Is Kansas City really America's team?

October 23, 2014, 4:02 PM GMT+0

Kansas City is the favorite team of baseball fans in the World Series, even though they narrowly expect the Giants to actually win

The San Francisco Giants and the Kansas City Royals may be even: tied one-one after the first two World Series games. But America definitely has a favorite. In the latest Economist/YouGov Poll, conducted mostly before the Series began, Americans who cared about the outcome were rooting for the Kansas City Royals to win – by two to one.

Nearly half the public, however, doesn’t care.

Only in the West do the Giants hold the advantage, and only by a thin margin. 29% of those who live in Western states favored the Giants; 25% were rooting for the Royals. The Royals were ahead in every other region of the country (they led by four to one in their home region, the Midwest, and held clear leads everywhere else).

Fans of Major League Baseball make up a small proportion of the public: only a third say they follow baseball even somewhat closely. They, too, favor the Royals by two to one. And just 18% don’t care.

Americans may be rooting for the Royals, but they are divided on whether or not Kansas City will win the Series. Just as many say San Francisco will take the best of seven series as think Kansas City will. In the West, the Giants’ home region, the Giants are seen as the likely victors; those in the Northeast expect a Giant victory by a narrow margin.

Major League Baseball fans also are divided in their expectations for a winner.

Baseball continues to be dogged by news about steroids and the use of other performance enhancing drugs by players (with the Yankees’ Alex Rodriguez being perhaps the most recent example). Just about half the public views drug use as a major problem for Major League Baseball. 47% say many –if not most – players use those drugs. But perhaps the League’s stern response to the Rodriguez case has brought at least some positive feedback. Americans think that the League has made a good effort to deal with the problem of steroids.

Full results can be found here.

Economist/YouGov poll archives can be found here.