Poll: Most Americans disagree with China hosting Olympics, but half will still watch

by ian

Ian Patrick, FISM News


The 2022 Winter Olympics held its opening ceremony in Beijing on Thursday, and are now officially underway. But the location of this year’s Games is creating a moral quandary for Americans about whether or not to watch, as many disagree with China’s politics and human rights abuses.

According to a poll done by Axios and Momentive, when asked about the history of China’s human rights abuse and limiting free speech, 70% of Americans disapprove of holding the Winter Games in Beijing this year and only 27% approve. Even with this disapproval rating, 49% still plan to watch at least some of the televised events, while an almost equal 47% will not be watching at all.

Republicans tend to have a stronger feeling of disapproval than Democrats. In those same two categories above, disapproval is found more in the GOP at 80% compared to 67% disapproval from Democrats. In a corresponding figure, only 45% of Republicans will watch the Games compared to 61% of Democrats who say they will watch. Meanwhile, 61% of independents say that they will not watch them.

The data also showed that Americans support certain actions against China such as the diplomatic boycott announced by the US, Australia, Canada, and Britain. 73% of Americans support this specific move while 23% oppose it. However, 74% also believe that it will make no difference in regard to China’s approach to human rights.

China’s use of an app to “monitor their health and travel data” is also a very divisive topic. The majority of Democrats believe it is intended to help control the spread of the virus at 56%, whereas 40% of this party believe it to be used for surveillance. The answers are dramatically flipped for GOP respondents, as only 22% believe it is to control COVID-19 while a whopping 76% believe it to be used for surveillance. In the middle, 39% of independents think it’s to control the spread while 58% believe it will be used as a surveillance tool.

The question of whether to hold the Olympics with a resurgence of COVID-19 cases, similar to the plight of the Tokyo Olympics in 2021, was also important to Americans. Under half (47%) believed the Games should continue in light of the Omicron variant, while 34% wanted it postponed and 16% wanted it canceled entirely.

As far as if there will be an outbreak of COVID-19 thanks to the Games, all sides of the aisle tend to agree. 85% of Democrats, 76% of independents, and 70% of Republicans say that there will likely be an outbreak among athletes while 78% of Democrats, 74% of independents, and 60% of Republicans think that a general outbreak will occur.

The data from the poll tells that Republicans tend to be against China hosting the Games more for their authoritarian rule and their human rights record when compared to Democrats, who tend to care more about a COVID outbreak than Republicans. Though, overall, most Americans focus on the human rights issue (52%) as their reason for concern across party lines.

Other issues for all Americans polled include a COVID outbreak (46%), surveillance of participants (41%) and the boosting of China’s international status (33%). This last factor is very problematic for 46% of the Republican respondents, while only 23% of independents and 26% of Democrats took issue with it.

This poll was conducted from January 28 to January 31 of this year, asking a sample of 2,590 adults from around the US.