Yankees Are NJ’s Favorite Baseball Team; Mets Place Third

STATE — As the Yankees begin a ten game homestand and the Mets are set to host the divisional rival Phillies, the Monmouth University/Asbury Park Press Poll asked which is New Jersey’s favorite major league baseball team? Not surprisingly, it depends on where you live – although naming the state’s most disliked team doesn’t.

The most popular team among Garden State baseball fans is the New York Yankees (52%), followed by the Philadelphia Phillies (19%) and the New York Mets (15%). The Boston Red Sox are mentioned by 4% of New Jersey baseball fans as their favorite team, but no other team tops 1% in the poll. In North Jersey, the Yankees (70%) far outpace the Mets (15%) as the fan favorite. In Central Jersey, the Yankees come out on top at 51%, compared to 23% for the Mets and 9% for the Phillies. Among South Jersey fans, the obvious fan favorite is the Phillies (55%), with the Yankees in second (21%), and the Mets in third (9%).

Who is the state’s least favorite team? For Yankees fans, it is their arch-rival Red Sox (40%). The Baltimore Orioles (1%) is the only other American League East team named by Yankees fans. Another 1-in-7 Yankees fans name either the Mets (10%) or the Phillies (5%). For Mets and Phillies fans, though, the Bronx Bombers far surpass any other team in all of professional baseball as the most disliked. About 4-in-10 Mets (39%) and Phillies (41%) fans name the Yankees as their least favorite team. Only 1-in-6 Mets fans name a rival in the National League East division, including 14% who name the Phils and 4% who name another NL East team. Similarly, only 1-in-7 Phillies fans name a rival in the National League East division as their least favorite, including 10% who name the Amazin’s and 4% who name another NL East team.

“The poll was conducted before the Boston Marathon bombing, and so Yankees fans may currently be a little friendlier to the Red Sox. But the Sox generate enough respect to lead me to think that the rivalry will be back to full-strength before the end of the season,” said Patrick Murray, director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute. “The responses from Mets and Phillies fans, though, leave me scratching my head. Sure, both National League franchises have recently lost World Series titles to the Bombers. And sure, it is a rare season that the Mets and Phillies are both playing well. But you’d think a team like the Braves would produce more contempt than the Yankees. It’s just one more sign of how those blue pinstripes dominate major league baseball.”

Nearly half of all New Jersey adults (48%) consider themselves to be baseball fans. This is slightly lower than the national average of 53% reported by a Gallup Poll in December 2012. More men (54%) than women (42%) call themselves fans.

Most New Jerseyans have a favorable opinion (62%) of professional baseball. Only 24% have an unfavorable one. These results are similar to a national ABC News/Washington Post Poll conducted a year ago which found 66% of Americans with a favorable opinion of professional baseball and 28% with an unfavorable view. Among New Jersey baseball fans, specifically, opinion of MLB is overwhelmingly positive at 88% favorable to 9% unfavorable. Among non-fans, opinion is split at 38% favorable to 39% unfavorable.

The poll also found that Garden State baseball fans say the cost of a game ticket is a poor value, but most will still head to the ballpark at least once this season. Two-thirds (67%) of New Jersey baseball fans say that the cost of a major league baseball ticket is not a good value for the money. Only 26% say it is a good value. Regardless, most fans (53%) say they will take in at least one major league game this year, including 19% who plan to go to the ballpark three or more times this year. Phillies fans (67%) are more likely than either Yankees (52%) or Mets (50%) fans to say they will attend a game this year.

The poll also asked about planned attendance at minor league or independent league games and found that 38% of New Jersey baseball fans plan to attend a non-MLB game this season.

The Monmouth University/Asbury Park Press Poll was conducted by telephone with 806 New Jersey adults from April 11 to 14, 2013. Most of the results in this release are based on a subsample of 411 self-identified baseball fans, which has a margin of error of + 4.8 percent. The poll was conducted by the Monmouth University Polling Institute and originally published by the Asbury Park Press and its sister publications (Courier-Post, Courier News, Daily Journal, Daily Record, and Home News Tribune).

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