Down but still strong, close to 80% support Salt Lake City Olympic bid according to new poll

An overwhelming majority of residents across Utah support hosting the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games for a second time in the U.S. state according to a new poll released Monday by Deseret News and Hinckley Institute of Politics. The survey found that 79 percent support hosting a sequel to the successful Salt Lake City 2002 Winter Games while only 16 percent disapprove and 5 percent are undecided.

Salt Lake City 2002 Olympic Winter Games (Photo: Debaird)

Salt Lake City 2002 Olympic Winter Games (Photo: Debaird)

Conducted by pollster Dan Jones & Associates on July 13-18 among 801 registered voters in Utah, the statewide survey has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.46 percentage points.

Monday’s positive results demonstrate a small downtick from a similar 2017 poll that revealed 89 percent would welcome a return of the Games.  Support remains strong despite a sharp economic downturn and the recently held Beijing 2022 and Tokyo 2020 Winter and Summer Games that were hard hit by the global COVID-19 pandemic.

Utah’s support of the Games continues far above that of rivals looking to host in 2030, and most other recent bids to host the massive international quadrennial event. Recent surveys taken in Sapporo showed 52 and 65 percent support for a second Games in Japan’s Hokkaido province, depending on the methodology, and were collected shortly after the conclusion of Beijing 2022 where Japan won 3 gold of a total 18 medals and placed 12th on the medal table.

In Canada, a British Columbia campaign to reprise the Vancouver 2010 Games has the support of 54 percent across the province with 34 percent in opposition according to a June survey. Public support has been trending upwards since it was revealed that First Nations would lead the bid.

Sapporo’s city council has ruled out the possibility of a referendum over the Japanese bid. Vancouver’s city council has so far pushed back on any public vote, but stakeholders – including municipal, federal and provincial governments and impacted First Nations – have yet to agree to move forward with the project. The results of Municipal elections to be held across British Columbia on October 15 could also impact any decisions made about the province’s potential bid.

First Nations’ leadership are expected to announce their intentions on moving the project forward later this month.

Organizers behind the bid to return the Games to Salt Lake City remain undecided on whether they will target a 2030 or 2034 edition of the Games.  Salt Lake City-Utah Committee for the Games (SLC-UT) have entered discussions with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to host a future edition of the Games, but the IOC won’t name its preferred 2030 candidates before December this year. SLC-UT is pushing for the earlier Games but a domestic conflict with the Los Angeles 2028 Summer Games only 18 months earlier may dilute available revenue streams, making it less appealing for stakeholders. A 2034 Games seems more likely, and the IOC may not award those Games for more several years.

IOC president Thomas Bach said earlier this year that his Executive Board will target the awarding of the 2030 Games at an all-members Session to be held in Mumbai, India starting next May, but no fixed timelines currently exist.

Last week, a possible solo 2030 bid from Catalonia in Spain rose from the ashes of the previous failed joint Catalonia-Aragon project that collapsed due to political differences. Spanish Olympic Committee (COE) approval is required before discussions with the IOC can commence, but with time running short this seems unlikely.

About Robert Livingstone

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.