- The Washington Times
Thursday, January 31, 2019

Republicans and Democrats can at least agree on something this weekend. No one is particularly interested in the Super Bowl this year. A new poll finds that 51 percent of Republicans and 52 percent of Democrats have absolutely no interest in the big game. None. Exactly half of all Americans agree with that. So says a Monmouth University survey that also found that about two-thirds of both the parties will be paying only “a little attention” to the doings on the gridiron — or won’t have the game on at all.

“This year’s match-up doesn’t seem to have produced quite the same spark as 2018, which featured a clear underdog,” says Patrick Murray, director of the independent Monmouth University Polling Institute.


“Most Americans will be rooting for — no one. More than half say it does not matter to them whether the Los Angeles Rams or the New England Patriots emerge victorious. Only 1-in-6 have a lot of interest in what is typically the country’s biggest sporting event,” the poll analysis says.

But it is a complex situation. Some people simply enjoy the day itself — a salute to buffalo wings, socializing and analyzing the stats. Others have complained of the hype or commercialization surrounding the event; they wonder where the actual game is amid a sports event packaged like entertainment.

The poll suggests that Super Bowl culture has become, well, too much. The survey found that 81 percent of Americans do not plan on attending a big game get-together at home or elsewhere; 85 percent of Republicans and 77 percent of Democrats agree with that. Majorities agree, however, that the much touted Super Bowl commercials are more interesting than the game itself.

What about the teams? More than half of Americans — 52 percent — say it doesn’t matter to them who wins. A near identical number of Republicans and Democrats — 53 percent and 51 percent, respectively — agree. When asked to choose, 29 percent of the nation sided with the Rams, along with 26 percent of the Republicans and a third of the Dems. Among all Americans, 18 percent favor the Patriots, as do 21 percent of the Republicans and 16 percent of the Democrats.

“A small but significant number of Americans have more than a rooting interest in the game. About 6 percent say they will place a monetary bet on the outcome,” the poll says, though it also reveals that only 3 percent of Republicans and Democrats alike would wager on the game.

Far more approve of the legalization of sports betting: 50 percent of the public like the idea, along with 48 percent of Republicans and 43 percent of Democrats.

THE PRESIDENTIAL PRE-GAME

Yes, President Trump has agreed to do a pre-Super Bowl interview with CBS “Face the Nation” moderator Margaret Brennan, who will be broadcasting from the NFL Experience theme area in Atlanta. Mr. Trump’s session will be prerecorded, however; part will air on Ms. Brennan’s morning show, much more in a pre-game telecast mid-afternoon.

“We’ll talk about all the news, and of course his pick for Super Bowl winner,” Ms. Brennan said.

“There will be no shortage of topics to discuss,” noted Variety, which suggested the border wall, the government shutdown, the Mueller investigation and the NFL itself are all fair game.

THE CARBON FOOTPRINT

Don’t tell former Vice President Al Gore, but many, many private jets will be flying into the Atlanta area for the Super Bowl this weekend.

“As the New England Patriots prepare to take on the Los Angeles Rams this weekend, Atlanta’s airports are gearing up for a busy few days, with more than 1,000 private jet flights anticipated for the big game,” reports Richard Thompson, president of Air Charter Service Americas, who ought to know.

“Regional airports closest to the Super Bowl can expect as much as 10 times their normal private jet traffic on the weekend of the single biggest sporting event in the U.S.,” he advises.

AUTHENTIC TRUMP DIPLOMACY

When President Trump met with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un at a historic summit last year, it was a major political, diplomatic and cultural event that drew wall-to-wall, nonstop global coverage from a flabbergasted news media. Part 2 appears to be in the making, so the networks better man up and start planning. The event appears to be coming up much sooner than many news organizations would expect.

“I think we’ll have a summit at the end of the month. That’s the plan. That’s what the North Koreans have now agreed to. It’s what we’ve agreed to with them as well,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told Fox News prime-time kingpin Sean Hannity.

“We’ll do it someplace in Asia. So I think that looks good. I am dispatching a team there. They’re headed that way now to lay the foundations for what I hope will be a substantial additional step towards the path for not only denuclearization of the Peninsula, but a brighter future for the North Korean people — and security on the Korean peninsula in a way that no previous administration’s been able to achieve,” Mr. Pompeo said.

“I think it took President Trump to convince Chairman Kim of that, out of all the commitments that he made this past June in Singapore. Now it’s time for my team and all of the United States government to work with the North Koreans to execute that and to deliver on our commitment to denuclearize that Peninsula. Chairman Kim has told us he’s prepared to do it and now the mission is to deliver on that,” the secretary said.

WEEKEND REAL ESTATE

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POLL DU JOUR

45 percent of U.S. voters support the construction of a border wall between the U.S. and Mexico; 83 percent of Republicans, 41 percent of independents and 13 percent of Democrats agree.

38 percent say the U.S. faces a crisis over illegal immigration along the border; 72 percent of Republicans, 33 percent of independents and 10 percent of Democrats agree.

37 percent say the U.S. faces a “problem” with illegal immigration along the border; 20 percent of Republicans, 41 percent of independents and 50 percent of Democrats agree.

15 percent say the U.S. does not face a crisis or a problem with illegal immigration; 3 percent of Republicans, 12 percent of independents and 30 percent of Democrats agree.

9 percent are undecided or don’t know; 4 percent of Republicans, 14 percent of independents and 10 percent of Democrats agree.

Source: A Politico/Morning consult poll of 1,997 registered U.S. voters conducted Jan. 25-27.

• Enjoy the Super Bowl and thanks for reading Inside the Beltway


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