Americans who viewed last week’s Lance Armstrong interview with Oprah took a more definitive and harsher stand than those who didn’t, but are still deeply divided on issues of the cyclist’s performance, lying, forgiveness and drugs, according to the YouGov Omnibus public opinion survey taken after the interviews aired.
Nearly half of the Americans (47%) who viewed the interview believe Armstrong should not be forgiven for taking drugs, and a close 45% said he should not be forgiven for lying either. Half of this group (49%) felt that the bad things outweighed the good since he took drugs, lied, and made a mockery of other talented athletes with only 14% undecided.
People who didn’t view the interview were far more undecided, but generally tougher in judgment about Armstrong’s lying than about taking drugs: 44% said he should not be forgiven for lying and 38% for taking drugs. Non-viewers were nearly evenly split over whether Armstrong did more good things in his career (34%) than bad things (37%), with 28% undecided.
Nearly half of TV special viewers (46%) didn’t feel Armstrong was remorseful for what he did while 56% felt he held some things back from Oprah.
This same group is not far apart on the issue of whether Armstrong should be allowed to race again: 47% said he should be banned for life while 36% said he should be permitted to race again.
Overall with people who both viewed the special and didn’t, nearly 30% felt Armstrong should be forced to return his sponsorship and reward money, 25% said he should not return it, while 30% didn’t know what to do.
Three out of five (59%) of those who saw the interview felt Oprah got the balance of hard and soft questions just right, while one in four (24%) felt she was too soft, and only 7% said she was too hard.
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