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Axios|SurveyMonkey poll: Olympics Update

Axios|SurveyMonkey poll: Olympics Update

In a new poll from Axios and SurveyMonkey, six in 10 adults in the U.S. (60%) say they tuned in to the Tokyo Olympics—matching the number who said they would watch in a previous Axios|SurveyMonkey poll conducted just prior to the start of the Olympics. 

A majority of the American public say the restrictions put in place to prevent the spread of coronavirus at the Olympics were “about right” (55%), while 15% consider them to have been “too restrictive”, and 26% say they were “not restrictive enough.” 

  • 28% of Republicans and GOP leaners considered the precautions to be “too restrictive”
  • 34% of Democrats considered the precautions to be “not restrictive enough”

In this latest survey, 46% of people approve of the decision to hold the Olympics in Tokyo this summer, despite the state of emergency there due to COVID that will last throughout the Games. That number is nearly unchanged from our previous survey (47%), conducted in the days leading up to the opening ceremony.

Overall Japan seems to have survived the Olympic Games relatively unscathed. A majority of those in the U.S. (58%) say they approve of how Japan managed the Olympics, while just 35% say they disapprove. Still, 51% say that hosting the Olympics has usually not been worth the cost for the local areas where they have been played, while 43% say that hosting has historically been worth the cost. 

With the winter Olympics just six months away and the delta variant surging worldwide, 50% of Americans say they would approve of holding the upcoming Beijing Olympics without fans (44% say they would disapprove). 

  • Democrats (66%) are more likely than independents (51%) and Republicans (37%) to approve of another fan-less Olympics
  • Seniors 65+ (55%) are more likely than younger adults (49%) to approve of holding the Beijing Olympics without fans

About half of Americans (49%) believe that China’s human rights record should prevent it from hosting the upcoming winter Olympics (33% are not sure).

  • 61% of Republicans believe China should not be allowed to host the Olympics, which is higher than both Democrats (50%) and Independents (36%)
  • More than half of seniors 65+ say China’s human rights record should prevent it from hosting the Olympics (59%) compared with 40% of young adults age 18-34 and 51% of those age 35-64 years
  • More men than women believe China should not host the Olympics (58% vs 42%)

By far, Simone Biles was the athlete that Americans most looked forward to watching at this year’s Games. After Simon Biles’ surprise withdrawal from competition due to mental health reasons, the majority of Americans (62%) say they support her decision, including 51% who say they “strongly support” it. Just 13% oppose her decision and 22% did not know enough about the situation to say.

  • More women than men support her decision (67% vs 57% overall, 57% vs. 44% who “strongly support”)
  • 70% of Blacks vs. 62% of whites support her decision
  • 79% of Democrats support her decision, compared to 51% of Republicans and 59% of Independents

Biles’s decision to withdraw from competition put an unexpected spotlight on mental health, and by a nearly two-to-one margin, Americans are much more likely to say Olympic athletes’ mental health issues are not taken seriously (61% to 33%). 

  • More women than men think Olympic athletes’ mental health issues are not taken seriously (66% vs 55%) 
  • More older (64%) and middle-aged Americans (62%) think mental health is not taken seriously at the Olympics than young Americans (56%)
  • More Democrats (69%) do not think Olympic athletes' mental health is taken seriously, compared to 57% of republicans and 61% of independents

Read more about our polling methodology here

Click through all the results in the interactive toplines below: