Only one in five Americans think selecting Qatar to host the 2022 World Cup was the right decision

Taylor OrthDirector of Survey Data Journalism
December 02, 2022, 10:24 PM GMT+0

New polling from the Economist/YouGov, which concluded fielding shortly before the U.S. men's soccer team defeated Iran and advanced to the next round of the 2022 World Cup, finds that most Americans are not especially interested in the competition, hosted by Qatar. Only 27% of adults say they are very or somewhat interested in the World Cup, with twice as many saying they are not interested at all. There is an enormous age difference: Interest is much higher among adults under 45 than it is among older adults.

Americans who are 45 or older are twice as likely as younger adults to say they are not at all interested in the World Cup. About half (53%) of adults under the age of 45 have watched a match or expect they will, compared to only 21% of Americans 45 and older. The U.S. team’s victory over Iran moved it into the Round of 16, in which the U.S. will face the Netherlands on Saturday.

While most Americans with a team preference favor the U.S., there is some support for soccer powerhouses Argentina and Brazil, especially among people with the most interest in the World Cup. And 44% say they are supporting no team.

Qatar remains unpopular. American opinion of Qatar has not improved during the group stage of the World Cup. By a ratio of three to one, Americans say holding the World Cup in Qatar was the wrong decision. About as many would have preferred the U.S. to have boycotted the tournament as would not have.

– Carl Bialik contributed to this article

Polling by the Economist/YouGov was conducted on November 26 - 29, 2022 among 1,500 U.S. adult citizens. Explore more on the methodology and data for this Economist/YouGov poll.

Image: Getty (Alexander Hassenstein)