A majority of Americans are worried about possible terrorist activity at sports events, according to a new poll. The survey, conducted by Seton Hall University, shows American sports fans are concerned about attending sporting events with large crowds following the terrorist attacks in Paris last November. The survey was conducted by the Sports Poll staff at the Sharkey Institute, a department of Seton Hall's Stillman School of Business in November shortly after Islamic terrorists killed 130 people and included shootings and suicide bombings throughout the city, including a soccer match at a stadium in the French capital.
The poll gathered the results of 879 adults who were called by telephone and asked about their thoughts on attending sporting events and how cautious or worried they were about attending games in large venues. The survey showed a majority, 73 percent, of respondents expressed some level of anxiety. Thirty-four percent of adults said they were "very concerned" while 39 percent said they were somewhat concerned. Only 24 percent of respondents said that the Paris attacks make no difference to them when attending sporting events.
To date, there has only been one incident involving radical Islamic terrorism during a sporting event on U.S. soil, the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing in which three people were killed and another 240 plus injured. Although attendance at sporting events has continued to grow undaunted throughout the United States since the Boston bombings, the attacks in Paris appear to have hit a nerve in a way the Boston Marathon attacks didn't.
The director of the poll, Nick Gentile, says he is surprised by the results and says the respondents reacted in a way that appears out of character for Americans. "This is a dramatic number and something that should be noted by all sports leagues that play in large venues," says Gentile. "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, which was conducted November 16-18, has a margin of error of 3.3 percent.
The poll also comes during a time of unease as the Obama administration plans to relocate thousands of Syrian refugees to the United States, a decision that is wildly unpopular with the American people. According to a new Full Measure/Rasmussen Reports poll, 56 percents of respondents believe plans to admit up to ten thousand Syrian refugees will make the U.S. less safe. Additionally, 28 percent oppose allowing any refugees into the country, and another 28 percent believe U.S. officials are allowing entry to too many. These polls may also help explain why a group of Sikh Denver Broncos fans were asked to remove their turbans before entering Qualcomm Stadium for the Broncos-Chargers game last weekend.
The attacks on Paris occurred on Friday, November 13, beginning with suicide bombings outside the Stade de France, the 81,000-seat national stadium of France, the fifth-largest stadium in Europe. The attacks occurred during the first half of an international friendly between the Frech and German national soccer teams in which François Hollande, the president of France, was in attendance.
What do you think? Have the terrorist attacks in Paris made you more concerned about similar attacks at American sporting events? Comment below or email the author, Loyd McIntosh, with your views.