Is there a World Series favorite?

Is there a World Series favorite?
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The Los Angeles Dodgers are the only team that more think will win than want them to

Just over half the public have an interest in Major League Baseball, but there is no team still in the playoffs that ranks as a fan favorite in the latest Economist/YouGov Poll. But there is a favorite for the one in ten who say that Major League Baseball is their favorite sport. That group likes the Houston Astros, who are now tied in games with the New York Yankees in the American League playoffs.

On the National League side, the Chicago Cubs, who currently trail the Los Angeles Dodgers in the playoff three games to none are more popular than their opponents, despite the Dodgers being only one game away from clinching the National League title. Among all who pay attention to baseball, about the same percentage choose the Astros, the Cubs and the Yankees. The Dodgers trail in popularity with this group, too.

This poll was conducted over the weekend when the Astros and Dodgers, both playing at home, each won the first two match-ups. So perhaps it’s no surprise that those two teams are seen as most likely to win it all. But liking a team doesn’t always mean you think they can win. Only about four in ten of each team’s fans think their favorite will emerge as World Series champions. Although the Cubs won the series last year, their fans are the least likely to think they can pull out a victory again this year; Dodgers and Astros fans are the most positive their team will win.

The Dodgers are the one team more think will win than want them to.

Those most intense fans – the ones who describe Major League Baseball as their favorite sport – have some political differences with those who like professional football more. Those differences may have something to do with the recent NFL protests against racism occurring during the playing of the National Anthem. In last week’s poll, Republicans took very different positions from Democrats on the players’ actions. While the NFL remains more popular than Major League Baseball overall, that’s not true for Republicans. This week, Democrats are more than twice as likely to pick pro football over Major League Baseball as their favorite sport, while Republicans give baseball a narrow lead. Far more say they don’t have a favorite sport than choose any sport in particular.

Read more from this week's Economist/YouGov poll

Image: Getty
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