Loved/Hated Sports, How Kids Unwind, Etc.

Poor baseball. In 1985, when the Harris Poll first asked people to cite their favorite sport, baseball and football won roughly equal shares of the vote (23 percent and 24 percent respectively). Now, in a new Harris survey on the topic, football drubs baseball (29 percent to 13 percent). Baseball holds just a narrow lead over men’s pro basketball (10 percent), auto racing (9 percent) and college football (9 percent). But enough about positive attitudes! A nationwide survey conducted for the Sports Marketing Group in Atlanta asked people to cite the sports they “dislike a lot or hate.” According to an Associated Press item, dogfighting got the most mentions (81 percent), followed by pro wrestling (56 percent), bullfighting (46 percent), pro boxing (31 percent) and the PGA Tour (30 percent).

If kids don’t watch your commercials, it’s not because they’re too busy with homework. A report by the Brown Center on Education Policy at the Brookings Institution rebuts the popular wisdom that most of today’s kids are buried in homework. It cites data showing that the “great majority” of students spend less than an hour per day on that task. This includes high school, as 65 percent of 17-year-olds say they spend less than an hour on it.

At least the sluggish economy gives us something to talk about. In a Fox News/ Opinion Dynamics poll, adults were asked to say what topic comes up most often these days in “everyday conversations with friends and neighbors.” Unprompted by a list of choices, people gave the highest vote to the economy (17 percent), with another 7 percent citing work/jobs/employment. The other topics reaching double digits were Iraq/Saddam Hussein (14 percent) and politics (10 percent). Family issues (7 percent) drew more votes than the weather (5 percent) or sports (4 percent).

In what part of the house do kids play? In a poll conducted for Ikea, 47 percent of parents said it’s the living room, with the kid’s room close behind (41 percent). Thirty-two percent said the kids play in “the room where their parents are.” Six percent cited the kitchen. Elsewhere in the poll, parents were asked to identify their kids’ favorite ways of relaxing. Predictably, TV viewing got the most mentions (63 percent), although reading ran a respectable second (54 percent). Just 7 percent listed “laying around/doing nothing.” A bored child is a snacking child, finds a Mintel study of the 12-and-under set. About 9 percent of boys and girls said they snack when bored. The moral: Marketers of such foods should make sure to sponsor boring shows. Though they’re working up an appetite, “Kids who are more active are less likely to snack, simply because they have fewer snacking opportunities.” One other info-nugget: Boys are more likely than girls to indulge in after-dinner snacks (18 percent vs. 12 percent).

We tend to think of poor people as the ones who lack health insurance—as well we should, given their disproportionate presence in the ranks of the uninsured. As a new Census Bureau report makes clear, though, there are non-trivial numbers of uninsured even at upper-income levels (see the chart). We can surmise that lots of people who feel in good health are inclined to take their chances. That supposition is supported by another of the findings: People age 18-24 are almost twice as likely as Americans in general to be uninsured (29.6 percent vs. 15.2 percent). Marketers of health coverage ought to wonder whether they’re doing an adequate job of addressing solvent young adults.