Notably, while Bonds has overall majority support for these honors, 57 and 58 percent aren't overwhelming support numbers for a player with the single-season home run record and more MVP awards than anyone in baseball history.
TREATMENT – Nonetheless a majority of fans in general think Bonds has been treated fairly – 57 percent say he's received a fair shake, while 30 percent think he's been treated unfairly. As noted, black fans are almost twice as likely as white fans to see Bonds' treatment as unfair, 46 percent vs. 25 percent.
Fans who think Bonds hasn't taken steroids are more likely – by a 3-1 margin – to think he's been treated unfairly than those who don't believe him.
Overall, among those who think he's been treated unfairly, a majority (56 percent) point to his alleged use of steroids as the main reason, while 28 percent say it's mainly because of his personality, and 10 percent think it's because of his race. As noted, there are racial differences in these views, although a plurality of blacks, as well as a majority of whites, chiefly blame the steroid issue, rather than race or personality.
AGE – There are two differences by age within racial groups: Older blacks (age 50 and up) are particularly unlikely to think Bonds knowingly took steroids (29 percent think so, vs. 44 percent of younger blacks, with no such age difference among whites). And younger whites are about 15 points more likely than their elders to favor recognizing Bonds as the home-run leader and electing him to the Hall of Fame.
FANS – Finally, this poll shows continued variation in the number of adults who identify themselves as baseball fans – 36 percent in this survey (including two percent who say they're "somewhat" fans), encompassing 39 percent of whites and 26 percent of blacks.
Across 84 polls from various organizations dating to 1989, the incidence has averaged 48 percent, but with a wide range – 60 percent or more in seven of those polls, but fewer than 40 percent in 10 of them. Events in the sport may be part of the reason: Just 29 percent called themselves fans during the 1994 strike, compared with 63 percent in September 1998, as Mark McGuire raced Sammy Sosa to break Roger Maris' single-year home-run record. That record later was surpassed, in 2001, by Barry Bonds.
METHODOLOGY – This ABC News/ESPN poll was conducted by telephone March 29-April 22, 2007, among a random national sample of 799 adult baseball fans, including an oversample of 203 African-Americans. The results have a 3.5-point error margin among all respondents, seven points among blacks. Field work by ICR-International Communications Research of Media, Pa.