The U.S. public is divided on the appropriate response to the Augusta National Golf Club’s all-male membership policy. A new Harris Poll finds that a plurality of all adults, but not a majority, favours moving the Masters Tournament to another course if the Augusta National continues not to admit female members. Substantial majorities of women feel this way. However, clear majorities of those who play and follow golf are more supportive of the club and oppose moving the Masters, as does a majority of men.
The major findings are:
By 48% to 34% the public thinks that the Augusta National Golf Club is wrong not to admit women members.
This view is shared by 60% of women but by only 36% of men, 37% of all those who follow golf and 38% of all those who play golf.
Approximately half-of all golfers, of all those who follow golf and of men-think that the club is right to have this policy.
By 45% to 36% the public would favour moving the Masters to another golf club which does admit women if Augusta National continues not to admit women members in the future.
While a 59% majority of women would favour a move, only 30% of men, 33% of those who follow golf and 32% of those who play golf would favour such a move.
Regardless of whether or not the Masters Tournament is moved to another course, a 54% to 30% majority of the public thinks that the Augusta National Golf Club should have the right not to accept women members if it wishes.
This view is endorsed by 68% of men, 70% of those who follow golf and 73% of those who play golf.
However, women are divided almost equally between those who think that the club should and should not have such a right.
These are the results of the Harris Poll conducted online by Harris Interactive between 22nd November and 2nd December, 2002 among a national sample of 2,221 adults aged 18 or over
“While the public may be divided on these issues and majorities of golfers and those who follow golf tend to be supportive of the position taken by the Augusta National Golf Club, the club would surely be well advised to change its policy soon-rather than continue to take the heat on this subject,” stated Humphrey Taylor, chairman of The Harris Poll, Harris Interactive.
“This is a battle it cannot win in the long run,” he continued, “and the sooner it changes the policy, the quicker the issue will go away. If the club does not change its policy, it will be subject to repeated criticism, year after year, and public support would probably decline. The old adage’don’t fight battles you can’t win’ probably applies here.”
Harris Interactive is a worldwide market research and consulting firm best known for The Harris Poll and for pioneering the Internet method to conduct scientifically accurate market research. Headquartered in Rochester, New York, U.S.A., Harris Interactive combines proprietary methodologies and technology with expertise in predictive, custom and strategic research. The Company conducts international research through wholly owned subsidiaries-London-based HI Europe (http://www.hieurope.com) and Tokyo-based Harris Interactive Japan-as well as through the Harris Interactive Global Network of local market-and opinion-research firms and various U.S. offices.
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