Residents polled on their view of Olympics bid
The US Olympic Committee, which will decide in coming months whether to move ahead with Boston’s bid for the 2024 Olympics, has commissioned a poll of city residents to learn more about public opinion.
The survey comes as Boston 2024, the organizing committee behind the effort, is due by the end of this month to release its revised proposal to the public and as questions remain about whether the national group will stand by Boston’s bid.
In the survey, which was ongoing as of Monday, pollsters drilled down specifically on how plausible and acceptable the public views the financing behind the Games and the promises of tax revenues that could ensue. Both have been key stumbling blocks for the pro-Olympics forces.
The USOC this month advised the local organizers of its intention to conduct the survey, people familiar with the discussions said.
“We have been consistently conducting public opinion research since last fall and that continues,” USOC spokesman Patrick Sandusky said in an e-mailed statement.
The timing came as a surprise to some of the Boston-based organizers, who wondered whether it would make more sense to wait until the proposal had been unveiled.
Boston 2024 has pledged a statewide vote on the bid, but uncertainty remains about the question’s wording and impact. On Tuesday, former gubernatorial candidate Evan Falchuk, spearheading a separate ballot effort that would prevent public money from being used for the Olympics, announced a partnership with a group that successfully pushed last year’s repeal of a law tying the gasoline tax to cost-of-living increases.
Boston 2024 officials are hoping the release of their altered proposal will rejuvenate public support for the effort. Members of the organizing committee are set to attend a USOC board meeting next week.
“Boston 2024 and the USOC have said in the past that they will conduct polls from time to time during this bid process to ensure we are on track to win a majority of support,” Boston 2024 spokeswoman Erin Murphy Rafferty said in a written statement. “In fact such polling is required by the [International Olympic Committee]. We are confident support will grow as we unveil the next phase of a sustainable and cost-effective plan for the Games that is informed by an extensive community engagement process”
Pollsters asked respondents whether they supported or opposed bringing the Games to Boston in 2024, and then asked their reasons, according to one person who received the call on Monday.
They asked what type of impact the Olympics would have on six different subjects: Boston’s image on the world stage, the MBTA, and the condition of roads, public safety, jobs, and traffic.
One question asked whether and how the Olympics would affect local tax rates, and whether the financing arrangement described by Mayor Martin J. Walsh, in which state and local tax dollars would be used only for infrastructure improvements, would be acceptable.
The poll also gauged the favorability of Steve Pagliuca, the chairman of Boston 2024.
Questioners asked respondents to say how important some of the promised benefits of the Games would be, specifying improved public transportation and infrastructure, economic development, increased exposure as a tourism destination, and standing at the center of the world’s attention.
The calls came from the American Directions Group, a Washington D.C.,-based market research firm, according to the person who participated in the poll. It is unclear whether the polling is ongoing or has been completed.