Americans think the Patriots cheated in the AFC Championship game- and they’re rooting for the Seahawks on Sunday- but in some ways their poll numbers haven’t fallen that far because the Patriots weren’t all that popular to begin with.
Overall 41% of voters think the Patriots cheated last week to only 27% who think they didn’t, and among self described NFL fans- still 64% of voters even after this tumultuous season- it’s a 50/28 spread that think the Pats cheated. Democrats (46/23) overwhelmingly think New England cheated while Republicans (36/33) are much more divided on the matter. Bill Belichick has a 28/41 favorability rating among NFL fans, compared to 37/16 for Pete Carroll. And the Patriots as a team overall have a 36/43 favorability rating with fans, making them one of only two teams we tested (the Cowboys at 40/42 being the other) with a net negative rating.
And no, that partisan split doesn’t surprise me in the least.