A recent poll has revealed that a majority of Australians have little to no interest in the once-legendary Melbourne Cup, also known as the “race that stops the nation.” According to the Essential survey of 1,049 respondents, only 11% expressed a high interest in the Melbourne Cup, a significant drop from the previous year. 27% of respondents said they were somewhat interested, while 35% admitted to having no interest in the iconic race. Another 24% stated they had moderate interest, and 3% said they didn’t know.
The survey also found that men were more interested in the Melbourne Cup than women, with 13% of men expressing high interest compared to 9% of women. The disengagement of young people was also noted, as only 13% of individuals older than 55 expressed interest in the race.
In terms of betting on the race, nearly two-fifths of Australians said they would bet on the Melbourne Cup. 13% of respondents were constant bettors, while 26% hardly ever placed wagers on horses, and 20% would only watch the race without betting. Among bettors, men were more likely to place bets than women, with 19% of men stating they bet regularly on horses compared to 8% of women.
Despite the lack of personal interest, 65% of respondents still viewed the Melbourne Cup as a unique part of Australia’s national identity, down from seven points from the previous year. However, only 50% of young people confirmed this statement, with 48% believing that the Cup supports unhealthy gambling behavior and over 36% stating it normalizes animal cruelty.
The Guardian reported that the disinterest in the Melbourne Cup may be attributed to an increasing number of sponsors and brands separating themselves from the event, as well as other racing-related events. This shift in public opinion is reflected in the declining interest and perceptions of the race’s impact on Australian society.