Major League Baseball’s net favorability rating among Republicans has plunged since it made the decision to pull its All-Star Game out of Atlanta over a Georgia voting law, according to a new poll.
While MLB enjoyed the highest favorability rating among Republicans of the four major U.S. sports leagues in mid-March — 47 percent — that number plummeted to 12 percent in a survey taken last week, according to new data from Morning Consult.
MLB now sits below the NFL and NHL in terms of GOP support.
In a statement earlier this month, MLB commissioner Rob Manfred announced that he had “decided that the best way to demonstrate our values as a sport is by relocating this year’s All-Star Game and MLB Draft.”
Manfred said MLB “fundamentally supports voting rights for all Americans and opposes restrictions to the ballot box.”
Critics claim the new Georgia law makes it more difficult for underrepresented individuals to exercise their right to vote.
Georgia governor Brian Kemp, a Republican, signed the bill into law last month. The legislation calls for changing the rules and processes for requesting an absentee ballot, including mandating that voters present valid forms of photo identification.
The measure also regulates the future use of drop boxes, which were implemented as a COVID innovation, and the early voting period for runoff elections and gives the state the authority to take over county elections or remove local elections officials.
Proponents of the law deny accusations that it aims to suppress votes, pointing out that the legislation does not place new limits on voting hours and makes the state’s elections more secure without restricting voter access. Supporters have argued that the law has been misrepresented.
The survey results come as Republican Senators Ted Cruz of Texas, Josh Hawley of Missouri and Mike Lee of Utah on Tuesday announced a bill to eliminate MLB’s special antitrust exemption over its decision to pull the All-Star Game from Georgia.
Morning Consult’s Alex Silverman notes that baseball “isn’t the first sport to see its net favorability among Republicans significantly decrease as a result of … embracing social justice issues.”
The report notes that the NFL’s popularity among the GOP dipped in 2017 after then-President Trump criticized players who kneeled during the national anthem, while support for the NBA hit new lows last summer after it came out in support of the Black Lives Matter movement.