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Sports Poll: Only 22 Percent of Floridians Like LeBron, Gators Are Favorite Team

Finally a political polling firm has decided to poll on something other than politics. Public Policy Polling surveyed Floridians on another contentious topic: sports. The poll shows LeBron James isn't exactly that popular in his new state, while Florida's favorite pro team is the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the favorite college team is the Florida Gators. 

Only 22 percent of Floridians say they have a favorable opinion of LeBron. 24 percent have an unfavorable opinion, while 54 percent are unsure. Yes, that makes LeBron more popular here than in Ohio, but the King still has a lot of work to do to win over fans in the Sunshine State. 

Seventeen percent of Floridians cite the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as their favorite sports team, followed by the Dolphins and Jaguars at 16 percent each. It's pretty sad when the Dolphins, by far the state's oldest professional team, has the same amount of popularity as the Jaguars, a relatively new and unaccomplished outfit that can't even sell out most of its home games. Then again, the polling questions included all pro sports teams. So perhaps South Floridians had to make a Sophie's choice between the Dolphins and the Heat (now the state's favorite basketball team). 

Here's the full rundown: 
Marlins 10%
Panthers 2%
Jaguars 16%
Dolphins 16%
Heat 14%
Magic 11%
Buccaneers 17%
Lightning 4%
Rays 11%
Someone else/Don't have a favorite team 0
To no one's surprise, hockey is Florida's least favorite sport. Even the Tampa Bay Lightning, which just had an exciting postseason run, gets only 4 percent. The Panthers, who haven't been to the playoffs in ten years, come in at the bottom with 2 percent.

The numbers are also quite interesting when broken down by race and ethnicity. The Miami Heat are the favorite team of both Hispanics (at 20 percent) and African Americans (at 37 percent). Meanwhile the Dolphins (who are only the favorite team of 9 percent of Hispanics) tie for first among White sports fans with the Buccaneers with 19 percent each.  

The numbers in college sports are a bit more clear:
Central Florida 11%
Florida 30%
Florida Atlantic 5%
Florida International 1%
Florida State 19%
Miami 9%
South Florida 6%
Not sure 18%
A 9 percent showing for the Miami Hurricanes is kind of surprising, considering their five championships make them the most historically successful team in the state, pro or otherwise. But UM is a small private school with a relatively small alumni base.

Being a political polling firm, PPP also correlated the numbers with political ideology. The Jaguars are the most popular team among people who describe themselves as "Very Liberal" with 20 percent, followed closely by the Marlins at 19 percent, while the Buccaneers extend their lead to 21 percent among very conservative voters. The Miami Hurricanes and Florida Atlantic University Owls are also the only college teams that have more liberal fans than conservative. 


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10 comments
Drake Mallard
Drake Mallard

to lebum

Ever since you came back, you aint done nothing but cry

Curtis
Curtis

With the colleges, I'd say it's less being small private school, and more the "what have you done for me lately" attitude.  The Gators have a more recent track record of success, and 2001 is a long time ago.  

Hashim305
Hashim305

It would be interesting to see those numbers broken down by region.

KingChiefGator
KingChiefGator

Outside the jurisdiction of Coral Gables, UMiami is no longer relevant in the big scheme of college athletics.

Brian A Tewes
Brian A Tewes

don't know what Floridians Public Policy Polling asked, but as for the younger generation, we love LeBron. Couldn't disagree more with the results of this poll.

castro
castro

Really because last I checked they were in the playoffs in the college world series. You think because The Gators were the last Florida team to win a National Championship that makes them a lot more relevant? They don't have a Tim Tebow anymore, nor do they have Urban Meyer as a coach. If they Hurricanes aren't so relevant then how, with a new head coach that barely anyone has even heard of, have they gotten 5 of ESPN's Top 150 players and are ranked 9th in overall recruiting?

Kyle Münzenrieder
Kyle Münzenrieder

35 percent of those 18-29 like LeBron, but 32 percent of those in the same age range don't like him. 

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