

        August 10, 2014 at 10:23 am

        Not exactly.

        • norwalkvirus

          August 11, 2014 at 10:04 pm

          Not at all.

    • norwalkvirus

      August 11, 2014 at 10:06 pm

      The word liberal, as a description of political ideologies, has been brutally beaten and tortured in the English speaking world.

      American “Liberals” are quite illiberal in most things. Not that conservatives are particularly liberal, either.

  4. yespage

    August 9, 2014 at 5:16 pm

    Ah… I remember back in the ’10 or ’06 World Cup and Glenn Beck was going on about how he hoped the US would lose because soccer was Unamerican.

    I’d be very interested in looking at the same numbers but for NASCAR. ;^P

    • norwalkvirus

      August 11, 2014 at 10:04 pm


  5. Bo

    August 9, 2014 at 5:03 pm

    Why does this matter? Fans are fans, who cares what they think outside the games.

  6. Flyvanescence

    August 9, 2014 at 4:35 pm

    So in other words, 7% of the non-sheep in this country are soccer fans.

    • jtm371

      August 9, 2014 at 10:33 pm

      That is a good group to be in,not bad for a young man like you Fly. Your boys better put the boot to the Gunners for the Shield. 🙂

      • Flyvanescence

        August 9, 2014 at 11:59 pm

        Hoping so. But maybe we’ll let them win this one so Whinger can give it a rest.

        On the other hand i wish Lampard were available.

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