Neil Best leaves no stone unturned in the world of sports media.

Yankees, Derek Jeter popular among New Yorkers

(Credit: Watchdog)

At first I was intrigued by a release Thursday from the Siena Research Institute, which polled New Yorkers about their sports preferences and opinions on a variety of topics.

Then my boss pointed out to me that the poll surveyed New Yorkers as in the people who occupy the vast reaches of New York State as opposed to New Yorkers in the metropolitan area.

Well . . . that's nice but doesn't really mean much, does it? I'm not sure what is proven by asking people in both Fredonia and Freeport to name their favorite team.

Whatever. Click below to read the news release anyway if you have a couple of minutes to kill, as there are a few mildly interesting results.

No blogging until after noon Thursday.

Newspaper stuff. Sorry. Enjoy the 1988 First Union 400 on ESPN Classic at 2 p.m.Siena NY Sports Poll

By better than four-to-one (54-12 percent) New Yorkers believe Roger Clemens used performance enhancing drugs, despite his repeated denials. This helps explain why more New Yorkers (36%) have an unfavorable opinion of the former Yankee pitcher than those (28%) who have a favorable impression of Clemens, according to a new Siena NY Sports Poll released today by the Siena (College) Research Institute (SRI). Nearly two-thirds of New Yorkers would deny induction into a “Hall of Fame” for athletes that used performance enhancing drugs and a majority endorse the investigation of drugs in sports by Congress. The Siena NY Sports Poll also finds that the Yankees are the team with far and away the most New York fans. The Bronx Bombers were selected by 27%, followed by the Mets (12%) and the Superbowl champion Giants (9%).

“A majority of all New Yorkers regardless of age, gender, or region are sports fans with strong allegiances and opinions,” said Dr. Don Levy, Director of SRI. “New Yorkers clearly see Roger Clemens is a lightening rod. They overwhelmingly think he’s lying about steroid use and, other than self-described Yankee fans; they have an unfavorable view of the seven-time Cy Young Award winner.

“Most fans want to see sports without drug enhanced performance and are ready to invite Congress to help,” Levy said. “And New Yorkers have a message for Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens and any other athlete who has admitted or they suspect has used steroids or other performance enhancing drugs: We don’t want to see you in Cooperstown or any other sports hall of fame.”

Eighty-Seven percent of all New Yorkers have one favorite team from among all sports. Rounding out the top six after the Yankees, Mets and Giants are the Buffalo Bills (4%), the Boston Red Sox (3%) and the Buffalo Sabres (3%). The Yankees are the top team to root for in the New York City area and eastern upstate but western upstate respondents favor the Bills and Sabres over the Yanks. Overall two-thirds of New Yorkers have a favorable opinion of the Yankees with 16% having an unfavorable opinion. But among Met fans only 49% view the Yankees favorably while 33% are negative on the Yanks. Not surprisingly, New Yorkers that prefer the Red Sox have an unfavorable rating of the Yankees of 73% to 19%.

The Mets trail the Yanks in not only devoted fans but also in overall favorability with a 57% positive rating but the Mets do have a lower negative rating, 13%, as compared with the 16% unfavorable scored by the Yanks. Yankee fans see the Mets more positively at 56% than the Mets fans feel towards the Yanks. And the World Series champ Red Sox manage a plurality of positive support with a 34% to 31% favorable to unfavorable. Both Yankee fans (54% to 27%) and New York Giant fans (41% to 32%) have a negative opinion of the Sox.

Derek Jeter, the Yankee captain, is seen favorably by 67% of all New Yorkers and 88% of Yankee fans. He even manages a net positive rating from Red Sox fans (44% to 30%). Alex Rodriguez coming off an MVP season gets a positive rating of 52% to 10% statewide, 72% to 6% with Yankee fans and a “boo-like” unfavorable rating from Red Sox fans of 52% to 22%. Andy Pettitte is seen favorably by 49% to 10% of New Yorkers and retains a 77% to 3% positive ranking among Yankee fans. George Steinbrenner, the “Boss”, manages an overall positive ranking of 34% to 26% despite negative ratings from Red Sox, Mets and Bills fans.

“Fans, from avid to casual and even some that hardly follow the games form strong opinions about the celebrities in sports,” according to Dr. Levy. “While Clemens is losing his support, Pettitte seems to have come out of the recent investigations with strong fan respect. A-Rod has rallied among Yankee fans while Steinbrenner continues to get mixed reviews.”

Among all New Yorkers, baseball, America’s pastime, remains the favorite sport at 30%. Football is the preferred sport of 23% of respondents followed by basketball (15%) and hockey (7%). Men choose football as their top pick over baseball, 29% to 25% while women like baseball over football by a much larger margin 34% to 18%. Western upstate again is different from other areas with football the top selection at 26% of all western NY’ers followed closely by baseball, basketball and hockey. Smaller but sizable groups of New Yorkers cite tennis (4%), soccer (4%) and Nascar (4%) as their favorite sport.

Overall, New Yorkers wish Yankee Stadium was not being torn down, 47% to 18%. In addition to supporting congressional intervention into sports to investigate drug use, banning steroid users from sports’ enshrinement (63% to 20%), respondents by a small plurality, 40% to 33% would strip the Patriots of their championships if it were shown that they broke rules by videotaping opponents’ practices.

New Yorkers fall into four different fanship categories based on how frequently they watch, listen to, read and talk about sports. Avid fans (16% of all fans), those that engage in fanship activities on a daily basis are most inclined to disbelieve Clemens but simultaneously least in favor of taking championships away from the New England Patriots if they broke rules about videotaping opponents. Involved fans (28%), those that make sure they know how their teams are doing but do not practice fanship with the same zeal as Avid fans, are most supportive of Congressional intervention into drug use in sports. Casual fans (27%), those that may move in and out of watching and tracking sports but still have a team and favorites, scored highest (69%) on refusing enshrinement to drug users. And Non-fans (29%) those that do not actively follow sports and only occasionally see a game on TV, may have fewer opinions on sports but still rank the Yankees as their clear favorite.

The Siena Research Institute NY Sports Poll was conducted from February 28 – March 6, 2008 by random telephone calls to 802 New York State residents over the age of 18. Respondent data was weighted to meet census demographics. The margin of error at a 95% confidence level is +/-3.5 points. The four categories of Avid, Involved, Casual and Non-fans were statistically determined by submitting all responses to the eight questions about fanship activities to cluster analysis. For more information or comments, please call Dr. Don Levy, Director Siena Research Institute or visit: www.siena.edu/sri/sportsfanship03_08.

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