Poll: Little Support For Alex Rodriguez

New York Yankees' Alex Rodriguez addresses the media after arriving at George Steinbrenner Field in Tampa, Fla., Tuesday, Feb. 17, 2009.
AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar
New York Yankees superstar Alex Rodriguez, who recently admitted to using a banned performance-enhancing substance between 2001 and 2003, is viewed negatively by more than 4 in 10 baseball fans, a new CBS News/New York Times survey finds.

Just 17 percent of fans surveyed hold favorable views of Rodriguez. Another 27 percent are undecided, while 10 percent say they haven't heard enough to make a determination.

Full CBS Poll On Steroids
Despite Rodriguez's impressive numbers - he is the youngest player ever to hit 500 home runs in his career - more fans think he should not be eligible for the Baseball Hall of Fame than think he should.

Forty-four percent say Rodriguez should be kept out of the Hall Of Fame, while 36 percent say he should be eligible; an additional 20 percent don't know.

The revelation that Rodriguez and other baseball players used steroids seems to be weighing heavily on the minds of fans. Sixty percent say they care "a lot" about steroid use in baseball, up from 53 percent in March of last year. Twenty-three percent care "a little," while just nine percent don't care at all.

Fans do not, however, believe that steroid use is widespread. Just 15 percent say most players use banned performance-enhancing substances, while 22 percent say half of the players use them. A majority of those surveyed - 57 percent - think just a quarter or a few use the drugs.

And they appear to be more tolerant of steroid use than they once were. Two years ago - not long after San Francisco Giants slugger Barry Bonds, who had long been embroiled in a steroids scandal, broke the all-time home run record - half of fans surveyed thought proven steroid users should have their achievements stripped from the record books.

Today, however, just one in three fans feels that way. Forty-seven percent feel that the records should be kept with a note indicating steroids use; 18 percent say the records should be kept as they are for any other player.

The most popular baseball player today is Rodriguez's teammate Derek Jeter, who was volunteered by 12 percent of fans as their favorite. The next most popular players, each volunteered by three percent of fans, are Rodriguez, Albert Pujols and Ken Griffey Jr.

Thirty-two percent of Americans call themselves baseball fans. Fourteen-percent of all Americans say they are "very interested" in the game, while 18 percent are "somewhat interested."

Men are more likely to be fans - 40 percent say they are - than women, 26 percent of whom are fans.

This poll was conducted among a random sample of 1,112 adults nationwide, interviewed by telephone February 18-22 2009. Phone numbers were dialed from RDD samples of both standard land-lines and cell phones. The error due to sampling for results based on the entire sample could be plus or minus three percentage points. The error for baseball fans is five points.

This poll release conforms to the Standards of Disclosure of the National Council on Public Polls.