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Zogby: 70% Believe IOC Was Wrong to Award Olympic Games to China

April 9, 2008

Zogby: 70% Believe IOC Was Wrong to Award Olympic Games to China
Survey finds 48% believe U.S. political officials should not attend the
opening ceremony due to China's poor human rights record

Zogby.com
April 8, 2008

UTICA, New York – As thousands of pro-Tibet protesters cut short the
Olympic torch relay Monday in Paris, a new Zogby Interactive poll finds
70% of likely voters believe the International Olympic Committee was
wrong to award this year’s summer Olympic Games to China because of its
poor record on human rights. Dissatisfaction with the IOC’s choice is
strong across the political spectrum, with 70% of Democrats and
Republicans, and 68% of political independents who said they disagree
with the decision to have China host the summer games. A Zogby
Interactive poll conducted in May 2007 found 44% had a favorable opinion
of the IOC’s decision to award the 2008 Summer Olympic Games to China,
while 39% viewed the decision unfavorably.

This latest poll was completed shortly before Democratic presidential
candidate Hillary Clinton called on President George W. Bush to boycott
the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games. The online survey finds
nearly half – 48% – think U.S. political officials should not attend the
opening ceremony of the games because of China’s poor human rights
record, while 33% believe U.S. officials should attend and 19% are
unsure. Most Democrats (52%) and independents (51%) would support U.S.
political officials boycotting the opening ceremony, while Republicans
are more divided – 42% believe U.S. officials should not attend, while
41% believe they should be present at the opening ceremony. Support for
a U.S. boycott of the opening ceremony is strongest among younger
Americans – 56% of those age 18 to 29 would support skipping the opening
ceremony, compared with 37% of those age 65 and older. The Zogby
Interactive poll of 7,121 likely voters was conducted April 4-7, 2008,
and carries a margin of error of +/- 1.2 percentage points.

Support for an outright boycott of the games is less strong, although
nearly a third (31%) believe the United States Olympic Committee should
boycott the Olympic Games and 23% believe President Bush should order a
U.S. boycott of the games to protest China’s human rights record. Nearly
a third (31%) of those age 18 to 29 believe Bush should order a U.S.
boycott of the games, compared to 16% of those age 65 and older. The May
2007 Zogby Interactive survey showed just 10% believed the U.S. should
boycott the games as a form of protest against the Chinese government’s
human rights violations.

Americans divided on effectiveness of a political boycott of the Olympics
While 46% agree a political boycott by world leaders of the Olympics
would be an effective way for them to express their unhappiness with
China’s human rights record, nearly as many (40%) disagree. Regardless
of their support for a boycott, most question how likely it would be to
bring about change – 70% believe a boycott of the Olympic Games in China
would amount to grandstanding by world leaders that might help them
politically in their own countries, but will have no effect on how
China’s leaders treat their own citizens. Just 13% believe a boycott
would embarrass the Chinese leadership so much they would change how
they treat Chinese citizens.

Regardless of how they view the effectiveness of a boycott to change how
Chinese leaders treat their citizens, 71% believe any boycott of the
Olympic Games in China by the U.S. would be hypocritical because the
U.S. imports so many products from China and retains relatively close
diplomatic ties with China that the U.S. has essentially endorsed
China’s human rights record. Sixty-one percent also believe that U.S.
political leaders may oppose a boycott against the China Olympics out of
fear of a financial backlash from China.

Most would avoid buying Chinese products to protest human rights issues
In response to violent crack-downs against protesters in Tibet and
elsewhere regarding China’s human rights record, more than half (55%)
said they would purposely avoid buying Chinese products whenever
possible, 40% would avoid shopping at stores that prominently feature
goods made in China and 18% would pressure political leaders in
Washington to demand a complete boycott of the games by writing letters
and emails, withholding campaign contributions and voting against
politicians who refuse to comply with a boycott. One in four (27%) said
the clashes over Tibet and China’s poor human rights record would not
prompt them to do anything as they don’t believe their personal actions
on this issue matter at all.

Many concerned about media coverage of China during the Olympics
Despite recent media coverage of China’s human rights issues, nearly
half of Americans (48%) believe the U.S. and international media will
ignore negative stories about China before and during the Olympic Games
out of fear of retribution from the Chinese government. The vast
majority (94%) believes the Chinese government will try to prevent
international news media from covering stories about China that put the
government or country in a bad light – 75% believe this is very likely
to occur and 78% believe the Chinese government will try to punish those
who report stories that reflect negatively on China.

When asked about their expectations of coverage from NBC – the network
contracted to televise the Olympic Games in China this summer – most
(54%) don’t believe the network will be as aggressive about covering any
possible negative stories about China leading up to and during the
Olympics as it would be if not contracted to broadcast the games.

For a complete methodological statement on this survey, please visit:
http://www.zogby.com/methodology/readmeth.dbm?ID=1289
(4/7/2008)
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