Among Florida residents, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are the most popular professional sports team in the state.
Tampa Bay just edged the other two NFL teams in the state for the top spot in the latest report by Public Policy Polling (PPP). Among those polled, 17% stated that the Buccaneers were their favorite team, while the Jacksonville Jaguars and Miami Dolphins each drew 16% of the responses.
The poll results – which also covered such topics as Medicare reform, U.S. House of Representative races and LeBron James' popularity – were released on Wednesday. PPP surveyed 848 Florida voters in June through automated telephone interviews.
Forget James…NFL football is clearly king in Florida. The Buccaneers, Jaguars and Dolphins took the top three spots in the poll by a wide margin, combining to account for 49% of the responses. The NBA's Miami Heat took the fourth spot with 14%, followed by MLB's Tampa Bay Rays and the NBA's Orlando Magic, each receiving 11%. The remainder of the responses went to MLB's Florida Marlins (10%), and the state's two NHL teams, the Tampa Bay Lightning (4%) and the Florida Panthers (2%).
There was more good news for Buccaneer running back Earnest Graham: his alma mater, the University of Florida, has the state's most popular college football team. The Gators were the clear choice in the poll with 30% of the respondents choosing them as their favorite college team, followed by 19% for the Florida State Seminoles and 11% for the Central Florida Knights. That means Ahmad Black, the Florida safety chosen by Tampa Bay in the fifth round of the 2011 NFL Draft, gets the distinct pleasure of jumping directly from the state's favorite college team to its favorite professional team.