Olympics, Two-Thirds of US to VP Pence: Not Appropriate to Stay Seated During Opening Ceremonies
Viewing of Games on Streaming Devices Makes a ‘Breakthrough’ Impact;
Americans Disapprove of ‘Shut Up and Dribble by Wide Margin,’ also say Athletes should be Able to Comment on Social Issues;
Approval of Subsidies to U.S. Olympic Athletes by More than 2 to 1;
Absence of Matt Lauer and Bob Costas gauged; Ban on tackle football until freshman year in high school?
Vice President Mike Pence’s decision to remain seated as the combined North and South Korean teams entered the stadium during Olympic Opening Ceremonies received a harsh rebuke from the American public – by 3-to-1, according to a Seton Hall Sports Poll conducted this week,
A strong 66% said the gesture was not appropriate, with only 18% supporting the decision. People in the 18-44 age bracket disapproved by 72%-14%, while older people, by 60% to 22% – were somewhat more supportive — but still strongly opposed.
“It’s a departure from the reaction to most actions taken by the current administration during this era of polarization,” noted Rick Gentile, director of the poll, which is sponsored by the Sharkey Institute. “Eighteen percent is less than half of the usual approval found from polling on other administration actions.”
The poll was conducted this week with random calls to 775 adults on landlines and cellphones across the country, and has a margin of error of +/- 3.6%.
Olympic Games: Streaming Garners ‘Breakthrough’ Numbers; General Interest Levels Gauged; Impact of Absence of Bob Costas and Matt Lauer; Subsidies for U.S. Olympic Athletes Favored
As for the Olympic Games themselves, 17% named “streaming” as the manner in which they mostly watched the Games, and while 54% named NBC’s primetime coverage, the 17% is significant for the communications industry as a breakthrough number. (12% named “other TV networks” as their most preferred option).
“It’s eye-popping,” said Gentile. “It marks yet another breakthrough in the so-called ‘cord-cutting’ era. That little more than half of the audience primarily watches on NBC primetime would have been considered remarkable just four years ago. And as a sign of things to come, 44% of those 18-29 chose streaming, about the same as chose NBC prime time.”
Meanwhile, as far as general interest in the Winter Olympics, only 9% say their interest in greater, while 18% say it is less than previously. But among those 18-29, coveted by advertisers, interest was greater among 20%, with only single digits in older age groups (7% in the 30-44 category, 6% among 45-59 and 7% among 60+).
“This could be due to the X-Games influence and the increased snow-boarding coverage,” added Gentile.
66% said it didn’t matter whether they were viewing an event live or delayed. And 66% also said that NBC has done a good job of generating interest in the Games.
This is the first Olympics in many years without Matt Lauer’s presence in the morning, and Bob Costas serving as host in prime time. 16% said the evening coverage was “not as good” without Costas, and 11% said morning coverage was “not as good” without Lauer.
Asked whether the US Olympic Committee should subsidize American athletes who cannot earn a living participating in sports like luge, cross-country skiing, and other sports, 59% said they should offer subsidies with only 22% saying no.
Athletes Voicing Opinions on Social Positions Supported; A Rebuff to Fox’s Ingraham.
The Poll asked whether professional athletes should use their fame to comment on social issues. 47% said yes, and 42% said no, with 11% having no opinion. But asked about Fox News’ host Laura Ingraham’s comment that the players (notably LeBron James and Kevin Durant) should “shut up and dribble,” only 25% approved while 46% disapproved. (30% had no opinion). Among those who identified themselves as African-American, only 12% expressed approval of her comment, with 69% disapproving.
Ban on Tackle Football until Freshman Year in High School?
Finally, the Poll asked for opinions on the bill in the California State Legislature to ban organized tackle football until freshman year in high school in response to the danger of brain injury to younger players. The bill received support from 46% (nationally), with 24% disapproval. 30% had no opinion or did not know.
This release can also be found here.
