A new poll commissioned and released Wednesday by the Budapest 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games bid shows a 12 per cent increase in support for the project, now at 63 per cent.
The nationwide public opinion poll of 1,000 respondents conducted by Kód Kft in December reveals the sharp increase from 51 per cent recorded when the last poll was taken six months ago.
The news is promising for organizers, and important as the bid faces the prospect of a possible referendum in the coming months. On Thursday, the politically-motivated Momentum Mozgalom youth organization will begin collecting signatures for a municipal vote over the bid. Over 150 volunteers and activists plan to set up booths across the city and go door-to-door to collect the required 138,000 signatures in thirty days in order to activate the referendum.
According to the survey results, support for the bid increased most among people living in Budapest and among young people, with more than half of the inhabitants of the capital supporting the Budapest bid, while 71 per cent of young people aged between 18 and 29 years are in favor.
Further results show that only 34 per cent believe hosting the Olympic Games would be a “too large bite for Hungary” from an economic standpoint.
If a referendum were to go ahead, bid supporters would need to get these people to the polls. In 2015, Hamburg’s bid for the 2024 Games released poll results showing 64 per cent municipal support and 71 per cent who believed there would be economic benefits. But in a referendum just weeks later, the bid was narrowly defeated when 51.6 per cent voted against the project,. As bid votes go, voter turnouts are typically skewed in favor of opponents.
The Kód Kft survey revealed increased awareness of the bid across Hungary with 95 per cent of respondents saying that they are aware of Budapest’s bid for the Games.
Results showed that 75 per cent believe Budapest has the capability to deliver the Games and 54 per cent believe that Budapest will win the right to host the Games when the International Olympic Committee (IOC) votes from among Los Angeles and Paris on September 13.
77 per cent would be “proud of the bid,” win or lose, according to results released by the bid.
Further data released show that “86 to 90 per cent of participants polled in the survey agreed with the proposition that the Olympic Games would introduce Budapest to the world and would give a strong drive to tourism” and 76 to 77 per cent of those surveyed also “believed that hosting the Olympic Games in Budapest would make Hungary’s population proud, unite Hungarians and contribute significantly to the improvement of the Hungarian sports.”
“We are delighted to learn that support for the Olympic Games in Budapest is continuing to grow as more cities and communities across Hungary are backing the bid,” said Budapest bid Chief Balázs Furjes.
“As a nation, sport has always been a central feature of Hungarian culture and society, and this is reflected in public support to host the Olympic and Paralympic Games.”.
“Hungary expresses itself through sport, and the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games is the world’s most important sporting event. Budapest’s public venues and supporting infrastructure and services have been planned and developed around sport and major events and Hungary’s love of sport”
A third and final set of bid documents is due into the IOC February 3 and an evaluation commission will arrive in the Capital May 10 to begin an on-site inspection.
A senior producer and award-winning journalist covering Olympic bid business as founder of GamesBids.com as well as providing freelance support for print and Web publications around the world. Robert Livingstone is a member of the Olympic Journalists Association and the International Society of Olympic Historians.