Almost half of U.S. adults — 46% — say athletes at the Summer Olympic Games should not be permitted to “publicly engage in protests, such as displaying political messaging in signs or armbands, kneeling, disrupting medal ceremonies or making political hand gestures.”
That’s the key finding of an Economist/YouGov poll of 1,500 U.S. adults conducted July 24-27.
It also revealed that 74% of Republicans, 53% of independents and 23% of Democrats agree that political activities should not be allowed during the global sports competition.
Another 33% overall, however, say the athletes should be able to publicly engage in such protests or gestures; 13% of Republicans, 28% of independents and 57% of Democrats agree.
Another 21% overall are not sure about the issue; that number includes 13% of Republicans, 19% of independents and 20% of Democrats.
Other public-opinion research suggests that the public is weary of politics in the Olympics.
“The Olympic spirit is a bit dampened this year,” said Patrick Murray, director of the independent Monmouth University Polling Institute.
The organization’s survey found that 36% of Americans overall say they have less interest in this year’s Olympics compared with past games. Of this group, a third cited reasons released to the COVID-19 pandemic while 34% “point to politics.”
The remainder give a variety of reasons for having less interest this year, including the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The pandemic-related responses divide into two groups: those who question the wisdom of holding the Olympics while the coronavirus is still active and those who feel changes made to the Games because of the pandemic have made it less compelling,” the poll analysis said.
“The political reasons are almost entirely people upset with athletes using the platform to express political views. Not surprisingly, among those less interested in the Olympics this year, just over half of Democrats (51%) point to Covid as the reason for their lack of interest while just over half of Republicans (51%) cite politics,” the analysis noted.
The Monmouth University Poll of 804 U.S. adults was conducted July 21-26.