The Official Seton Hall Sports Poll podcast discussing this topic with Seth Everett and Rick Gentile can be found at here.
About the poll:
This poll was conducted by telephone February 19-21 among 775 adults in the United States. The Seton Hall Sports Poll is conducted by the Sharkey Institute.
Phone numbers were dialed from samples of both standard landline and cell phones. The error due to sampling for results based on the entire sample could be plus or minus 3.8 percentage points. The error for subgroups may be higher. This poll release conforms to the Standards of Disclosure of the National Council on Public Polls.
The Seton Hall Sports Poll has been conducted regularly since 2006.
1. Which ongoing sports event or season are you most interested in, the Winter Olympics, college basketball, the NBA, the NHL or the opening of baseball’s spring training camps?
1. Winter Olympics 31%
2. College basketball 10
3. NBA 17
4. NHL 6
5. Spring training 12
6. Don’t know/No opinion 24
2. Would you say your interest in the Winter Olympics currently taking place in South Korea is greater than, less than or about the same as interest in previous Olympics?
1. Greater than 9
2. Less than 18
3. About the same 52
4. Not interested at all 15
5. Don’t know 5
(If “Not interested at all” skip to question 7)
3. Where have you watched more Olympic coverage, NBC’s prime time, daily coverage on other TV networks or streaming coverage on handheld devices?
1. NBC Prime Time 54
2. Other TV networks 12
3. Streaming 17
4. Don’t know 17
4. Are you more likely to watch an Olympic event if it’s presented live or does it not matter if the presentation is delayed?
1. Live 30
2. Doesn’t matter 66
3. Don’t know/No opinion 5
5. For many years Matt Lauer hosted NBC’s morning Olympic coverage and Bob Costas hosted the evening presentation. Do you think the morning Olympic coverage on the Today show is as good without Matt Lauer, not as good or about the same?
1. As good 16
2. Not as good 11
3. About the same 32
4. Don’t know/No opinion 42
6. How about the evening coverage without Bob Costas, as good, not as good or about the same?
1. As good 12
2. Not as good 16
3. About the same 40
4. Don’t know/No opinion 32
7. Do you think NBC, the presenting network in the U.S., has done a good job of generating interest in the Games?
1. Yes 66
2. No 17
3. Don’t know/No opinion 17
8. Should the US Olympic Committee subsidize American athletes who cannot earn a living participating in their sports like luge, cross country skiing, etc.?
1. Yes 59
2. No 22
3. Don’t know/No opinion 19
9. Vice President Mike Pence attended the Olympics’ Opening Ceremony in South Korea and was seated in the VIP box with various foreign dignitaries and heads of state. He remained seated when the combined North and South Korean team entered the arena during the parade of nations. Do you think it was appropriate for him to remain seated while all others stood?
1. Yes 18
2. No 66
3. Don’t know/No opinion 16
10. Do you think professional athletes should use their fame as a platform to make comments about social issues?
1. Yes 47
2. No 42
3. Don’t know/No opinion 11
11. Two weeks ago the California State Legislature introduced a bill to ban organized tackle football until freshman year in high school in response to the danger of brain injury to younger players. Do you approve of this bill, disapprove or have no opinion?
1. Approve 46
2. Disapprove 24
3. No opinion 23
4. Don’t know 7
12. Fox News host Laura Ingraham, in response to comments by LeBron James and Kevin Durant criticizing President Trump, said the players should “shut up and dribble”. Do you strongly approve, somewhat approve, somewhat disapprove, strongly disapprove or have no opinion regarding Laura Ingraham’s statement?
1. Strongly approve 16
2. Somewhat approve 9
3. Somewhat disapprove 11
4. Strongly disapprove 35
5. Don’t know/No Opinion 30
13. How closely do you follow sports, very closely, closely, not closely or not at all?
1. Very closely 15
2. Closely 37
3. Not closely 30
4. Not at all 18
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