NEW YORK – A majority of Americans believe Pete Rose (search) should be allowed back into baseball and to enter the Hall of Fame even if he says he gambled on baseball, according to a poll released Monday.
The ABC News-ESPN poll was taken Dec. 17-21, before Rose's admission of gambling (search) became public. But the poll asked whether people thought he gambled on baseball and was able to measure the attitudes about Rose and baseball for those who already suspected him of gambling.
After 14 years of denials, Rose has publicly admitted for the first time that he bet on baseball while manager of the Cincinnati Reds (search). He says he never bet against his own team.
The former slugger says in his soon-to-be-released autobiography that he hopes the acknowledgment will help end his ban from baseball, which could lead to his induction into the Hall of Fame (search).
The poll found that 66 percent of those surveyed believe baseball's career hits leader did bet on baseball games. About the same number said Rose's 1989 lifetime ban from the game should be lifted and felt he should be eligible for the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y.
More than half of those polled, 56 percent, said the ban on baseball should end even if Rose admitted gambling. Almost two-thirds — 64 percent — of those who said they were baseball fans felt the same way.
Of the 1,031 adults polled, 44 percent identified themselves as baseball fans.
The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.