Survey Snippet | WorldCup

Looking at the recent data from the Global Attitudes Project of the Pew Research Center, we came across a curious survey item. Who do people across the world think will win the World Cup?

Look at the table and you will see that you either think your own country will win — or it is Brazil. And this is pretty consistent throughout the world. It’s funny both how people project into their own countries, and then how beyond that the concept of soccer seems to be tied up with Brazil.

Even if you’re not interested in soccer, it tells you something about how surveys work. Arguably, it is because Brazil stands out as the premier soccer country, because hardly anyone begrudges the Brazilians for winning, and because not a lot of other concepts travel along when you think about Brazil.

Does begrudging matter? It may well: it’s the Argentinians and the Spaniards who were least likely in relative terms to put the Brazilians first. And it is the South Koreans and the Chinese who put Brazil first, suggesting that distance may play a role. 

Note that the Brazilians also have the highest opinions of themselves, followed by the Spanish, the Argentinians, and the Germans. (Maybe the tendency to believe that your own team will win is the same mechanism that contributes to countries sliding into war, as identification morphs into prediction of success.) 
At the same time it’s curious how many people say they don’t know or refused to answer. We know that in the United States soccer is not that popular. But what happened in Poland and Turkey? And in Pakistan? 

Once you look through the other survey results, you see that Pakistan had some of the highest rates of people who said they don’t know, or refused to answer. (On soccer, the French were the most opinionated.) It’s following these threads that makes reading survey results exciting. The Pew Research Centers have done an excellent job at making information available (their detailed report here), allowing us to trawl through their results. Future updates soon.