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Poll: Most Canadians satisfied with Canada’s Olympic performance

Canadians are satisfied with their country’s performance at the London 2012 Olympic Games, and are proud of their athletes, according to a new poll by Ipsos Reid.

Canada won a total of 18 medals: 1 gold, 5 silver and 12 bronze, during the Olympic Games, and according to the poll, roughly seven in ten Canadians are satisfied with that medal count.

Women are even more likely to be happy with the medal haul than men. Seventy-three per cent of women reported being somewhat or strongly satisfied by Canada’s medal count, compared to 66 per cent of men.

“This was the female Olympics for Canada,” said John Wright, Senior Vice President of Ipsos Reid Public Affairs. He said that one likely reason women were so happy with the result was simply because there were so many women on the podium.

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“I think that there were a lot of women that took pride in seeing how many women were winning on the field,” he said. “There’s no question that the soccer team was elevated to the status of a Canada hockey team. It was unexpected.”

Equally unexpected were some of the sports in which Canada won medals, said Wright. “We have started to grow a series of sports and athletes in different areas that we never had before.” This contributes to Canadians’ overall satisfaction with their country’s Olympic performance, he said – medals were not concentrated in just one area.

“We’ve got a lot more bench strength,” he said.

According to the poll, 55 per cent of Canadians now believe that Canada should do as well in the Summer Olympics as the Winter Olympics, and individuals older than 35 are more likely to hold that belief than younger Canadians.

This opinion is reinforced by Canada’s solid performance in a variety of events, said Wright. “I think that now, people who’ve witnessed a good number of Olympics are saying, ‘You know what? I think we’re starting to hold our own.’”

It also helps to be realistic. “Canadians are rarely disappointed because they are prudent with their expectations,” he said.

Still, he said, “We’re a country of 34 million people, we don’t have 1.5 billion. I think if your expectations are you’re finishing in around the top ten in the entire world, I think you’re doing pretty well and I think most Canadians reflect that.”

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The Ipsos Reid poll surveyed 1,005 Canadians from an online panel between August 13 and 14, 2012. The data was weighted to reflect the adult population according to census data. A survey with an unweighted probability sample of this size and a 100 per cent response rate would have an estimated margin of error of +/- 3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, of what the results would have been had the entire population of adults in Canada been polled. All sample surveys and polls may be subject to other sources of error, including, but not limited to coverage error, and measurement error.

Ipsos also examined Twitter reaction to the Canadian Olympic performance, looking at a sample of 446 relevant tweets from August 12 and 13. 41 per cent of tweets were classified as positive, 40 per cent as negative, and the remainder neutral.

According to the analysis, positive comments focused on how many people are proud of Canada’s athletes, Canadian pride, passion and grit, and high hopes for future Olympic Games.

Negative comments included mentions of Canada finishing with fewer gold medals than Kazakhstan, Kenya and other countries, and dissatisfaction with the overall medal total. Comments included calls for more funding for Canadian athletes.

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