Taylor Swift's love life has been a subject of public fascination for 15 years, going back to when she'd released only her debut album. But rumors of romance between Swift and Kansas City Chiefs star tight end Travis Kelce have captured public attention like few other celebrity trysts, including most of Swift's previous relationships. Some have speculated this is because the match brings together two highly engaged fan bases often thought of as distinct: Swifties and football fans.
Yet new polling by YouGov — conducted for about a week starting a few days after Swift first attended a Kelce game — finds that there is significant overlap between the fan bases of each: One in five Americans (22%) with at least a fair amount of interest in professional football also identify as a fan of Swift — defined throughout this article as someone who says they are either a major Swift fan or somewhat of a fan. Similar shares say they are either only interested in professional football (24%) or only a fan of Swift (19%). About one-third of Americans (35%) aren't fans of either football or Swift.
Among Americans overall, 60% have a very or somewhat favorable opinion of Swift, compared to just 23% who have a very or somewhat unfavorable opinion of her. While Kelce is much lesser known — 53% don't know who he is compared to 17% for Swift — opinions of him are generally positive (37% favorable and 10% unfavorable).
Nearly half (47%) of Americans who call themselves a fan of Taylor Swift are also very or somewhat interested in the romantic relationships of celebrities — compared to just 14% of nonfans. The same share of Swift fans — 47% — say that the romantic relationships of celebrities at least sometimes affect their opinion of them; just 27% of nonfans say this. People with at least a fair amount of interest in professional football are slightly less likely than Swift fans (37% vs. 47%) to be interested in celebrity romantic relationships.
Kelce is viewed as a better romantic match for Swift than many of her past romantic relationships are, according to Americans who are at least somewhat familiar with her. Among Swift fans, 22% select Kelce as her best match from among 11 potential partners — each of whom she has at some point been rumored to have been involved with romantically. Kelce is well out in front of No. 2 Harry Styles (8%).
The same share of people who are interested in professional football (22%) select Kelce as her best match, and an even larger share of Americans who are both Swift and football fans — 29% — think Kelce is best for her among the 11 men on the list. (Recency bias could be a factor, as could the Kelce relationship's lone status as the one that hasn't yet ended.)
Methodology: This poll was conducted online on September 27 - October 2, 2023 among 1,000 U.S. adult citizens. Respondents were selected from YouGov’s opt-in panel using sample matching. A random sample (stratified by gender, age, race, education, geographic region, and voter registration) was selected from the 2019 American Community Survey. The sample was weighted according to gender, age, race, education, 2020 election turnout and presidential vote, baseline party identification, and current voter registration status. Demographic weighting targets come from the 2019 American Community Survey. Baseline party identification is the respondent’s most recent answer given prior to November 1, 2022, and is weighted to the estimated distribution at that time (33% Democratic, 31% Republican). The margin of error for the overall sample is approximately 4%.
Image: Getty (Jason Hanna )