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Survey says Canadians view safe Olympics as more important than hockey gold

Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov, right, takes part in a welcome ceremony of the Olympic torch relay in Chechnya's provincial capital Grozny, southern Russian, Tuesday, Jan. 28, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Musa Sadulayev

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Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov, right, takes part in a welcome ceremony of the Olympic torch relay in Chechnya's provincial capital Grozny, southern Russian, Tuesday, Jan. 28, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Musa Sadulayev

OTTAWA - A majority of Canadians equate men's hockey gold with success at next month's Sochi Olympics, a new poll suggests.

Seventy-three per cent of those surveyed in the Harris-Decima poll, which was provided to The Canadian Press, said Canada winning gold in men's hockey is "important in determining the success of the Games."

But even more say they view avoiding security threats as the most important measure of whether the Sochi Olympics are a success. In total, 83 per cent said it was very or somewhat important that there be no security threats.

That is a slightly smaller number than the 88 per cent who said in a survey prior to the 2010 Olympics that it was very or somewhat important that there be no security threats in Vancouver.

Nationally, 58 per cent of those polled suggested they would follow the Sochi Olympics very or somewhat closely, also down from those polled prior to the Vancouver Games. And just over half those polled suggested they'd be paying less attention to these Games than they did to the Vancouver Olympics.

"We saw an amazing degree of national enthusiasm for the Games we hosted in Vancouver and we shouldn't expect Canadians to get quite that engaged for any other Winter Olympics," said Harris-Decima vice-president Megan Tam.

"That being said, a majority of Canadians anticipate following the Games in Sochi and there is clearly some sense of national competitiveness demonstrated with the attitudes expressed about the importance of winning certain gold medals or even the most overall again."

B.C. residents were the most likely to say they would be paying a lot less attention to Sochi.

Men's hockey gold wasn't the only big item on the list of those who will be following the Olympics. A gold by the Canadian women's hockey team was also picked by 71 per cent as important in gauging success.

And 70 per cent said they felt it was important there be no organizational problems that could give the Olympics a black eye on the world stage.

Canada's overall standing was also important with 63 per cent saying it’s important Canada finish in the top three in the medal count, and 58 per cent suggesting Canada winning more medals than any other would be important in their determination of the success of the Olympics.

The telephone survey of 1,015 Canadians was done between Jan. 9 and Jan. 13. The survey is considered accurate to a margin of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

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