People Would Rather Watch The Election Than The Olympics, For Some Reason

Seriously, why?
U.S. Olympian McKayla Maroney and President Barack Obama are not impressed.
U.S. Olympian McKayla Maroney and President Barack Obama are not impressed.

Forget the literal sparring and horse racing happening in Rio ― most Americans are far more interested in the political competition shaping up at home, according to a new HuffPost/YouGov survey.

Americans are more than three times more likely to care about who’ll call the White House home than about who’ll take home the gold. Sixty-seven percent of those polled say they’re very interested in the election, while just 21 percent are very interested in the Olympics. 

And by a 9-point margin of 40 percent to 31 percent, Americans say they’d rather watch news about the election than news about the Olympics. (Another 23 percent are futilely trying to tune out both.)

In a rare moment of political unity, Republicans, Democrats and independents all say they prefer campaign coverage, although the margins differed by party. Democrats chose election news by only a narrow 5-point margin, while Republicans preferred it by a more substantial 23 points.

There’s also a dramatic generational divide in the poll results. Americans under age 45 are about evenly split in their preference for watching people run for president versus watching them run really fast, while older respondents care far more about polling than pole vaulting.

Still, most Americans would rather subject themselves to the grueling regime of an Olympian than put up with the indignities of seeking office. Forty-one percent of those polled say that given the chance, they’d rather compete in the Olympics than run for president, while just 27 percent said they’d opt to run for the Oval Office.

Of course, as the surfeit of sports-related idioms in campaign coverage suggests, there’s probably an overlapping skill set between the two.

The HuffPost/YouGov poll consisted of 1,000 completed interviews conducted Aug. 6-8 among U.S. adults, using a sample selected from YouGov’s opt-in online panel to match the demographics and other characteristics of the adult U.S. population.

The Huffington Post has teamed up with YouGov to conduct daily opinion polls.You can learn more about this project and take part in YouGov’s nationally representative opinion polling. Data from all HuffPost/YouGov polls can be found here. More details on the polls’ methodology are available here.

Most surveys report a margin of error that represents some, but not all, potential survey errors. YouGov’s reports include a model-based margin of error, which rests on a specific set of statistical assumptions about the selected sample, rather than the standard methodology for random probability sampling. If these assumptions are wrong, the model-based margin of error may also be inaccurate. Click here for a more detailed explanation of the model-based margin of error.