WASHINGTON — One-third of those surveyed in an Associated Press poll believes a terrorist attack is likely at the Winter Olympics next month in Salt Lake City.
The number concerned about terrorism at the Olympics — at a site protected by a $300 million security effort — was about half the amount in recent polls who fear an attack is likely somewhere in the United States in the near future.
Women were twice as likely as men to think terrorist attacks on the games were likely, according to the poll, conducted by ICR of Media, Pa. Only one in 20 people overall thought a terrorist attack on the Olympics was very likely.
"My heart is broken, but I think it can happen," said Dorothy Moser, a 73-year-old retiree from Mount Pleasant, S.C. "I know they want to hurt our country. I’m not really shocked at anything they want to go for."
U.S. officials have declared the Olympics will be the safest sporting event ever and have said there will be no safer place in the world than Salt Lake City during the games, which start Feb. 8 and run just over two weeks.
"I personally don’t think there will be a terrorist attack," said Jon Mann, a 34-year-old employee at a Wal-Mart distribution center in Peoria, Ariz. "It’s a little too obvious; there’s a little too much security."
On a separate Olympics topic, the games will cost about $2 billion — with a fifth of that paid by tax money. Much of the cost will be underwritten by commercial interests.
The federal government is spending almost $400 million, with more than half of that for security.
Two-thirds in the poll said they thought the advertising and commercial presence at the Olympics were necessary to pay the bills.
Almost that many — 63 percent — thought tax money should not be used. Older Americans and blacks were more likely to oppose using tax money.
Six in 10 said they were interested in the Winter Olympics, with 19 percent saying they were very interested. The number who said they were very interested in the Summer Games in 1996 was slightly higher — a fourth of those polled.
Whites were more interested than blacks in the Winter Games by 63 percent to 46 percent. Those with more education were more interested in the Olympics. Seven in 10 with at least a college education said they were interested, compared with half of those with only a high school education.
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