Many British Columbians underwhelmed by Olympics: poll

Posted by admin on Nov 20th, 2009

By Bruce Constantineau, Vancouver Sun, November 20, 2009

VANCOUVER — B.C. residents are more skeptical than average Canadians about the potential benefits of the 2010 Olympics, but a majority still believe the Games will have a positive impact on the province, according to an Angus Reid survey. The online poll found that 57 per cent of British Columbians expect the Olympics will benefit B.C., compared with 76 per cent of all Canadians who feel the province will gain from hosting the Games.

Twenty-eight per cent of B.C. residents feel the Olympics will have a negative impact on B.C., more than triple the nine per cent of Canadians who feel that way.

“Clearly, Canadians as a whole are quite excited and positive about the Games but British Columbians — who are closer to the Games — see some of the downside as well as the upside,” Angus Reid research director Hamish Marshall said.

“Some B.C. people have issues about traffic or the security bill or some of the free-speech issues that have come up recently, but I don’t think those issues have received quite as much play across the country.”

Civil libertarians have raised the alarm over a Vancouver bylaw banning all signage not approved by the city — and not celebrating the 2010 Winter Olympics — from a 40-block area around Olympic venues. Critics say the bylaw is intended to stifle lawful protest.

Eighty per cent of Canadians said the Olympics will have a positive impact on Canada as a whole, compared with 59 per cent of British Columbians.

B.C. survey respondents were far more willing to support Olympic protesters than average Canadians, with 32 per cent of British Columbians supporting the protesters compared with just 14 per cent of Canadians.

The survey found that 62 per cent of Canadians and 56 per cent of British Columbians are interested in following the Olympics next year, with men’s hockey, the opening ceremonies, figure skating/ice dancing, the closing ceremonies and women’s hockey attracting the most interest. Seventy-four per cent of Canadians and 73 per cent of British Columbians expect Canada to win at least one gold medal.

Marshall noted interest in the Olympic torch relay has not yet generated the same kind of excitement created by the Games themselves. The survey said 57 per cent of Canadians and 61 per cent of British Columbians would not attend an event or public meeting featuring the Olympic flame.

“It’s a long, long relay and I think as we get closer to the actual event, people will get more excited,” he said.

The online survey of 2,027 Canadian adults was conducted last week and is considered accurate to within 2.2 percentage points.

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