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October 26, 2010

Political sports: Ravens top Redskins

If the Ravens and Redskins met in the Superbowl, more than half of Maryland's likely voters would cheer for the team in purple, a Baltimore Sun poll has found.

Of 798 respondents who also answered weightier questions about the governor's race and their financial worries, 51 percent said they'd root for the Ravens while 31 percent would back the Redskins in a theoretical Superbowl matchup.

A closer look at the numbers reveals that fans of former Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. prefer the Ravens to Redskins by a wider margin than supporters of Gov. Martin O'Malley. (Ehrlich voters: 55 percent to 30 percent, O'Malley voters: 50 to 32.)

Redskins fans appear more enthusiastic about O'Malley than Ravens fans. (Redskins fans: 53 percent to 37 percent for Ehrlich, Ravens fans: 51 to 40)

Politicians in the making? Six O'Malley voters volunteered that they would "root for both teams," while only one Ehrlich voter gave such a fence-sitting answer.

Both candidates have closer ties to the Ravens. Ehrlich, who played ball at Princeton, grew up in and represented Baltimore County as a delegate and a member of Congress. O'Malley was mayor of Baltimore when the team won the 2001 Superbowl, though he grew up in Montgomery County, Redskins territory. 

The Ravens dominate in nearly every category of poll respondent -- black, white, male, female, Democrats, Republicans.

Baltimore's team also seems to have locked down its region in a way the Washington team has not. In metro Baltimore, 75 percent of poll-takers said they'd cheer for the Ravens. But in metro Washington, the Redskins can count on the support of only 56 percent of voters.

Maryland's two pro football teams have become somewhat of a hot-button this election year.

At debate this month in Washington, a moderator asked Gov. Martin O'Malley and former Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. what they would do to keep the Redskins in Prince George's County in the event of a threatened defection to the District, which the team has said it has no plans to do. 

Ehrlich replied that Redskins owner Dan Snyder is a fan and campaign contributor. "Obviously, having two franchises in Maryland is fantastic," he said, but went on to say there are big traffic problems with the Landover stadium.  "We'll see where the franchise wants to go, where the owner wants to go, and what the taxpayers have to say about it, as well."

(O'Malley camp quickly issued a release with the screaming headline: EHRLICH WOULD ALLOW TOP DONOR SNYDER TO MOVE REDSKINS BACK TO DC.)

In response to the debate question, O'Malley said he wasn't sure of the right answer. "But we would like to keep the Redskins stadium, and the Redskins playing in Prince George's County," he said.

Another debate question sough gubernatorial advice on how to the Orioles could improve. O'Malley offered, "Practice, practice, practice." Ehrlich thought they needed "a power-hitting first baseman."

The Sun's pollster didn't ask any questions about that team.

(Sun photos: Ehrlich in August at Ravens training camp in Westminster. O'Malley in January 2007 talking to Ray Lewis.)

Posted by Julie Bykowicz at 5:00 AM | | Comments (14)
Categories: For fun


I would hope that most people in the state wouldn't root for the WASHINGTON Redskins.

However, if you took into account the people in DC and Northern Va., I'm guessing the ratio of Skins fans to Ravens fans would be 2 to 1, simply because there's more people in that area than in the Baltimore area.

I was looking for regional numbers. My guess is that PG, Montgomery, Charles & St Marys would be overwhelmingly Skins country, because those areas align more with DC than the other MD counties.

So why do i have to leave PG County some sundays and go to Baltimore to watch the Ravens game when the skins are playing? The skins represent both teams in maryland every week or show the team that represents the state.

Shocker: a BALTIMORE Sun poll produces this result. Why does the Sun think they speak for all of Maryland? In their articles, they continually refer to Maryland, Marylanders, etc. But, they're actually only considering the counties around Baltimore City. I'm a Ravens fan in St. Mary's County. My wife is a Redskins fan. Looks like the poll I just took is 50/50. That's about as scientific as the Sun's poll.

"Baltimore's team also seems to have locked down its region in a way the Washington team has not. In metro Baltimore, 75 percent of poll-takers said they'd cheer for the Ravens. But in metro Washington, the Redskins can count on the support of only 56 percent of voters."

This is a misleading stat and not surprising when you think about the different populations. Many Washingtonians aren't natives of the region or don't live in the DC area long due to jobs associated with the government or military. They come for a few years and then leave for other jobs or postings. It's a town of non-natives, who bring with them allegiances to other teams. Baltimore is much more like other cities where you have a population that moves here and stays for long enough to become Ravens fans. So I would expect there to be more dedicated Ravens fans than Skins fans on that alone.

That being said, I am a native Washingtonian living in Baltimore City. So I live and (more often than not) die with the Redskins but also like the Ravens.

I agree with E. this "poll" is the dumbest thing I've heard in a while. Of course bmoresun readers are going to more often be ravens fans. You can't extrapolate from baltimore sun readers to the entire state of MD. stupid.

Sorry, that last "stupid" was uncalled for. I apologize.

Go ravens

Howard County and AA are probably around 50/50 (north/south). If the poll was in the Post the results would be different. Duh.

I'm a Redskins fan for Ehrlich. While I wanted the Giants to take a loss for NFC East, I can't say I didn't enjoy watching the Cowgirls lose big time.

Maryland is weird with pro teams. The fan base would be Ravens, then Redskins, then Steelers, and then the Eagles because we have all four media markets playing somewhere in the state.


That's due to the NFL black out rules. If the Redskins are at home the DC channels cannot put any game on opposite them. This rule is usually lifted in the last week of the season, but other than that, you won't get a Ravens game on TV in the DC market if the Skins are at home. The same goes for every other team's primary television market.

You know that O'Malley is a Skins fan.

But wait for the negative ads from the Redskin power base and the entire poll might change. That is one thing they really know how to do in DC is go negative and be divisive.

Politics and relocation doesn't dictate to me who I root for in sports.

Being a native Marylander from P.G County, I will always carry the WASHINGTON REDSKINS with me whereever I live, even here in Carolina Panthers territory.


In baseball I became an Orioles fan after the Senators left for Texas in 1971.

For the World Series - GO RANGERS and the American League.

This article is stupid. The Redskins are dominant in areas where WTTG and WUSA are prevalent, and the Ravens are more popular where WJZ, and WBFF are more prevalent.

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About the bloggers
Annie Linskey covers state politics and government for The Baltimore Sun. Previously, as a City Hall reporter, she wrote about the corruption trial of Mayor Sheila Dixon and kept a close eye on city spending. Originally from Connecticut, Annie has also lived in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, where she reported on war crimes tribunals and landmines. She lives in Canton.

John Fritze has covered politics and government at the local, state and federal levels for more than a decade and is now The Baltimore Sun’s Washington correspondent. He previously wrote about Congress for USA TODAY, where he led coverage of the health care overhaul debate and the 2010 election. A native of Albany, N.Y., he currently lives in Montgomery County.

Julie Scharper covers City Hall and Baltimore politics. A native of Baltimore County, she graduated from The Johns Hopkins University in 2001 and spent two years teaching in Honduras before joining The Baltimore Sun. She has followed the Amish community of Nickel Mines, Pa., in the year after a schoolhouse massacre, reported on courts and crime in Anne Arundel County, and chronicled the unique personalities and places of Baltimore City and its surrounding counties.
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