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Voters shunning Olympics, polls find

An architect's rendering of a proposed Olympics site.
An architect's rendering of a proposed Olympics site. Elkus Manfredi Architects for Boston 2024

Two recently released polls indicate many state residents still do not support the idea of a Boston Olympics.

Fifty-three percent of Massachusetts voters do not want Boston to bid on the 2024 Summer Olympics, while 37 percent support the plan, according to one poll commissioned by Massachusetts Citizens for Jobs.

Those results run slightly below what other recent polls have depicted. A WBUR poll released Friday, for instance, showed 42 percent of those surveyed statewide supported the bid while 50 percent opposed the idea.

The United States Olympic Committee has said it would like majority support “relatively soon,” with the national group due to decide by mid-September whether to submit the Boston proposal to the International Olympic Committee.

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Perhaps more damning for the Olympics effort are results that show nearly 2 in 3 voters do not believe the local organizing committee’s assertions that the Games would turn a profit rather than produce a deficit. Less than a quarter of respondents expect the event to be profitable.

“It appears the taxpayers don’t want to fund the Olympics,” said pollster Doug Kaplan of Massachusetts Citizens for Jobs.

Exactly half of respondents said they opposed the use of public funds to draw the Olympics here — even if that spending were limited to roadway, transportation, and infrastructure improvements, a key pillar of the pro-Games argument. Forty-three percent supported that arrangement.

“If the government would do a better job and show that it’s able to improve the highways and some infrastructure, that could be the ticket for people to support it,” Kaplan said.

The poll was commissioned by the nonprofit arm of Massachusetts Citizens for Jobs, a conservative group that launched last year. Gravis Marketing, a Florida-based firm, conducted the survey between July 2 and July 3 among 512 registered voters using instant voice recognition polls.

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The poll carries an error margin of plus or minus 4 percentage points.

Opposition to the bid ran roughly equal between Democrats and Republicans, though Republicans were 7 percentage points more likely to support the bid. Unenrolled voters — the state’s largest bloc — were, at 55 percent, most likely to oppose.

The wealthiest respondents were least likely to back the proposal, with just 9 percent of respondents claiming a household income above $150,000 annually in favor. At 51 percent, those earning less than $25,000 said they wanted the Games.


Jim O’Sullivan can be reached at jim.osullivan@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter at @JOSreports.