Although Fewer Americans Watch Baseball, Half Say They are Fans

by Darren K. Carlson

Fans skeptical of Bonds' chances of breaking the home run record

GALLUP NEWS SERVICE

PRINCETON, NJ -- Major League Baseball's All-Star Game will take place Tuesday night at Seattle's Safeco field. Gallup polls from spring and summer 2001 find that baseball claims a solid fan base -- but dwindling national interest.

The latest Gallup poll reading of June 2001 shows that 49% of Americans say they are fans of professional baseball. This number is slightly lower than most recent readings, which show that, since 1993, more than 50% of Americans identify themselves as baseball fans.

When Americans are asked to choose their favorite sport to watch, baseball finishes third on the list with 12%, slightly lower than professional basketball (16%) and far outpaced by professional football (28%). This wasn't always the case. When Gallup first began asking the question in the 1930s, baseball was America's most watched sport. A 1972 poll showed that professional football had become the sport Americans said they most like to watch, and it has been ever since. In 1997, professional basketball passed professional baseball for second place on the list of favorite sports, and has maintained a narrow edge since then.

Fans doubt Bonds' ability to hit more than 70 home runs

San Francisco outfielder Barry Bonds' pursuit of Mark McGwire's record of 70 home runs in a season has been one of the most intriguing stories of this year's Major League Baseball regular season. At the all-star break, Bonds remains on pace to get the record, but fans are skeptical that he will be able to top McGwire's mark. In a June 8-10 poll, 51% of baseball fans said they didn't think Bonds would reach 70 home runs, while 38% said they thought he would. Another 11% of fans did not have an opinion.

Survey Methods

These results are based on telephone interviews with a randomly selected national sample of 1,024 and 1,011 adults, 18 years and older, conducted March 26-28 and June 8-10, 2001 respectively. For results based on these samples, one can say with 95 percent confidence that the maximum error attributable to sampling and other random effects is plus or minus 3 percentage points. In addition to sampling error, question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of public opinion polls.

Are you a fan of professional baseball, or not?

 

 


Yes, a fan

SOMEWHAT
OF A FAN (vol.)


No, not a fan


No opinion

         

 

%

%

%

%

2001 Jun 8-10

35

14

51

0

2001 Mar 26-28

46

10

44

*

2000 May 5-7

35

11

54

--

2000 Apr 28-30

40

12

48

--

2000 Mar 30-Apr 2

45

10

45

--

1999 Nov 18-21

45

16

39

--

1999 Oct 21-24

37

10

53

--

1999 Jul 13-14

40

19

41

--

1999 Mar 19-21

34

15

51

--

1998 Oct 9-12

47

14

39

--

1998 Sep 14-15

45

18

37

--

1998 Jun 22-23

34

10

56

--

1996 Mar 15-17

38

10

52

--

1995 Oct 5-7

34

8

58

--

1995 Jul 7-9

35

13

52

--

1995 May 11-14

35

10

55

--

1995 Apr 17-19

32

9

59

--

1995 Feb 24-26

37

12

51

--

1995 Jan 16-18

37

8

55

--

1994 Oct 17-19

39

9

52

--

1994 Sep 6-7

35

11

54

--

1994 Aug 15-16

39

10

51

--

1994 Aug 8-9

35

20

45

--

1993 May 21-23

39

10

51

--

1993 Feb 12-14

44

7

49

--



What is your favorite sport to watch?

 

 

2001 Mar

2000 Mar

1998 Nov

1997 Apr^

1995 Apr

1994 Sep

1994 Aug

               

 

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

Football

28

33

36

30

32

37

35

Basketball

16

16

12

17

15

13

11

Baseball

12

13

16

14

16

16

21

Auto Racing

6

5

3

7

2

2

2

Golf

4

5

3

5

4

3

3

Ice/Figure Skating


4


4

2


2


2


3


3

Ice Hockey

3

5

3

3

3

1

3

Soccer

2

2

2

2

1

2

2

Tennis

2

1

2

2

2

3

2

Boxing

2

2

1

2

1

1

1

Gymnastics

1

1

1

1

0

0

*

Motocross

1

--

--

--

--

--

--

Wrestling

1

1

1

1

1

*

1

Volleyball

1

--

--

--

--

--

--

Bowling

*

*

1

*

1

*

*

Fishing

*

*

1

*

1

*

*

Swimming

*

*

--

--

--

--

--

Horse Racing

--

--

*

1

0

0

*

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

OTHER

4

3

6

6

7

5

5

NONE

12

8

9

6

10

12

10

No Opinion

1

1

1

1

2

2

1

 

100

100

100

100

100

100

100

 

^

WORDING: What is your favorite sport to follow?



LONG TERM TREND

 

 

Football

Baseball

Basketball

Auto racing

Golf

           

 

%

%

%

%

%

2001 Mar 26-28

28

12

16

6

4

2000 Mar 30-Apr 2

33

13

15

5

5

1998 Nov 20-22

36

16

12

3

3

1997 Apr 18-20 ^

30

14

17

7

5

1995 Apr 17-19

32

16

15

2

4

1994 Sep 16-20

37

16

13

2

3

1994 Aug 8-9

35

21

11

2

3

1992 Sept

38

16

12

2

3

1990 Feb

35

16

15

1

2

1981

38

16

9

1

2

1972

36

21

8

2

2

1960

21

34

9

--

1

1948

17

39

10

--

--

1937 Mar

23

34

8

1

1

 

 

 

 

 

 

^

WORDING: What is your favorite sport to follow?



Do you think San Francisco Giants outfielder Barry Bonds will or will not hit more than 70 home runs this year, which would break the record for most home runs in one season?

[BASED ON -- 503 -- BASEBALL FANS; ±5 PCT. PTS.]

 

 

Yes, will

No, will not

No opinion

2001 Jun 8-10

38%

51

11

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