Survey: Major League Baseball Surpasses NFL in Popularity Amid Anthem Protests

AP Matt Dunham
AP Photo/Matt Dunham

It’s been quite a while since Major League Baseball was the apple of the American sports fan’s eye, but, according to a recent survey, MLB has regained the top spot. According to the Remington Research Group, baseball has taken advantage of the NFL’s descent into protest madness, and surpassed the NFL in terms of popularity.

When asked, “What is your favorite professional sports league?” Respondents answered that they favored MLB by 30%, the NFL came in second at 25%, the NBA and the NHL at 10% and 8% respectively. While the five percent difference between MLB and the NFL is not insignificant, one imagines the gap between the NFL and the top sport might have been even greater if college football was offered as a choice.

What also clear is that the NFL is starting to lose their male audience. When controlled for gender, 32% of males listed MLB as their favorite sport. While only 23% of males listed the NFL as their favorite sport. Women remained virtually unchanged between the two sports, with 28% favoring MLB and 27% favoring the NFL. So, the NFL’s dip in popularity can be pretty clearly traced back to losing men.

Not surprisingly, given how the NFL has turned themselves into a showcase for left-wing activism, Republicans have largely bailed on the NFL. Democrats and Republicans remained steady on their favorable opinions of baseball, with 30% of Republicans holding a favorable view of MLB, and 29% of Democrats. However, only 21% of Republicans had a favorable view of the NFL, while 33% of Democrats held a favorable view.

An even larger disparity existed when opinions of the NFL were broken down by ideology. Among conservatives, 34% viewed Major League Baseball as their favorite sports league. While only 17% of conservatives said the NFL was their favorite. Among liberals, the numbers remained steady, with 27% describing MLB as their favorite. While 29% of liberals said that the NFL was their favorite.

When the question turned to favorability, a whopping 61% of men viewed MLB favorably, while only 10% viewed it unfavorably. With those numbers holding steady amongst women, who viewed MLB favorably, 59-12.

The poll was conducted on Sunday, October 22, 2017. The Remington group surveyed 1,211 people and had a margin of error of less that three percent.

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