Just 4% of Americans who say holding the Olympics in Russia was a bad decision cite treatment of gay

Public Skeptical of Decision to Hold Olympic Games in Russia
Terrorism and Security Drive Concerns



With the 2014 Winter Olympics approaching, more say it was a bad decision (44%) than a good decision (32%) to hold the games in Russia. About one-in-four (24%) say they don’t know.

Concerns about terrorism and safety are foremost among those who think it was a bad decision to hold the Olympics in Russia. In an open-ended question, 62% of those who say it was a bad decision to hold the Winter Olympics in Russia mention terrorism or general security in Sochi as a reason they feel this way.

Far fewer (5%) mention the Russian government or President Vladimir Putin as reasons why it was a bad decision to hold the games there, while 4% say Russia’s treatment of gays and lesbians make the country a bad choice to host the games.

Most adults are planning to watch either “a lot” (18%) or some (37%) of the Olympics, according to the new national survey by the Pew Research Center, conducted Jan. 30-Feb. 2 among 1,003 adults. About one-in-four adults (26%) say they plan to watch “very little” and 19% say they will not watch at all. Nearly one-in-four of those 50 and older (23%) plan to watch a lot, compared with 14% of those younger than 50.

Young adults stand out in their support of Russia’s hosting of the Olympics. Among adults ages 18-29, about twice as many say it was a “good decision” as a “bad decision” to hold the Winter Olympics in Russia – 49% vs. 25%. By contrast, a 55% majority of adults 50 and older say it was a bad decision, compared with about one-in-four (24%) saying it was a good decision. Among adults ages 30-49, 42% say it was a bad decision and 33% say it was a good decision.

Across all demographic groups, concerns about terrorism and safety are dominant among those who think it was a bad decision to hold the Olympics in Russia. Seven-in-ten Republicans (70%) and 63% of Democrats who said it was a bad decision cite concerns about security. And 7% of Democrats and 2% of Republicans mention Russia’s policies toward gays and lesbians as a reason it was a bad decision.

In 2008, opinions about hosting the Summer Olympics in China changed over time and became more positive as the games began. In a survey four months before the event, the public was evenly divided about whether it was a good idea to hold the Summer Olympics in China (41% good, 43% bad). But during the games’ opening weekend, more viewed the decision to hold the games in China as good than bad (52% good, 31% bad).

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