New report reveals how Americans differ on participation of male, female transgender students in team sportsOnline Only, Section 4A, Top Highlights Friday, January 26th, 2018
WASHINGTON — Despite concerns over player safety, player protests, and declining ratings, PRRI’s annual survey of sports and society finds that football remains Americans’ favorite sport to watch. The survey also examines Americans’ attitudes towards athletics issues from youth sports to professional leagues, including participation of transgender athletes in high school sports.
Nearly four in ten (38 percent) Americans—and roughly equal numbers of men (39 percent) and women (37 percent)—prefer to watch football, almost the same number as baseball, basketball, soccer, hockey, and auto racing combined (41 percent). Americans’ preference for football is virtually unchanged since 2014, when 39 percent of the public said football was their favorite sport to watch.
The Super Bowl’s popularity is the clearest evidence of the NFL’s prominence. Nearly two-thirds of Americans (65 percent) say they are likely to watch the Super Bowl, including 47 percent who say they are very likely to tune in. The only sporting event comparable to the Super Bowl is the Winter Olympics. Sixty-eight percent of Americans plan to watch the 2018 Winter Olympics, although fewer (36 percent) report that they are very likely to watch the games. Only one in three (33 percent) Americans plan to watch this summer’s World Cup.
“Although the NFL has faced its share of controversy this year, no single game captures more of the public’s attention than the Super Bowl,” says PRRI CEO Robert P. Jones. “Football has no competition for the country’s favorite sport, something that has been true for the past five years.”
The public has mixed views about whether transgender high school students should be allowed to participate in athletics with students of the gender with which they identify. Sixty-one percent of Americans say a transgender student who identifies as male, but was listed as female on their birth certificate, should be allowed to compete with other male students. However, only 50 percent of Americans say a transgender student who identifies as female, but was listed as male on their birth certificate, should be allowed to compete with other female students. Forty-three percent are opposed.
Notably, while Democrats and Republicans disagree sharply on this issue, their views do not change with respect to the transgender student’s gender identity. Nearly identical numbers of Democrats support allowing male (74 percent) and female (73 percent) transgender students to participate in high school sports. Relatively few Republicans support male (37 percent) or female (30 percent) transgender students’ participation. While more than six in ten (63 percent) independents say that a transgender student who was listed as female at birth, but who identifies as male, should be allowed to participate in sports with other male students, only 46 percent say the same of transgender female students.
Despite ongoing concern about the safety of football, few Americans say they would prohibit their son from playing the game. Seventy-one percent of Americans say they would allow their son to play competitive football. More than one in four (27 percent) say they would not. This support differs by race and ethnicity. Nearly one-third (32 percent) of white Americans say they would not allow it, compared to 22 percent of black and 13 percent of Hispanic Americans. There is an education gap among whites: 41 percent of whites with a college degree say they would not allow their son to play football.
Full report, including methodology, available here: https://www.prri.org/research/americans-differ-on-participation-of-male-female-transgender-students-in-team-sports/
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