Seton Hall Sports Poll November, 2015


South Orange, NJ, November 19, 2015 — 73% of Americans say they are either very or somewhat concerned about attending a sporting event in a large venue, following the Paris attacks last week which included terrorist activity outside of Stade de France during a major soccer match.

The Seton Hall Sports Poll was conducted this week (Nov 16-18) among 879 random adults across the country, reached by landline and cellphone. 34% said they were very concerned, 39% said they were somewhat concerned, and 23% said it made no difference.  The Paris attacks took place last Friday.

The poll has a margin of error of 3.3%.

“This is a dramatic number, and something that should be noted by all sports leagues that play in large venues,” noted Rick Gentile, director of the Poll, which is sponsored by The Sharkey Institute. “Normally, Americans rally quickly and say ‘This will not change my way of life.’ But in this case, it has clearly given them pause.”


The Poll also asked whether the threatened strike by the University of Missouri football team, in the wake of reaction to racial tensions on campus by the University president, was appropriate – the question being, “Do you think a school sponsored sports team should involve itself in campus politics?” On this the nation was evenly divided, with 44% saying yes and 46% no. However, among those 18-29, the “yes” received a 57% to a 37% “no,” while those over 60 were 38% to 50%.


The Poll regularly asks whether college athletes in revenue-generating sports should be compensated beyond scholarships. In the past, those saying yes has been fairly consistent, ranging from 21% in 2007 to 27% in 2011. This year (with the question saying “football players” as opposed to “athletes”), 36% said yes, which was up sizably from the 25% approval in 2013. “Public opinion is slowly shifting on this one,” noted Gentile. “Of course the majority still say ‘no,’ but we will be watching this.”


Despite all the recent attention paid to online fantasy sports (notably through DraftKings and FanDuel, and more recently, Yahoo!), the public remains consistent on whether these are games of skill or a form of gambling, and whether they should be legislated. 50% believe them to be a form of gambling, 30% say it is a game of skill, and 20% don’t know. In September, the numbers were 52%, 31% and 17%. As for whether states should be regulating the sites, (New York and Nevada have banned them), 51% say the states should regulate, and 35% say no. As for legality, 54% say the practice should be legal, 38% say it should be illegal and 9% don’t know. And finally, as to whether or not people agreed with the decision by the New York State Attorney General to order that Fan Duel and Draft Kings cease doing business in the state:

  • Agree                            38%
  • Disagree                       31
  • Don’t know                   31


With the World Anti-Doping Agency finding Russian track and field athletes guilty of systematic doping, people were asked whether Russian athletes should be banned from next year’s Olympics. 77% said only athletes testing positive should be banned, with just 14% saying the whole Russian track and field team should be banned.

The Agency has banned the guilty athletes from international competition.

Rick Gentile and Seth Everett talk about the results.


One of the country’s leading Catholic universities, Seton Hall University has been a catalyst for leadership — developing students in mind, heart and spirit — since 1856. Home to nearly 10,000 undergraduate and graduate students and offering more than 90 academic programs, Seton Hall’s academic excellence has been singled out for distinction by The Princeton Review, U.S.News & World Report and Bloomberg Businessweek.

Seton Hall, which embraces students of all religions, prepares its graduates to be exemplary servant leaders and global citizens. Its attractive main campus is located in suburban South Orange, New Jersey, and is only 14 miles by train, bus or car from New York City, offering a wealth of employment, internship, cultural and entertainment opportunities. The university’s nationally recognized School of Law is prominently located in downtown Newark.

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About the poll:

This poll was conducted by telephone November 16-18 among 879 adults in the United States. The Seton Hall Sports Poll is conducted by the Sharkey Institute.

Phone numbers were dialed from samples of both standard landline and cell phones. The error due to sampling for results based on the entire sample could be plus or minus 3.3 percentage points. The error for subgroups may be higher. This poll release conforms to the Standards of Disclosure of the National Council on Public Polls.

The Seton Hall Sports Poll has been conducted regularly since 2006.

The Results (all findings listed in %):

Fan Duel and Draft Kings, two daily fantasy sports websites, were ordered to cease doing business in New York State last week because they were deemed to be gambling sites. Do you agree with the decision by NY State or disagree?

  • Agree                            38%
  • Disagree                       31
  • Don’t know                   31

Do you think participation in daily fantasy sports is a form of gambling or is it a game of skill?

  • Form of gambling         50
  • Game of skill                  31
  • Don’t know                     20

Internet betting on sporting events is illegal in most states. Do you think playing daily fantasy sports on the internet should be illegal as well?

  • Yes                                    38
  • No                                     54
  • Don’t know                        9

Do you think betting on sporting events on the internet should be illegal?

  • Yes                                    40
  • No                                     47
  • Don’t know                      13

A number of states, including New Jersey and California, are discussing regulating of daily fantasy websites. Do you think these sites should be regulated by state governments?

  • Yes                                    51
  • No                                     35
  • Don’t know                      14

The University of Missouri football team threatened to strike and forfeit a game if the president of the university didn’t resign over his remarks about racial tensions on campus. Do you think a school sponsored sports team should involve itself in campus politics?

  • Yes                                    44
  • No                                     46
  • Don’t know                      10

College football generates enormous profits for many universities. Do you   think college football players should be compensated beyond the scholarships they receive?

  • Yes                                    36
  • No                                     57
  • Don’t know                        7

Russia has been banned from international track and field competitions pending a doping investigation of athletes and officials. If the allegations prove to be true do you think all Russian track and field athletes should be banned from next year’s Olympics, or only Russian track and field athletes who test positive for performance enhancing drugs should be banned?

  • All Russian track and field athletes should be banned            14
  • Only athletes testing positive should be banned                      77
  • Don’t know                                                                                         8

There was just a terror attack at a soccer stadium in Paris. How concerned does this make you in regard to attending a sporting event in a large venue in the United States?

  • Very concerned               34
  • Somewhat concerned    39
  • It makes no difference   23
  • Don’t know                         4

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