The Wall Street Journal: High-school football is huge in Texas and Nebraska; in New England it’s minuscule

WSJ/Politics Counts

Watching football is a great uniter of Americans. But actually playing football? That’s a different story.

Opinion polls and football-participation data show huge splits in the country over whether people want their children to play, as well as big differences by state in how many kids take the field under those Friday night lights. In large part, these differences follow familiar geographic and political splits, with conservative parts of the country tending to embrace football playing, and more liberal parts souring on it.

Conservative parts of the country tend to embrace football playing as more liberal parts sour on it.

For instance, the latest Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll found that urbanites, those in the Northeast and West and Democrats were among the most likely to say they would encourage their children to play a sport besides football due to concerns about concussions. Conversely, those who live in rural areas, the south and self-identified Republicans were the least likely to say they would discourage their children from playing football.

The gaps between some of those groups are remarkable. The split between Democrats and Republicans is 17 points, between those who live in urban and rural locations it’s 12 points.

Also see: Poll shows 37% of Americans would discourage kids from playing football

And when you look at where high school students play football, you can see how some of those different attitudes translate to the field. We took the number of high school students who play football in every state, according to the National Federation of State High School Associations, and compared it with the 15- to 19-year-old population in every state.

This report appeared previously at WSJ.com.


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