Canada

Rick Zamperin: Who are Canada’s most influential athletes?

A new survey suggests Tom Hanks, Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson, Oprah Winfrey and NBA superstar LeBron James are the most influential celebrities in the 2020 U.S. presidential election.

Conducted by Whitman Insight Strategies and MRC Data in partnership with DISQO, the survey asked 1,103 likely voters whose opinion they trusted most across the U.S. from Oct. 8-13.

Hanks topped the list at 49 per cent, followed by Johnson (45%), Winfrey (38%) and James (32%) and the same four celebs are considered the most trusted by Democratic voters.

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Musician Kid Rock, a vocal supporter of U.S. President Donald Trump, is the most influential celebrity among Republican voters at 46 per cent, followed by Ted Nugent (43 per cent), Hanks (42 per cent) and Johnson (41 per cent).

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Even while leading the Lakers to another NBA championship during the COVID-19 pandemic this year, LeBron has been front and centre among all athletes in promoting people’s voting rights, especially those in the Black community.

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This got me to thinking about which Canadian celebrities, primarily in the sports world, would Canadians trust or be influenced by the most.

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It’s not quite an apples to apples comparison to our American friends because very few Canadian athletes and celebrities wade into the world of politicking.

But some of the most recognizable faces and names would populate the top of the chart, such as Hockey Hall Famer Wayne Gretzky and fellow NHL icon Sidney Crosby — two popular individuals that businesses have relied upon to carry their marketing messages.

How about a Canadian female athlete of the same ilk? Look no further than former hockey star Hayley Wickenheiser and Canadian soccer sensation Christine Sinclair, two women who have carried their teams to greatness and have made Canadians proud with their athletic exploits.

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U.S. election: Trudeau says Canada won’t intervene in results if questionable claims of victory arise

French Canadian voters shouldn’t be left out either, not with mixed martial arts champion Georges St. Pierre, and hockey greats Mario Lemieux and Patrick Roy to count on.

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Canada clearly has a multitude of athletes that voters could look up to come election time, but their undying humility would hold back their influence on the voting public.

Rick Zamperin is the assistant program, news and senior sports director at Global News Radio 900 CHML.

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