On October 4, New York Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge broke the American League's single-season home run record this season. Before he broke the record, Judge was a relatively unknown figure to Americans — even in the Northeast region that includes his home ballpark. Breaking a 61-year-old baseball record turns out to increase awareness among Americans, as well as positive evaluations.
Just over half the country (54%) expresses no opinion about the record-setter in the latest Economist/YouGov poll — but that’s down from 64% just two weeks ago. Some of the largest increases in popularity toward Judge have come among people old enough to remember when Judge's fellow Yankee Roger Maris, in 1961, set the AL record of 61 home runs in a season — the record Judge broke just before this week’s poll began.
Two weeks ago, barely one-quarter (26%) of Americans 65 and older had an opinion of Judge, and only 22% viewed him favorably. Now, nearly half of Americans (46%) in that age group have an opinion of Judge: 40% are favorable and only 6% are not. Awareness of him in the Northeast has also jumped: 57% had no opinion of him two weeks ago, compared to just 39% this week. Nearly half (47%) of Northeasterners view him favorably this week — up from 34% before he broke the record.
— Carl Bialik, Joe Williams, Ian Davis, and Taylor Orth contributed to this article
Polling by the Economist/YouGov was conducted on October 8 - 11, 2022 among 1,500 U.S. adult citizens. Explore more on the methodology and data for this Economist/YouGov poll.
Image: Getty (Ron Jenkins)