CBS News Poll: Should politics play a role in the Olympics?

An activist holds a placard depicting Russian President Vladimir Putin with makeup during a demonstration against Russia's anti-gay legislation, on the day of the opening ceremony of the Sochi Winter Olympic Games, in Hong Kong, February 7, 2014.

Political controversies have often infiltrated the Olympic Games, and this year has been little different, with calls to protest the Sochi Games a recent Russian law banning "the propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations" -- a law widely seen as an attack on gay rights.

According to a new CBS News poll released Sunday, Americans by a wide margin do not think political expression should have role in the Olympic Games -- reinforcing the International Olympic Committee's charter which bans political demonstrations by participants.

While 13 percent of those surveyed believe political expression should have a role in the Olympic Games (because it can bring attention to important issues), 82 percent do not (believing attentions should be focused solely on athletes and events).

All demographic groups agree that political expression should not have role in the Olympics, but women feel more strongly about it than men (85 percent vs. 78 percent). Older Americans feel more strongly than younger Americans. 

On the political spectrum, Republicans (at 92 percent) are the most likely to say politics shouldn't have a role in the Olympics, compared to Independents (79 percent) and Democrats (78 percent).

CBS News Poll: Politics and the Olympics, February 2014 (pdf)

This poll was conducted by telephone from January 15-19, 2014 among 1,008 adults nationwide. Data collection was conducted on behalf of CBS News by Social Science Research Solutions of Media, Pa.  Phone numbers were dialed from samples of both standard land-line and cell phones.  The error due to sampling for results based on the entire sample could be plus or minus three percentage points. The error for subgroups may be higher.  Interviews were conducted in English and Spanish.  This poll release conforms to the Standards of Disclosure of the National Council on Public Polls.

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