Mitchell Miller, wtop.com
WASHINGTON - The Nationals have made history and are on their way to the playoffs, but a new WTOP Beltway Poll finds that the Redskins are still the fan favorite in the Washington area.
When asked to pick their favorite local team, 35 percent report the Redskins are their favorite while 18 percent say the Nationals, followed by the Capitals at 8 percent.
If a Nationals playoff game and a Redskins game were to take place at the same time, 56 percent say they would watch the Redskins while less than one third (31 percent) would tune in to the Nats.
The poll, conducted by Heart+Mind Strategies, also shows Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan has a much higher favorable rating than owner Dan Snyder among Redskin fans. About 83 percent of Redskins fans approve of Shanahan, compared to 54 percent of Snyder. Thirty-nine percent disapprove of the job Snyder is doing, including 23 percent who strongly disapprove.
While the Redskins remain the most popular team in the region, the survey shows sports fans follow several teams.
Asked what area teams they tend to follow, people responded:
- Redskins - 55 percent
- Nationals - 43 percent
- Capitals - 27 percent
- Ravens - 24 percent
- Orioles - 22 percent
- Wizards - 15 percent
- DC United - 10 percent
Close to a third of those surveyed (34 percent) have gone to a Nationals game in the past year, compared to 19 percent who have attended a Redskins game. That was followed by 16 percent for the Capitals, 14 percent who have gone to an Orioles game and 12 percent who have attended a Wizards game.
Among Nationals followers, 51 percent agree with the team's decision to shut down Stephen Strasburg, who is coming off of Tommy John surgery. Thirty percent disagree with the decision, which will keep him from pitching during the playoffs.
Most area residents (84 percent) believe Metro should run past its regular midnight closing time, when a Nationals game runs late. The question was asked before Metro announced that the company LivingSocial had agreed to pick up the costs, after negotiations that stretched over months between Metro and the District.
Some playoff games could last until close to midnight or beyond, since they will start later than the regular season 7:05 p.m. Nationals night game. The Nationals are the first Washington Major League team to make the playoffs in 79 years. The Senators made the playoffs in 1933.
The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.17 percent.
Editor's Note: The D.C. metro phone survey was conducted by Heart+Mind Strategies among 550 adults age 18 and over, between Sept. 13 and Sept. 20, 2012. This included representative samples of 200 people in Virginia (Arlington, Fairfax, Fauquier, Loudoun, Prince William, Spotsylvania, Stafford) 250 in Maryland (Anne Arundel, Calvert, Charles, Frederick, Montgomery, Prince George's and 100 in D.C.
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(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)