As public fallout continues following Lance Armstrong’s explosive interview with Oprah Winfrey — during which he admitted to doping — for the disgraced former cyclist, the tea leaves do not make happy reading.
After Winfrey’s two-part interview, which was watched by 3.2 million people, Armstrong’s approval rating in the US has taken a further hit even beyond the huge fall that followed the publication of the US Anti-Doping Agency’s (USADA) report last October.
After that report — which ran to 100o pages and leveled extensive allegations — Armstrong’s net favorable rating dropped 75 points from +76 points in 2005, to just +1 point in October 2012.
For perspective, in early January 2013 only 37 percent of US sports fans thought Armstrong shouldn’t be credited for his career victories, compared to October 2012 when 49 percent said they thought he should return his medals.
In a scientific poll conducted by SurveyUSA on Tampa Bay, Portland and San Diego residents, after the interview aired only 21 percent of Americans polled thought Armstrong could restore his reputation.
Further statistics from SurveyUSA showed that only 17 percent thought that Lance was being completely honest with Oprah, and those who thought he was a liar before still think so.
The survey also revealed that 52 percent think Armstrong should never be allowed to ride again, and a hefty 71 percent think his USADA lifetime ban from cycling, running, and elite triathlon events should stay in place for a while yet.
But although the court of public opinion has judged Armstrong and found him wanting, fortunately his friends are more forgiving.
“Where I am now is I’ve put myself out of the way and I am happy for this guy, who has now chosen to re-enter this new chapter of his life a truly free man. And the weight he had on his shoulders, without the bogeyman under the bed, the skeleton in the closet that he’s carried for 14 years. Fourteen years he lied and carried the lie with him.”
Likewise, when Sheryl Crow (who dated Armstrong from 2003-2006) was recently asked by Entertainment Tonight for her thoughts on Armstrong’s admission, the singer said:
“I think that honesty is always the best bet and that the truth will set you free” adding that for Armstrong “to carry around a weight like that would be devastating in the long run.”
For Armstrong, a slew of heavyweight lawsuits and a request from USADA to speak under oath about the full extent of his doping continues the pressure. As for the US public, at this point The Guardian’s verdict seems the most accurate:
“The numbers say that Armstrong has painted himself into a corner by confessing: the problem for this fallen American icon is that few, if any, now even believe in his apologies.”