Roughly Half Say Sports Events and Presidential Election Could Be ‘Rigged’

South Orange, NJ, October 31, 2016 – With the word “rigged” being thrown about in this election season, the Seton Hall Sports Poll asked Americans if they felt that sports contests and the upcoming presidential election “could be rigged by outside influences.”

A majority, though in some cases slim, said “yes, they could be rigged.”

sports-poll-10-31-16-riggedThe results: 52% said “yes” that an NFL game “could be rigged by outside influences” with 42% saying “no.” For an NBA game, 51% said yes; 42% no.

For college sports the margins were closer: for a college football game, it was 47% yes, 46% no, and for a college basketball game, it was 46% yes, 45% no.

Of all the questions asked, only baseball’s World Series, taking place as the poll was conducted, had a majority that believed its games could not be “fixed,” with only 42% saying “yes” and 51% saying “no.”

And pointedly, 47% of Americans said “yes” a presidential election “could be rigged by outside influences,” while 46% said “no”.

In each case, between 7-9% said they did not know.

The poll was conducted last week – October 24-26 – among 841 adults (landline and cellphone) with a margin of error of +/- 3.4%.

Asked whether the presidential election “could be rigged,” 47% said yes, and there is a great deal of overlap in the people that believe in rigging – of that 47%, some two-thirds said yes, the NFL or NBA could be rigged, and somewhat fewer – 57% – said the World Series could be rigged.

“The sports organizing bodies rely heavily on the public believing that their games are honest,” said Rick Gentile, director of the Poll, which is sponsored by The Sharkey Institute. “This measurement of public perception certainly can’t please them, just as people in government are so upset about Donald Trump’s charges.”

The poll also asked whether some teams having ownership positions with fantasy sports companies opens the door for the rigging of performances of professional athletes to affect the daily fantasy outcomes.  45% said yes, 32% said no, with 24% stating “don’t know.”

Rick Gentile was interviewed by Seth Everett for a podcast on the poll’s findings, which can be heard at


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 October 24-26 among 841 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 3.4 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.

Media: Media: Marty Appel Public Relations,;
Michael Ricciardelli, Associate Director of Media Relations, Seton Hall University,, 908-447-3034

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