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Large majorities of residents in the two provinces are concerned over the safety of Olympic athletes in Sochi.

Vancouver, BC – Most Albertans and British Columbians are looking forward to next month’s Winter Olympics in Sochi, a new two-province poll by Insights West has found.

In the online survey of representative provincial samples, majorities of British Columbians (57%) and Albertans (54%) say they are planning to follow the Sochi games “very closely” or “moderately closely.” In addition, 46% in Alberta and 44% in BC claim to be “very” or “somewhat” excited about the games.


Residents of the two provinces are approaching Team Canada’s performance with caution. Most Albertans (53%) expect the medal haul to be “about the same” as it was in the last Winter Olympics, along with 43% of British Columbians. Only 9% in Alberta and 12% in BC think Team Canada will win more medals in Sochi than it did in Vancouver, and in fact, nearly a third (29%) of British Columbians and one-in-five (19%) of Albertans actually think we will do worse.


“Canada won 26 medals in Vancouver 2010, the most in the country’s history and two more than in Turin 2006,” says Steve Mossop, President of Insights West. “Few residents are expecting Team Canada to do better in Sochi, but despite the Russian venues being 12 time zones away, residents are just as excited about the Winter Olympics as they were when they were hosted in our own backyard four years ago.”

Russia as a Host

There are significant concerns about the host country and some striking differences between the two provinces when it comes to recent controversies surrounding the Sochi games. A significant number of Albertans (74%) say they are concerned about the safety of Olympic athletes in this year’s host city, along with two thirds of British Columbians (66%).

However, while a majority of British Columbians (53%) would like to see Canadian athletes making a statement to protest the Russian government’s treatment of gays and lesbians, only 38% of Albertans concur.

The notion of a boycott of the Sochi Olympics because of Russia’s human rights situation is endorsed by a strong minority of residents in either province, and support is slightly higher in British Columbia (42%) than in Alberta (36%).


“People are paying attention to recent events in Russia, the concern over athlete’s safety is particularly high,” continues Mossop. “Western Canadians appear to be deeply offended by Russia’s highly controversial stance on homosexuality, and while British Columbians are more likely to wish for a Canadian athlete to challenge Russia’s stance on LGBT rights, the appetite for a boycott is not as striking.”

A Look Back at Canada’s Host Cities

Both British Columbians and Albertans reminisce about the Vancouver 2010 and Calgary 1988 games with deep-seated satisfaction, with large majorities (86% in BC, 76% in Alberta) declaring their Winter Olympics “a success” and at least three-in-four (79% in BC, 76% in Alberta) saying they have left a positive legacy for all provincial residents.

In addition, a majority of residents believe that the venues that were used in the Olympics have been put to good use (79% in Alberta, 61% in BC) and that the games were worth the financial expenditure (65% in Alberta, 61% in BC).

A majority of Albertans (52%) would like for Calgary to launch a Summer Olympics bid, while almost half of British Columbians (48%) would welcome a similar submission in Vancouver.


About Insights West:

Insights West is a progressive, Western-based, full-service marketing research company. It exists to serve the market with insights-driven research solutions and interpretive analysis through leading-edge tools, normative databases, and senior-level expertise across a broad range of public and private sector organizations. Insights West is based in Vancouver and Calgary and has ten full-time and five part-time employees.

About this Release:

Results are based on two online studies. One conducted from January 7 to January 9, 2014, among 712 British Columbian adults who are aged 18+ and are Your Insights panel members, and one conducted from January 24 to January 27, 2014, among 606 Albertan adults who are aged 18+ and are Your Insights panel members. is Insights West’s in-house access panel offering on-demand samples for both clients and research suppliers looking for Western Canadian populations. The data has been statistically weighted according to Canadian census figures for age and gender. While statistical margins of error are arguably not applicable to online panels/online studies of this nature, we have assumed that the same margins of error apply as if it were a true unweighted random probability sample with a margin of error of +/- 3.6 percentage points for the British Columbia survey, and +/- 3.9 percentage points for the Alberta survey, nineteen times out of twenty. To view the detailed data tabulations, click here for BC and here for AB.

For further information, please contact:

Steve Mossop
President, Insights West

Photograph: Stefan Krasowski