CivicScience | Big Ten Football Revival Isn't An Easy Touchdown, Even Among Fans

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Big Ten Football Revival Isn’t An Easy Touchdown, Even Among Fans

Image Credit: Image by wgbieber from Pixabay

At first blush, it might seem as though the Big Ten college football conference’s decision to move forward with its 2020 season after all could backfire, from a public opinion point of view.

After all, just 38% of the 2,659 U.S. adults that CivicScience surveyed about the issue said they agree with the decision to resume play this year amid the coronavirus pandemic. Forty-three percent of all U.S. adults disagree with the plan, and another 20% are neutral. 

But when it comes to those who follow NCAA football, the script is flipped: 44% of college football fans say they agree with the Big Ten’s decision, compared with 37% who disagree and another 19% who are neutral.

The likely explanation is that college football fans in general lean to the political right. In fact, 37% of those who say they follow NCAA football “very closely” or “somewhat closely” lean conservative, compared with just 19% who lean liberal; the rest are moderate.

One interesting caveat: even solely among NCAA football fans, age is a huge factor when it comes to support. It’s no surprise that college-age football fans are massively in favor. However, the relative lack of support for this plan from college football fans age 55 and older is perhaps a bit unexpected.

While it’s clear that not everyone is completely on board, it seems there’s enough support from younger and middle-aged fans to push this decision into positive territory among the Big Ten’s target audience.

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