Is rooting for the Miami Heat a political or racial issue?

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As the Miami Heat prepares for Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals against the Boston Celtics, research from Public Policy Polling suggests that rooting for LeBron James, Dwayne Wade and Co. is as much a political and racial issue as it is a sporting one.

“There are major partisan and racial divides when it comes to the attitude of Floridians toward the Heat and their playoff run,” writes Tom Jensen, Director of Public Policy Polling.

Overall 36% of voters in the state say they’re rooting for the Heat while 28% say they are not, and 35% are not sure.  But it’s when you break down those figures along political and racial lines when the numbers get really interesting.

Democrats are pulling for the Heat by a 47/23 margin, but Republicans say they are not by a 29/34 spread.

The contrasts are more stark along racial lines. 75% of African Americans are pulling for the Heat to 10% who are not, but only 29% of whites want them to win while 31% don’t.

There’s even a divide when it comes to rooting for the individual players of the Miami Heat.

Jensen notes thaty only 51% of Florida voters have an opinion about LeBron James (32/19) and that drops to 46% for Dwayne Wade (37/9) and 34% for Chris Bosh (25/9). Yet, there are “big” divides along racial lines in all the players’ numbers. James is at 26/20 with whites and 63/7 with African Americans. For Wade those breakdowns are 30/8 and 73/4 and for Bosh they’re 18/9 and 61/4.

The full results of the poll can be found here.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including,,, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.