Poll: Economy bigger problem for MLB

Updated: March 8, 2009, 10:05 PM ET
ESPN.com

More than 80 percent of people who follow sports believe there is current use of human growth hormone in baseball, but those same fans perceive the economy as a much bigger problem for baseball than performance-enhancing drugs.

An ESPN/Seton Hall sports poll conducted in March showed that more than 25 percent of the respondents believe that 50 percent of major leaguers, or more, are currently using HGH. Nearly three times as many respondents believe steroids are more prevalent in Major League Baseball than in the National Football League.

The poll also asked fans if Barry Bonds, Alex Rodriguez and Roger Clemens should be elected to the Hall of Fame. For Bonds, 44.4 percent of fans who follow sports said yes and 44.2 percent said no. For Rodriguez, 44.3 percent said yes; 41 percent said no. For Clemens, 46.3 percent said yes; 36.9 percent said no. More than 70 percent of those respondents said a further apology from Rodriguez and Clemens wouldn't change their mind. More than 61 percent of the same respondents said a further apology from Bonds wouldn't change their mind.

When asked their favorite aspect of baseball, nearly 30 percent of respondents who follow sports said home run hitting. If home run numbers decline, 79.9 percent of respondents said their interest in baseball would remain the same.

More than 75 percent said that performance-enhancing drugs shouldn't be allowed in sports; 20.9 percent said they should.

The survey showed that 75 percent of people who follow sports expect to attend the same number of baseball games they did last year. But of those who say they'll attend fewer, 77.6 percent of blame the economy, while 7.2 percent say it's because of performance-enhancing drugs.

More than 40 percent of respondents said that players making too much money is the biggest issue with the game. Only 22.5 percent said steroids -- only one percent more than said it costs too much money.