Athletic Supporters

Sports stars weigh in with presidential picks
March 23, 2008

LAST WEEK SIconducted a poll of nearly 350 players in the three major in-seasonleagues—MLB, the NHL and the NBA—asking them which candidate they support inthe presidential election. (Only eligible voters were surveyed, and they wereguaranteed anonymity.) Some made well-reasoned arguments: one NHL player gave along, thoughtful explanation of his choice, concluding that he liked JohnMcCain because the senator can "work both sides of the aisle." And manyNBA players, who overwhelmingly supported Barack Obama, were more interested inmaking this a historic election than getting their taxes lowered. Others, notso much. A baseball player explained that he's voting for Obama because theteam's trainer "said a bunch of nice things about him."

Here's a samplingof what players liked and disliked about each candidate.

OBAMA

FARED WELLWITH

The NBA, where hetopped McCain by a nearly 8-to-1 margin.

RESONANTISSUES

• Race
Being African-American weighed in his favor with many. "That's afactor," said one NBA player. "But at the end of the day, I wantsomebody who's going to look out for all Americans."

• Charisma
"He'll bring back prestige to the leader of the free world," said onebaseball player. "I think Obama is the JFK for this generation." Said ahockey player, "I see him on Oprah, and I think he's a sincereguy."

• Change
"What's going on in politics now isn't working," said one NBA player,echoing the message of many.

POTENTIALHANGUPS

• Misinformedvoters
"It kind of rhymes with Osama," said one supporter. A McCain backersaid, "The country is not going to elect a Muslim." When it was pointedout that Obama's a Christian, the player said, "He converted." Really?"Positive." (He didn't.)

CLINTON

FARED WELLWITH

Fans of the 42ndpresident. Nearly all her supporters—and, since the respondents were wealthymales, which isn't exactly her base, there weren't many—said they were backingher because of their respect for her husband.

RESONANTISSUES

• Did we mentionthe surname?
"I want Billary in there," said her sole NHL backer. Said an NBAplayer, "Bill Clinton was the best president we ever had, and I'm surehe'll still be calling most of the shots if Hillary is elected."

• Health care
"We need a national health care program, and she can get it done," saida baseball player. (One NBA player, however, preferred Obama's plan and evenbacked a tax hike to fund it.)

POTENTIALHANGUPS

• Clintonfatigue
"The Clintons had their time," said an NBA Obama backer.

• Her gender
"The country is not going to elect a woman," said one baseball player,"especially when she cries on TV."

McCAIN

FARED WELLWITH

Baseball andhockey players, as well as those fed up with the Democrats. "He's betterthan those other two nitwits," said one of his NHL supporters.

RESONANTISSUES

• Taxes
Said one hockey player, "My wife told me I'm supposed to pick—what's itcalled?—the fiscal conservative." In other words (from a baseball player):"Look at the tax bracket we're in." Said another MLBer, "Looks likeI'm voting for McCain. Why? I like my money, and I don't likesocialism."

• His militaryrecord
"We have a war on, and he was a war guy," said one baseball player.Said another, "He spent time in a prison camp, and he's risen to U.S.senator. That's the American Dream, right?"

POTENTIALHANGUPS

• Age
One NBA player explained why he's backing Obama: "He's not a 71-year-oldRepublican."

• Bush backlash
"McCain would just replace Bush, and I don't want that," said oneundecided hockey player.

The Final Tally

Obama
Clinton
McCain
Other
Undecided

[This article contains a complex diagram. Please seehardcopy of magazine or PDF.]

MLB (207 respondents)
17
101
5
36

NBA (95)
4
8
1
20

NHL (45)
1
23
2
13

TOTAL
22
132
8
69

Go Figure

14 Home runs hit by Georgia Southern in a 26--8 winover Columbia last Saturday, an NCAA record for all divisions.

4 SEC wins—in 16 games—for Georgia's basketball teamduring the regular season.

4 Wins—in four games—for Georgia during the SECtournament, which sent the last-place Bulldogs into the NCAA tournament.

500 Consecutive games started by the Spurs' BruceBowen, the NBA's longest active streak, before he was suspended for a game forkicking the Hornets' Chris Paul last week.

339 Consecutive starts by the Pistons' Tayshaun Prince(right), which is now the longest games-started streak in the NBA.

5 Goals Penguins goalie Ty Conklin allowed in fourgames—all wins—this season against the Sabres, who let him leave as a freeagent after last season.

0 Times in the Sabres' 38-year history that they'vebeen swept by the Penguins in their season series before this year.

PHOTOTOM GRILL/CORBIS (BUTTON) PHOTOEMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP/GETTY IMAGES (OBAMA) PHOTOROBYN BECK/AFP/GETTY IMAGES (CLINTON) PHOTOALLEN KEE/WIREIMAGE.COM (MCCAIN) PHOTOKENT SMITH/NBAE/GETTY IMAGES (PRINCE) TWO PHOTOSKELLY-MOONEY PHOTOGRAPHY/CORBIS (BUNTING) PHOTOCORBIS (ELEPHANT) PHOTOCORBIS (DONKEY) FOUR CHARTS

HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)