Starting Friday, the Philadelphia Phillies and Houston Astros will face each other for the 2022 World Series. Among Americans who are interested in Major League Baseball, 59% want to see the Phillies emerge with their third-ever World Series victory (with previous wins in 2008 and 1980). While MLB fans clearly support the Phillies in this matchup, the National League champs are seen as the underdog by sports bettors. MLB fans, however, are split on who will win the title: 49% say the fan-favored Phillies will win, while 51% say the Astros will win, according to the latest Economist/YouGov Poll.
Fans tend to pick the winner with their hearts. Among people who want the Phillies to win, 67% think they will; 79% of people who prefer an Astros win also expect one.
People in the Northeast who are interested in MLB prefer a win by the Phillies, their region's World Series team, by a margin of 72% to 28%. Fans in the Midwest and West are also rooting for the underdogs. Most baseball fans in the South (54%) want the Texas-based Astros to win. When asked which team will win, fewer Northeasterners expect (60%) a Phillies victory than want one (72%) while Southerners are more likely to expect an Astros win (62%) than to want one (54%). In every region, more people expect than want a Houston win.
For the Astros, the upcoming series represents their fifth World Series appearance, and their second in two years: They lost the 2021 World Series to the Atlanta Braves. The Astros' only World Series win came in 2017, though some fans believe that title is tainted by the team's cheating scandal, involving illegally decoding signals from opposing teams' catchers. An Astros redemption championship is unwanted by most MLB fans, but if it happened, polls indicate that it would not come out of left field.
–Taylor Orth and Carl Bialik contributed to this article
Polling by the Economist/YouGov was conducted on October 22 - 25, 2022 among 1,500 U.S. adult citizens. Explore more on the methodology and data for this Economist/YouGov poll.
Image: Getty Images (Michael Reaves)