When asked which NFL playoff quarterback they would like to see a candidate for president of the United States in the elections 2012, more than one in four voters chosen Tebow, says a new poll of likely voters released on Friday.
Tebow’s success on the field in the past few months has increased his popularity as he turned a struggling Denver Broncos team around.
Moreover, his open and oft-professed religious faith gained him huge support in the evangelical community, says Reuters.
2,475 people has taken part in the poll conducted earlier this week, just ahead of the Super Bowl, the annual championship for America’s most popular sport.
The results of the Reuters/Ipsos online survey were measured with a credibility interval. It means the poll has a credibility interval of plus or minus 2.3 percentage points.
In the poll Tebow managed to beat his rival New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady who got the third place, one percentage point behind New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning, ironic since they face each other this Sunday in the Super Bowl.
According to the poll, the only other quarterback to start in the playoffs this year who got into double digits was New Orleans’ Drew Brees, at 15 percent.
Of course, 24-years-old Tebow is too young by the standards of the U.S. Constitution to be president (you have to be at least 35). Besides, there can also be questions over whether he could be disqualified because he was born in the Philippines – his parents were American missionaries.
But this isn’t real life, this is football. “For all the support I’m very appreciative, it means a lot,” Tebow told Reuters on the sidelines of the pre-game festivities for the Super Bowl in Indianapolis. When asked about his possible political future, he responded: “Maybe one day in the future, not right now though.”
Tebow was the overwhelming first choice of Republicans in the poll, having earned 39 percent of their vote, while he was holding the second position to Manning among Democrats and third among those stating themselves as independent.
Geographically, most supported he was in the south and the west, where he nearly doubled his closest rivals’ support. Before the NFL, Tebow was a college star at the University of Florida, where he won a Heisman Trophy as college football’s top player as well as two national championships.
Tebow’s popularity crossed lines as well – he was the favorite of both men and women, as well as both whites and Hispanics. (He was third among African-Americans behind Brees and Brady).
Overall, Mitt Romney could envy such a victory. Nevertheless, Tebow has far from universal support. He has been mocked by rivals and some football purists who do not consider him an especially good quarterback.
But he has brought some luck to his team having several victories this season that had even the most hardened sports fans wondering if God was also watching the game on Sundays.
“He has got a stronger base than any other quarterback. Brady may be the best known but in a Republican primary, Tebow would crush him – religious conservatives, economic conservatives and football fans,” Republican strategist and Fox News contributor Frank Luntz told reporters.