Forty-eight percent of Americans say they plan to watch a “great deal” or “fair amount” of the 2016 Summer Olympics. This is a sharp drop from 59% in 2012 and easily the lowest percentage planning to watch compared with the past four Summer Games.
Thirty percent say they plan to watch “not much” of the Olympics, and 21% say “none at all” — the highest percentage saying so since Gallup began asking this question in 2000.
These results come from a July 13-17 Gallup poll asking Americans about their plans to watch the Olympics, which begin this week in Rio de Janeiro. Many athletes’ decisions to opt out of the games because of concerns about the Zika virus have already blemished the Rio Olympics. Other controversies have marred the games, including the banishment of the Russian track and field and weightlifting teams due to their widespread drug use. Reports of rooms in the Olympic Village smelling like gas, along with blocked toilets and exposed wires — as well as accounts of sewage in the waters that athletes will swim and row in — have dominated headlines. All of these issues may explain why Americans find the idea of watching the Rio Olympics less appealing than previous Summer Games.
Sharp Decline Among Women Fuels Drop in Viewing
Men (49%) and women (47%) have roughly the same interest in watching the Rio Olympics. Yet the decline in interest among women is stark: For the 2012 London Olympics, 63% of women said they planned to watch the Olympics a great deal or fair amount.