GALLUP NEWS SERVICE
Is it the "Dirty Bird," or just the desire to see an underdog succeed in the Super Bowl? According to the latest Gallup Poll, football fans want to see the Atlanta Falcons upset football's defending champions, the Denver Broncos, when Super Bowl XXXIII kicks off on Sunday.
In the poll conducted over the weekend of January 22-24, the Falcons took top honors when fans were asked which team they'd like to see win the Super Bowl. Fifty-four percent of those polled who described themselves as football fans favor the Falcons, while 41% back the Broncos.
However, reality sets in when the fans consider the strengths of both teams. When asked who they believe will win the Super Bowl, fans picked Denver to beat Atlanta by an overwhelming margin: 74% of those polled believe the Broncos will win their second straight Super Bowl, while only 21% gave the nod to the Falcons.
While the fans expect Denver to repeat as Super Bowl champions, Atlanta could wind up with an upset. Last year, 61% of those polled projected the Green Bay Packers would beat the Broncos. John Elway, of course, led the Broncos to their first Super Bowl title with a 31-24 win over the Packers.
The results are based on telephone interviews with a randomly selected national sample of 627 adults, 18 years and older, who described themselves as football fans, conducted January 22-24, 1999. For results based on samples of this size, one can say with 95 percent confidence that the error attributable to sampling and other random effects could be as much as plus or minus 4 percentage points.
In addition to sampling error, question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of public opinion polls.