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Olympic 2010 costs a lullapalooza Loser with Vancouver citizens
  Feb 12, 2007

A random telephone sample of 405 Vancouver residents between February 9th and February 12th, 2007. This poll features a margin of error of 5.2%, 18 times out of 20 @ 96% competency/confidence. This poll was sponsored by Glen P. Robbins and Associates (40%), and Jim Van Rassel, owner New Trend Optical (604) 942-9300 (60%)

Question #1
In your opinion does the City of Vancouver require 65 additional ‘new’ police officers at an aggregate cost of 6-10 million to taxpayers?
Yes    47 %
No    53 %
Unsure/Undecided    12 %
Question #2
In your opinion is it fair and reasonable to designate the cost of ‘these 65 new police officers’ to home and commercial property owners in the City of Vancouver through a ‘special security tax’?
Yes    25 %
No    75 %
Undecided    04 %
Question #3
In your opinion is it fair and reasonable to designate the cost of ‘these 65 new police officers’ through Vancouver city general revenues?
Yes    49 %
No    51 %
Question #4
Do you presently own a home and/or commercial property in the city of Vancouver?
Yes    29 %
No    71 %
Question #5
It is currently estimated that Olympic security costs will be $150 million dollars. In your opinion is this estimate most likely?
High    0 %
Low    96 %
About right    04 %
Question #6
In your opinion who should pay for the cost of security for the 2010 winter Olympic Games?
The Province of British Columbia    56 %
The City of Vancouver    14 %
The Federal Government    30 %
Undecided    07 %
Question #7
In your opinion who should pay for the increased police presence of 65 new police officers in Vancouver?
The Province of British Columbia    39 %
The City of Vancouver    52 %
The Federal Government    09 %
Undecided    03 %
Question #8
Generally speaking do you support the cost of the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympic Games?
Yes    29 %
No    71 %
Respondents are split on the matter of Vancouver city acquiring 65 new police officers. In our second question (‘manipulated’), less than one quarter of total decided respondents support a ‘special security tax’ for “homeowners” and “commercial property owners” to pay for the additional police officers. One half of respondents believe that the cost of the new police officers should come from general revenues.
An overwhelming majority of respondents DO NOT believe that the cost of security for the 2010 Games will be 150 million. Respondents believe that the costs will be much higher.
More than one half of respondents are of the opinion that the Province of British Columbia should pay for Olympic security. One half of Vancouver residents expect that the city should pay for the 65 new police officers.
Less than one third of respondents support the ‘cost’ of the 2010 Olympic Games.
Commentary: Respondents in this important ROBBINS poll are unwilling to simply give any of the stakeholders in our questions ‘any easy ride’. Respondents took their time answering questions, considered and deliberated.
(Urban respondents in Vancouver, Toronto, and Montreal are more reluctant to become involved in polls, even a two minute poll on something ‘easy’ like more police and the Olympics is too long for about 25% of potential respondents).
On the matter of the Vancouver Police and 65 new police officers many respondents did not feel they had enough information, and those who did follow the news felt the matter “disappeared” too quickly. One might anticipate that respondents would answer ‘undecided’ in such circumstances, but in this poll, where they were ‘not sure’ they more often responded “No”.
With the Olympic promotion underway the issue of the new police officers was pre-empted in the media. The BC Liberal re-creation of a ‘better time’ through advertisements and news spin relating to the Olympics fell on deaf ears with these Vancouverites. This is a more serious crowd, likely prompted by a change in government at the federal level, and with issues like global warming, war, poverty, and homelessness (social issues) first and foremost in respondents mind, the ‘party ‘ atmosphere of the Olympics PR almost seemed a little surreal to respondents who are just not ‘feeling’ the Olympics right now.
This is an intelligent crowd and the Premier et al are treating them like they are ‘hicks’ at the circus. If the government and VANOC were better able to understand the public mood, and LOOK at the news leading up to the Olympic celebration they would have handled the public relations in a completely different manner. The BC Liberals played rock’ n’ roll party music, when the audience wanted something more somber.
Respondents are more than a little miffed by such a waste of money for self aggrandizement. One respondent echoed the thoughts of many on the Olympics when she said “there is too much money being spent on too few people when so many are in need.” (You really have to love the public, if you listen they will tell you what you want (need) to know). Another respondent epitomized the fact that the Olympics “was a waste of money.” Still another repeated a common statement “I’m just not a supporter of the Olympics; there are so many other things we could do with the money.”
But one respondent who did not support the “cost” of the Olympics stated that “he would watch the Olympics, really loves the Olympics, but isn’t happy about the lack of disclosure and accountability.” The Olympics love-in is playing to a really small audience of people still trying to recover from Christmas costs and a stormy winter.
Media really needs to reconsider NOT operating on what they think are obvious assumptions about things like the Olympics. A little investigation would have revealed some of the nuances ROBBINS picked up on in this poll, and preparation of more tangible samples of what the Olympics is about. More Olympians doing their thing. Skating up to the camera and stating “CTV your Olympic station” and that sort of thing, NOT Gordon Campbell and John Furlong at a mutual love in. The former isn’t popular and the latter hasn’t provided the numbers that respondents in this poll want to know.
You see, the Olympics is about hard working athletes (everywhere), not the politicians, and a savvy public relations group would have had this ‘in the bag’, been less ‘splashy’ with the advertising (which just infuriates many respondents who are really watching their dollars). It’s as if we have handed over wallet or purse to a bunch of wild teenagers bent on having a good time without consideration for anyone else. The government and the media that goes shrill for them really have become a bad joke.
As it is, nothing (of the subject matter in this poll) was successful. Some respondents linked the new police officers to the Olympics and decided that the officers weren’t all to service the city, but were a head start on Olympic security and thus rejected the notion of ANY new officers’ altogether.
Another media failure, PR failure. This poll ought to have been a reasonable slam dunk for the public approval of the new officers, but now it will be a fight for 50/50. The Olympics was just not on, but only a very shrewd PR person would have picked up on this. The government and the media failed here as well. They just made the Vancouver public angrier. Party on Gordo.
The public isn’t in the mood for promises of Arnie etc right now unless it is in a much bigger context. The California governor represents the fifth largest economy in the world, while British Columbia’s is closer to a country in Africa. The state of Oregon is one of the most environmentally sophisticated placed on the planet (we should know we send our waste sludge there). Where’s Arnie’s arrangement with Oregon, or with Washington. Are all these people crazy? Give us our money back so we can spend it on something worthwhile for our families.
It’s my professional opinion that the government/media PR machine and news media are preaching to the converted when speaking about the Olympics. Many respondents see it as a one trick pony distraction for Campbell as he flails around in his own political vomit, annoying many who are sitting on the fence, and most that have rejected the Olympics as a two week party for the rich.
I think it would be worthwhile for Vancouver Police and Vancouver city council to go through this police officer discussion again and get down to the numbers and see if the press Courier, Sun, Province, Georgia Straight et al to go through this discussion thoroughly. There are a lot of good writers in these publications and the broader more in depth discussion of police issues for the city would also provide an opening for a discussion of security costs. Obviously very few believe the security numbers being offered, so this will obviously detrimentally impact on the impression respondents/voters have of the Olympics generally. The public has no interest in Gordon Campbell’s Howard Dean imitations.
The Olympic Games really is a significant undertaking and if we have to lose a politician or two to ensure that accountability and credibility are maintained than so be it.
I wouldn’t wait for long.
Enough is enough. Get me that Derek and the Dominos album, Layla if you please, and the names of the BC Liberal Cabinet Ministers. It's time to clean this dump up!

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