One of our major initiatives at the Emory Marketing Analytics Center is our annual survey of sports and cultural fandom. Fandom is a critical element of human behavior because fandom is about passion for aspects of our culture. Where fandom is growing or waning (and amongst which groups) tells us where society is heading.
We will be publishing the annual report at the beginning of the summer (we have some great NFL content first), but we wanted to share an early result. The figure below shows the average preference (on a 7-point scale) for a collection of sports figures and celebrities. The figure gives two scores for each celebrity. The vertical scale is the average preference score for politically conservative subjects and the horizontal axis indicates the preference level for liberal respondents.
Celebrities in the upper right-hand corner are universally loved, and those in the lower-left region do not have much enthusiasm. The folks above the line score much higher with conservatives, while those below are liberal favorites.
A couple of quick insights.
1. The modern-day influencers of social media and reality TV have much lower preference levels than the established apolitical figures. Michael Jordan and Dolly Parton have far more appeal than Kim Kardashian or PewDiePie. This preference structure is even true if we only look at Generation Z.
2. Joe Rogan and Elon Musk enjoy much higher preference among conservatives. Liberals have a much higher passion for Colin Kaepernick and Megan Rapinoe. While this might be expected, it is interesting that neither Rogan nor Musk identifies as a conservative while the liberal darlings tend to embrace progressive causes fully.
3. Will Smith and Chris Rock have remarkably similar scores in absolute terms and across the political divide.