Sports Poll: Only 22 Percent of Floridians Like LeBron, Gators Are Favorite Team

Finally a political polling firm has decided to poll on something other than politics. Public Policy Polling surveyed Floridians on another contentious topic: sports. The poll shows LeBron James isn't exactly that popular in his new state, while Florida's favorite pro team is the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the favorite college team is the Florida Gators. 

Only 22 percent of Floridians say they have a favorable opinion of LeBron. 24 percent have an unfavorable opinion, while 54 percent are unsure. Yes, that makes LeBron more popular here than in Ohio, but the King still has a lot of work to do to win over fans in the Sunshine State. 

Seventeen percent of Floridians cite the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as their favorite sports team, followed by the Dolphins and Jaguars at 16 percent each. It's pretty sad when the Dolphins, by far the state's oldest professional team, has the same amount of popularity as the Jaguars, a relatively new and unaccomplished outfit that can't even sell out most of its home games. Then again, the polling questions included all pro sports teams. So perhaps South Floridians had to make a Sophie's choice between the Dolphins and the Heat (now the state's favorite basketball team). 

Here's the full rundown: 

Marlins 10%

Panthers 2%

Jaguars 16%

Dolphins 16%



Magic 11%

Buccaneers 17%

Lightning 4%

Rays 11%

Someone else/Don't have a favorite team 0

To no one's surprise, hockey is Florida's least favorite sport. Even the Tampa Bay Lightning, which just had an exciting postseason run, gets only 4 percent. The Panthers, who haven't been to the playoffs in ten years, come in at the bottom with 2 percent.

The numbers are also quite interesting when broken down by race and ethnicity. The Miami Heat are the favorite team of both Hispanics (at 20 percent) and African Americans (at 37 percent). Meanwhile the Dolphins (who are only the favorite team of 9 percent of Hispanics) tie for first among White sports fans with the Buccaneers with 19 percent each.  

The numbers in college sports are a bit more clear:
Central Florida 11%

Florida 30%

Florida Atlantic 5%

Florida International


Florida State 19%



South Florida 6%

Not sure 18%

A 9 percent showing for the Miami Hurricanes is kind of surprising, considering their five championships make them the most historically successful team in the state, pro or otherwise. But UM is a small private school with a relatively small alumni base.

Being a political polling firm, PPP also correlated the numbers with political ideology. The Jaguars are the most popular team among people who describe themselves as "Very Liberal" with 20 percent, followed closely by the Marlins at 19 percent, while the Buccaneers extend their lead to 21 percent among very conservative voters. The Miami Hurricanes and Florida Atlantic University Owls are also the only college teams that have more liberal fans than conservative. 

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Kyle Munzenrieder