Feb 1, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Nearly half of Americans approve of Winter Olympics boycott

Support for U.S. diplomatic boycott of Winter Olympics
Data: Pew Research Center; Chart: Will Chase/Axios

Nearly half of American adults say they approve of the U.S. diplomatic boycott of the Winter Olympics — although 45% admitted they hadn't heard anything about it, according to new polling by Pew Research Center.

Why it matters: The XXIV Winter Games begin this week in Beijing. In protest of China's human rights abuses toward Uyghur Muslims, the U.S. will be sending athletes but no government or diplomatic officials, as announced in December.

By the numbers: It's an issue with rare bipartisan support. 50% of Democratic or Democratic-leaning respondents, along with 45% of Republican and Republican-leaning respondents, told Pew they — at least somewhat — approve of the boycott.

  • Fewer than one in four overall disapproved of it.
  • Roughly 30% were unsure, driven mostly by the large number who said they hadn't heard anything about it.

Between the lines: Despite the administration's announcement late last year, only 9% said they'd read or heard "a lot" about it.

  • Of those, there was even stronger support for the boycott — 69% approved, with nearly half saying they "strongly approve."
  • More than three-in-five respondents who'd heard "a little" about the boycott also said they — at least somewhat — approved of the plan.

The big picture: The only other time the U.S. has taken a similar action was when it fully boycotted the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow.

  • That was in protest of the Soviet Union’s invasion of Afghanistan.
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