Poll Finds Public Backs Augusta

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In recent interviews, Augusta National chairman Hootie Johnson has used a public opinion poll to help defend his stance of outlawing female members in the exclusive club.
 
Thursday, the club released the results of that poll, conducted by Washington-based The Polling Company Inc. and WomenTrend.
 
The poll reported that 60 percent of the 800 people surveyed ' 51 percent women and 49 percent men ' agreed that Augusta National should retain its membership policy. Seventy-four percent said the club has the right to have members of one gender only. The poll has a margin of error of 3.5 to 5 percent.
 
It is enormously gratifying to see that a majority of Americans feel as we do, Johnson said in a statement.
 
Martha Burk, head of the National Council of Womens Organizations, has said the poll was sort of an amateurish attempt to bolster their position against women.
 
Seventy percent of the people in this country do not support sex discrimination, she added.
 
Johnson said Monday that Augusta National would not admit its first female member prior to the 2003 Masters Tournament.
 
Burk responded by saying she would send more letters to top executives, demanding they give up their membership at the all-male club. She also stated she would continue to pressure CBS Sports to drop its coverage of the Masters, even though the network said in September it would not.
 
If a woman is not invited to be a member before next Aprils Masters Tournament, Burk expects pickets and protesters to be prominent during the week of the event in Augusta, Ga.