Thursday, July 10, 2008

Galluping through history 

I discovered that on the Gallup website, you can look at all kinds of polls through the years. Pretty handy. Here's an item that I found interesting based on one of the polls:

The decline of baseball and the rise of football as "America's Pastime" is beyond dispute. But I always thought the conventional wisdom was that this was a relatively recent development. Not so, it seems.

In 1972, football was already the "favorite sport to follow" for 32 percent of Americans, compared to 24 percent for baseball. Those numbers were essentially the reverse of 1960, which is the last data year available prior to '72. So using my superpowers, I can infer that the popularity paths of the two sports crossed sometime during those twelve years.

Yes, football has widened its lead since then: In a poll taken just this past December, it led 43%-13%. But while the past 15 years may have seen football explode into a national weekend obsession, it's actually had the edge over baseball for quite a bit longer than I thought -- about 40 years.

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