Public support for BC 2030 Olympic bid still soft, but gaining momentum: survey

A recent online survey conducted by Research Co. and Glacier Media revealed that 54 percent asked across British Columbia are behind the proposed BC 2030 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games bid, an increase of 11 points since last December. Those respondents said the bid should “definitely” or “probably” be launched if the BC 2030 exploratory committee is invited as a candidate by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and three municipalities and four First Nations agree to move forward.

Vancouver's BC Place Stadium (Photo: FIFA/Twitter)
Vancouver’s BC Place Stadium (Photo: FIFA/Twitter)

According to the survey results published Monday in Business in Vancouver, opposition to the bid fell 10 points to 35 percent. The study was conducted from June 24-26 among 800 adults in British Columbia and has a margin of error of 3.5 percentage points 19 times out of 20.

The survey further revealed that support among young adults from 18 to 34 years was strongest at 61 percent while support from those between 35 and 54 dropped to 56 percent. In the over-55 demographic, the support fell below the majority at only 48 percent.

Mario Canseco, spokesperson for Research Co. wrote in an op/ed “One element that has changed since our last survey is the official announcement that the Winter Games bid is being explored by Four Host First Nations – Musqueam, Squamish, Tsleil-Waututh and Lil’wat – and the municipal governments of Vancouver and Whistler. When British Columbians are asked what effect the existence of this Indigenous-led partnership has on their perception, 23 per cent claim it makes them more likely to endorse the Olympic bid, while 18 per cent say it makes them less supportive.”

The announced leadership by First Nations had a greater impact on young people with 32 percent aged 18 to 34 more likely to back the bid for this reason, while 21 percent of those over 55 are less likely to support the bid based on the same announcement.

The BC numbers are similar to a survey taken by rival bidder Sapporo, Japan.  That poll conducted both by mail and in person showed between 52 and 65 percent support, depending on the methodology, and was taken shortly after the conclusion of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics where Japan won 3 gold of a total 18 medals and placed 12th on the medal table.

The third potential candidate in the race for 2030, Salt Lake City in Utah, has shown overwhelming support in the latest polling. A 2019 survey revealed 87 percent across the state “strongly” or “somewhat” support hosting the Games and only 11 percent are opposed with 2 percent saying they “don’t know.”  Recent reports indicate that the Salt Lake bid committee and the IOC might be more interested in partnering for a 2034 Games instead of 2030.

Last month a bid from Spain collapsed when regional partners from Barcelona and the Pyrenees failed to come to an agreement on venue distribution amid political disputes.  A referendum on the bid had been planned for July.

Additional results shed light on the respondents’ overall opinion of the IOC.

Canseco wrote “We see little change in the perceptions of the province’s residents on the IOC itself, with 47 percent (down one point) expressing positive views and 33 percent (down three points) outlining a negative opinion.

The Canadian Olympic Committee (COC) has yet to finalize an intention to bid as it conducts a public engagement campaign and awaits First Nations to signal their agreement to move forward based on preliminary plans released last month.

Though there is no set timetable for the election of Olympic hosts, the IOC in April mapped out a rough timeline for the Winter Games indicating invitations to preferred candidates being announced in December and the election of a final host or hosts (possibly 2030 and 2034) being held at a Session in Mumbai, India at the end of May 2023.

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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