Poll: baseball tops basketball, hockey and NASCAR

Sports fans of all stripes have something to be happy about this time of year, with the NBA and NHL playoffs in full swing, baseball back in season and NASCAR revving its collective engines.

Professional baseball emerges as the winner, however. Two-thirds of all Americans hold favorable opinions of the sport, lifting the national pastime above the other three, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.

Basketball is close behind baseball with a 58-percent favorable rating. The most loyal basketball fans nearly match the quantity of intense baseball fans, with about a quarter giving strong favorable ratings for each. Just under half have favorable impressions of hockey and NASCAR.

Majorities of all groups like baseball, but there are divisions on other sports. Notably, African Americans like basketball much more than whites, and basketball and hockey are more popular with young adults than their elders.

Democrats and Republicans seemingly divide on everything, including sports. Democrats like the NBA much more than Republicans. Republicans are more inclined toward NASCAR. Independents split the difference on each sport.

Baseball is a more unifying pastime with nearly as many Democrats as Republicans rating it favorably. The two parties also split about evenly on hockey.

This poll was conducted April 25 to 29 among a random national sample of 1,000 adults. The results have a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.

WATCH: National pastime ranks as America’s favorite

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Peyton M. Craighill is polling manager for the Washington Post. Peyton reports and conducts national and regional news polls for the Washington Post, with a focus on politics, elections and other social and economic issues.

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