Under the Dome

Who’s your favorite Panther? Might depend on your politics

Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton, left, and linebacker Luke Kuechly.
Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton, left, and linebacker Luke Kuechly. jsiner@charlotteobserver.com

Republicans and Democrats in North Carolina both have strong allegiance to the nation; they just differ on the positions.

We’re talking about Panther Nation, of course.

With the Super Bowl a week away, the Carolina Panthers’ popularity at home is way up: 58 percent of North Carolina voters now call themselves Panthers fans, according to Public Policy Polling. That’s up from 34 percent the last time PPP asked voters for their favorite NFL team, in December 2014. (Bandwagon alert: Carolina was 3-8-1 then.)

Sixty-three percent of Democrats say the Panthers are their team, 60 percent of Republicans and 47 percent of independents.

Second in allegiance here is Dallas, at 5 percent. (Sorry, sons of Wash-ing-ton. Redskins, 4 percent.)

So who’s our favorite Panther? That’s where it really gets political.

Quarterback Cam Newton, who’s right-handed but pretty good rolling to his left, is No. 1 in Democratic hearts, with 45 percent. Twenty-seven percent of Republicans go with Cam, and 31 percent of independents.

But Republicans, who always advocate for a strong defense, favor linebacker Luke Kuechly, who gets 34 percent of GOP support, to 19 percent of Democrats and 25 percent of independents.

By the way, Carolina’s Super Bowl foe, Denver, is the favorite team of 2 percent of Tar Heel voters, but 4 percent of Republicans — and only 1 percent of Democrats and 3 percent of independents.

The data come from a poll of 948 North Carolina voters, taken Jan. 18-19. The margin of error is plus or minus 3.2 percentage points for the overall sample, 4.6 points for the Democrats and 4.7 points for the Republicans.

And that’s your Super Bowl party guide.

Frederick: 919-829-8956. On Twitter: @Eric_Frederick