Sports

Florida Sports Fans Divided on College Football and Baseball Teams

By: Kevin Derby | Posted: June 13, 2014 3:55 AM
Lebron James and Jameis Winston

Lebron James and Jameis Winston

A new poll finds Florida sports fans divided on their favorite teams. Public Policy Polling (PPP) released a poll on Thursday offering insights on which teams Florida fans root for. 

As the Miami Heat battle the San Antonio Spurs for the National Basketball Association (NBA), the poll finds a majority of those surveyed -- 57 percent -- don’t care who wins. Less than a third -- 31 percent -- hope the Heat can win while 13 percent are pulling for the Spurs. Heat star LeBron James is seen in a favorable light by 38 percent while 14 percent view him in an unfavorable light.

When it comes to major college football programs in the Sunshine State, 22 percent root for the University of Florida Gators while 19 percent back the national champion Florida State University Seminoles. After their surprisingly successful season last year, 11 percent say their favorite team is the University of Central Florida Knights, while 10 percent root for the University of Miami Hurricanes. While 5 percent cheer for the Florida Atlantic University Owls, 4 percent say their favorite team is the University of South Florida Bulls. Only 2 percent say their favorite team is Florida International University.

Despite winning the Heisman Award and leading the Seminoles to the national title, Jameis Winston is upside down, perhaps due to his off-the-field problems including a rape accusation, which he was cleared of, and accusations of stealing seafood from Publix. Only 10 percent say they see Winston in a favorable light while 18 percent see him as unfavorable.

The poll finds that college football fans are generally content with their coaches. Despite a disastrous season last year, 33 percent of Gator fans approve of Will Muschamp while 19 percent disapprove of him. Only 15 percent of Gator fans want Muschamp fired before the season begins while 43 percent want to keep him. After winning the national title, Seminole football coach Jimbo Fischer is approved of by 55 percent of Florida State fans while only 9 percent of them disapprove of him. University of Miami coach Al Golden is in good shape with Hurricanes fans, with 43 percent approving of him and 10 percent disapproving of him.

The Atlanta Braves are the most popular Major League Baseball team in Florida, with 17 percent of those surveyed saying the perennial National League power is their favorite team. The Miami Marlins are the favorite team of 14 percent while 11 percent cheer the New York Yankees and 10 percent prefer the Tampa Bay Rays. The Boston Red Sox are the favorite team of 8 percent while 5 percent cheer for the Chicago Cubs. Two National League East teams -- the New York Mets and the Philadelphia Phillies -- are the favorite team of 2 percent apiece.

Marlins fans are optimistic, with 19 percent of them thinking the team will win a third World Series this year while 19 percent think the Marlins will win the National League pennant but fall in the World Series. Another 27 percent think the Marlins get to the playoffs but don’t reach the World Series, while only 12 percent think the team misses the playoffs altogether. Manager Mike Redmond is approved of by 34 percent of Marlins fans but 5 percent disapprove of him.

Only 12 percent of Rays fans think their team will the World Series this year while 8 percent think the team will lose the World Series. Another 28 percent think the Rays make the playoffs but won’t reach the World Series, while the same percentage of Rays fans think the team will miss the playoffs. A strong majority of Rays fans -- 68 percent -- approve of manager Joe Madden while only 6 percent disapprove of him.

The poll of 672 Florida voters was taken from June 6-9 and had a margin of error of +/- 3.8 percent.



Reach Kevin Derby at kderby@sunshinestatenews.com.

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