Ipsos

Ipsos

May 02, 2008 12:55 ET

Despite Troubles with Torch Relay to Beijing

Most (87%) Canadians Believe Relay Leading up to Vancouver Should Proceed as Planned

Attention: News Editor, Sports Editor TORONTO/ON--(Marketwire - May 2, 2008) - Despite a torch relay leading to the Beijing Olympic and Paralympic Games that has been troubled by protests and interruptions, a new Ipsos Reid poll conducted on behalf of the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Committee finds that most (87%) Canadians 'agree' (52% strongly/36% somewhat) that 'the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Torch Relays are an important part of the Games and should proceed as planned'.

In fact, an equal proportion (87%) agrees (58% strongly/29% somewhat) that 'the Torch Relay for the 2010 Games has nothing to do with China and should therefore proceed as planned'.

But it's not just international attention which seems to be motivating Canadians to react this way. More specifically, eighty-five percent (85%) agree (42% strongly/44% somewhat) that 'the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Torch Relays are one way the Games can touch and inspire all Canadians in a personal way', and a similar proportion (86%) 'agrees' (44% strongly/42% somewhat) that the torches 'are proud symbols of the Games, so the 2010 relays present a tremendous opportunity to unify people across Canada'.

The disruptions to the relay on the road to Beijing have not gone unnoticed by most Canadians, however, with 87% claiming to be aware of the interruptions and protests during some of the relay legs waged by pro-Tibetan groups and others opposed to China's human rights record. In most instances, though, these protests have not had a major impact on Canadians' desires to participate in the torch relays in a variety of ways.

While four in ten (40%) Canadians say that they would be likely (11% very/29% somewhat) to follow the progress of the 2010 torch relay online, as a result of the protests during the relay this year, two in ten (18%) indicate that they will be more likely (7% much more/11% somewhat more) to follow the 2010 torch online, while a similar proportion (21%) says they will be less likely (16% much less/5% somewhat less) to follow the relay online. Six in ten (60%) indicate they are no more or less likely to follow the Vancouver torch relay as a result of this year's protests.

A majority (55%) of Canadians suggest they'll be likely (19% very/36% somewhat) to watch the 2010 torch relay in their local area. As a result of this year's protests, however, 23% indicate that they are now more likely (9% much more/15% somewhat more) to follow the 2010 relay in their local area, while 18% say they're less likely (13% much less/4% somewhat less) to watch the relay as it comes through their area of Canada. The intentions of six in ten (59%) Canadians have not changed as a result of this year's protests.

Should they be honoured with an invitation to bear the torch in 2010, two in ten (21%) say they'd be likely (11% very/10% somewhat) to participate as a torchbearer if selected. But as a result of this year's protests leading up to the Beijing Games, one in three (31%) say that they'd be less likely (26% much less/5% somewhat less) to participate as a torchbearer if selected, while just one in ten (10%) suggest that they'd be more likely (5% much more/5% somewhat more) to participate in this way. Six in ten (59%) say the protests have not affected their decision to bear the torch, if asked.

These are the findings of an Ipsos Reid poll conducted on behalf of the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Committee from 04/15 to 04/16, 2008. This online survey of 1,004 adult Canadians was conducted via the Ipsos I-Say Online Panel, Ipsos Reid's national online panel. The results are based on a sample where quota sampling and weighting are employed to balance demographics and ensure that the sample's composition reflects that of the actual Canadian population according to Census data. Quota samples with weighting from the Ipsos online panel provide results that are intended to approximate a probability sample. An unweighted probability sample of this size, with a 100% response rate, would have an estimated margin of error of +/- 3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

Canadians Believe Torch Could Unify Country...

Canadians appear to be of the opinion that the Olympic and Paralympic torch relays can touch and inspire Canadians and bring them closer together:

86% believe the 2010 torch relays present a tremendous opportunity to unify people across Canada. Residents of Alberta (92%) are the most likely to believe this, followed by those living in Ontario (88%), Atlantic Canada (87%), Quebec (85%), Saskatchewan and Manitoba (85%), and British Columbia (81%).

85% of Canadians believe that the relays are one way the Games can touch and inspire all Canadians in a personal way. Residents of Alberta (93%) are most likely to agree, while those living in Ontario (87%), Atlantic Canada (84%), Saskatchewan and Manitoba (83%), British Columbia (83%), and Quebec (83%) are less likely to agree with this sentiment.

Atlantic Canadians Most Likely to Participate as Torchbearer, if Asked…

Thinking about how they might participate in the torch relay leading to the 2010 Games, 30% of Atlantic Canadians say that they would be likely to take part as a torchbearer if selected. This is compared to 26% of Albertans, 22% of Ontarians, 21% of British Columbians, 19% of those living in Saskatchewan and Manitoba and 16% of Quebecers who say that they would be likely to participate in this manner if asked.

Awareness of Torch Protests Greatest in British Columbia…

When it comes to awareness of the protests that have affected some legs of the 2008 Olympic Torch Relay, residents of British Columbia are most likely (96%) to say that they are aware of these protests, followed by those living in Alberta (92%), Saskatchewan and Manitoba (91%), Ontario (88%), Atlantic Canada (82%) and Quebec (81%).

Residents of Quebec Most Adversely Affected by Protests…

Thinking about how the protests this year might affect their intentions to follow the 2010 torch relay leading up to the Games in Vancouver, it appears that Quebecers are the most inclined to say they are less likely to follow the torch online (35% less likely vs. 13% more likely), watch the relay in their local area (30% less likely vs. 19% more likely), or carry the torch if asked (45% less likely vs. 7% more likely) as a result of seeing the interruptions to this year's torch relay.

All Ipsos News Releases are available online at: http://www.ipsos-na.com/news/

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