July 31, 2020 | By Craig Kafura

Will Canadians Tune In For Bubble Hockey?

Hockey’s back! After a long hiatus, the ice is set, the lines are painted, and 24 teams of NHL players and staff are ensconced in two bubble cities, Edmonton and Toronto.

The NHL’s setup—mirroring the NWSL and NBA in selecting a city in which players remain for the duration of play—has gotten a lot of attention. It also raised concerns about allowing such an international group to come into Canada at a time when the country is still focused on the pandemic. According to the results of an Angus Reid Institute poll conducted July 23-24, a plurality of Canadians (42%) say they are not sure whether the approach the NHL has taken in setting up the playoffs in Edmonton and Toronto is the right or wrong move, but more say it was the right move (35%) than the wrong move (22%).

The playoffs (technically, the play-ins) begin on August 1, and for the first week, hockey will be on television nearly all day, every day. Will Canadians tune in to watch?

In the past, Canadian interest in the NHL playoffs has suffered from a lack of Canadian teams in them. In 2016, no Canadian team made it to the playoffs, and fans either tuned out or cheered for an American team (and many chose Chicago).

Though there will be no fans in attendance at any of the games, there will be plenty of fans cheering from home, as Canadians seem likely to tune in as they would have in past years. About a third of Canadians (37%) say they are either diehard NHL fans (11%) or fans (26%), and a similar proportion (34%) say they follow the NHL playoffs very (13%) or fairly (21%) closely. Among these fans who follow the playoffs closely, most (72%) are either very excited (27%) or pretty excited (45%) for the return of hockey. And unlike 2016, six out of seven Canadian teams are represented in the postseason this year. If a Canadian team makes a deep run for the Stanley Cup, the millions of Canadians staying at home might just tune in.


The Chicago Council on Global Affairs highlights critical shifts in American public thinking on US foreign policy through public opinion surveys and research conducted under the Lester Crown Center on US Foreign Policy. 

The annual Chicago Council Survey, first conducted in 1974, is a valuable resource for policymakers, academics, media, and the general public. The Council also surveys American leaders in government, business, academia, think tanks, and religious organizations biennially to compare trends in their thinking with overall trends. And collaborating with partner organizations, the survey team periodically conducts parallel surveys of public opinion in other regions of the world to compare with US public opinion. 

The Running Numbers blog features regular commentary and analysis from the Council’s public opinion and US foreign policy research team, including a series of flash polls of a select group of foreign policy experts to assess their opinions on critical foreign policy topics driving the news.


| By Craig Kafura, Brendan Helm, Giulia Shaughnessy, Charlie Rahr, Samantha Yi

Global Public Opinion and the Coronavirus: August 19

Nations around the world struggle to safely reopen as the coronavirus continues to infect thousands of people. This week's global public opinion update on the COVID-19 pandemic covers the United States, Japan, South Korea, Canada, France, the UK, Italy, and Israel.