News & Events

American Public Not Ready to Villainize Lance Armstrong
Seton Hall > News & Events 

Lance ArmstrongDespite a barrage of negative stories surrounding Lance Armstrong in recent weeks, a Seton Hall Sports Poll conducted this week, half the public hasn’t changed their view of the cyclist/Livestrong founder.

Nearly half of the total sampling - 49% - said their opinion has not changed because of the recent allegations, and despite revelations of pressuring his teammates to cover for him, when asked if that led to negatively influencing opinion, only 16% cited that as the leading factor, with 28% saying it was because he denied cheating for so long. 13% said they were influenced by his taking of performance enhancing drugs.

37% said they had a positive opinion of him, with 36% saying negative. 27% had no opinion or didn’t know. The poll has a margin of error of +/- 3.4%.

Among younger respondents - those 18-29 - the positive opinion was 4-1 over the negative.

“It’s a complicated story; it’s not just another athlete cheating,” noted Rick Gentile, director of the poll, which is conducted by the Sharkey Institute. “We were surprised by this result given the almost daily pounding of his reputation but he overcame cancer, raised millions for cancer research, and became an American hero. The public hasn’t forgotten that.”

Only 49% thought his Tour de France titles should have been taken away.

The poll was conducted among 878 randomly selected people across the country, including people on cell phones.

Other Sports Poll Results found that the presidential election outpaces sports for the "fiercest competition," and World Series rate are low in the event fans would most like to attend.

The poll found, in terms of the fiercest competition, the presidential election with 69% easily outpaced both the Super Bowl (19%) and the World Series (8%). Asked which sporting event they would most want to attend, 31% said the Super Bowl and 29% said the Olympics. The World Series was a distant third at 11%, tying the World Cup and the Final Four.

“The World Series was once so entrenched in America’s minds that it was said that the presidential campaigns didn’t get serious until it was over,” added Gentile. “It’s hard to overlook the low scores the World Series recorded in this poll, especially since the poll was conducted in the week of the Series opening.”

Respondents thought the Yankees failure to advance to the World Series was largely due to their being “overpaid and overrated” (32%), with the team’s offensive collapse (17%) cited three times more often than singling out Alex Rodriguez’s ineffectiveness for blame (5%). 9% named Derek Jeter’s breaking his ankle.

Finally, with several major sports organizations suing the state of New Jersey to block legalized gambling on sporting events, the poll asked if such gambling damages the integrity of sports, and by a margin of 53% - 40%, respondents said “yes.”

For more information please contact:
Rick Gentile
(973) 761-7723


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