In a state where football is a way of life and politics, the University of Florida Gators are number 1 in the hearts of fans, according to Public Policy Polling. The University of Miami Hurricanes aren't so loved. And Miami Heat basketball star LeBron James is not much of a star at all.
-When it comes to Floridians' favorite professional sports team it's all about football. 17% of voters in the state say the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are their favorite to 16% each for the Miami Dolphins and Jacksonville Jaguars. The state's NBA teams come next in the pecking order with 14% saying the Miami Heat are their top team and 11% picking the Orlando Magic. Baseball teams come next with the Tampa Bay Rays tying the Magic at 11% and the Florida Marlins coming right behind at 10%. Bringing up the rear are the state's two hockey teams with the Tampa Bay Lightning at 4% and the Florida Panthers at 2%.
-There's a more clear leader when it comes to Florida's favorite college sports program. That's the Gators at 30%, followed by Florida State at 19%, Central Florida at 11%, Miami at 9%, South Florida at 6%, Florida Atlantic at 5%, and Florida International at just 1%. Pretty embarrassing numbers for the Hurricanes given the historic success of their athletic programs as opposed to Central Florida- of course the public vs. private nature of the schools and the Golden Knights' comparatively massive student body and alumni base might have something to do with that.
-And finally Floridians don't like LeBron James, although they do like him better than Ohioans do. 22% of voters in the state see him in a favorable light to 24% with a negative opinion. That compares to 23% with a positive opinion and 49% with an unfavorable one when we polled his home state in May.