NEWS

Hopes for the Games, fears for aftermath

An overwhelming majority of Greeks believe that the Athens 2004 Olympic Games will be a success but, in response to another question, have fears of unemployment and recession after the Games, according to a poll published yesterday by Kathimerini. The nationwide poll by MRB found that 39.4 percent of those polled believe that Greece will «definitely» organize a successful Olympiad, with another 44.9 percent saying it will «probably» succeed. That is, a total of 84.3 percent believe the Games will be a success, opposed to 3.5 percent who are sure they will fail, while another 9.6 percent believe they will «probably not» be a success. The optimists have been pulling away from the pessimists who now total 13.1 percent. In June 2000, the difference was 69.5 percent (of those who expected successful Games) to 22 percent. Last June, the difference was 80.6 percent to 14.3 percent. In other results from the same poll (conducted among 2,000 people from Sept. 23 to Oct. 8), only 0.8 percent of those polled said they believed the Olympics were among Greece’s three top problems. In another finding, 75.3 percent said they «fully agreed» that the Olympic preparations should not become a political issue in the runup to elections, with another 15.8 percent saying they were «quite» in agreement with this. In addition, 59.8 percent said a change in government (as elections are due by early May) will not affect the Olympic preparations either way, with those believing it will help improve or worsen preparations split almost evenly(19.8 percent to 17.3 percent, respectively). The majority of those polled disagreed with the premise that the Olympic preparations would affect their vote in the next elections, with 48 percent disagreeing «fully» and another 22.6 percent «probably» disagreeing. It is interesting to note that despite the optimism over the Games, there are fears for the day after. Asked to provide two issues which they expect to dominate the post-Olympiad era, respondents expressed very mixed feelings. They put unemployment at the top, with 37.7 percent, followed by economic recession (24.9 percent), pride (23.6 percent), insecurity (19.7 percent), optimism (15 percent), stagnation (15 percent), fear (12.6 percent), success (9.2 percent), confidence (8.6 percent), development (8.1 percent), disappointment (6.3 percent) and security (4.6 percent). Another 3 percent did not reply. Meanwhile, Athens 2004 Organizing Committee President Gianna Angelopoulos-Daskalaki has written to Kathimerini, taking exception to the paper’s interpretation of the poll finding that 0.8 percent place the Olympic preparations among the country’s top three problems.