Boston 2024 Support Stabilizes But Remains Weak

Boston is bidding for the 2024 Olympic Games
Boston is bidding for the 2024 Olympic Games

Support for the Boston 2024 Olympic bid appears to have stabilized and even increase marginally to 40 percent, up from 36 percent last month according to a follow-up poll by WBUR/MassINC earlier this month.  But 50 percent still oppose bidding for the Games, down from 52 percent in March.

“From January to February, and then from February to March, we saw a drop in support each month, and a climb in the number of people opposing the Olympics,” MassINC President Steve Koczela said in a WBUR release.

“That’s stopped now this month.

“That’s gotta be good news for proponents,” Koczela said.

The news comes after a difficult month for the bid as it struggled with media and opposition calls for greater transparency and involvement leading to the scheduling of a binding referendum to be held in November 2016.


The 4 percent improvement could be the result of statistical error which pollsters have measured as a 4.9 percent margin, meaning the bid team still has a lot of work to do in order to improve results above the necessary 50 percent approval rating required next year.

“The bleeding has stopped” – Steve Koczela of The MassINC Polling Group, which conducted the survey for WBUR

The United States Olympic Committee (USOC) will also be looking for further improvements quickly, ahead of the the September 15 bid submission deadline to the International Olympic Committee (IOC).  Though America’s Olympic authority claims they have unwavering support for Boston’s bid – they could consider changing their nomination ahead of the deadline rather than risk an embarrassing and costly referendum defeat next year – one that would shut the U.S. out of hosting the Summer Games until at least 2028.

The USOC is still stinging from the crushing defeats of Chicago and New York bids for 2016 and 2012, respectively.

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Click for detailed WBUR/MassINC poll results


A more positive note for Boston 2024 proponents is youth opinion in the poll which continues to be stronger than the overall average.  57 percent of those 18 to 29 support the bid while only 34 percent are against.  That compares with only 44 percent support in the 30 to 44 age group, 32 percent for those 45 to 59 and 35 percent of those over 60.

The pollster claims this “younger, more diverse electorate [is] good for Boston 2024.”

In a Tweet to Koczela says that this support is a continuing trend.

This age group may continue to be a key area of focus for the bid next year as a lead up to the referendum.  The bid’s success in driving up public support may run parallel to Team USA’s performance at the Rio 2016 Olympics next summer.  More medals, and the increased pride, patriotism and motivation that comes with victory will likely have a positive impact on the poll.

In fact the timing of the poll after the Olympics, and the USOC’s decision on sticking with Boston for the long run may be directly related.

Internationally, Boston will be up against Rome, Hamburg and likely Paris, all with positive public support.  Other cities are also expected to enter the race ahead of the deadline.

Next April or May, the IOC will release a short list of candidates and will conduct city site inspections early in 2017 before they elect the winner at an all-members session later that year in Lima, Peru.

A senior producer and award-winning journalist covering Olympic bid business as founder of 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.

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