On Friday, the Western New England Polling Institute released a statewide poll on Boston’s 2024 Summer Olympics bid. It found that 46% of Massachusetts voters oppose the bid while only 40% of voters support it. When the poll looked at all adults, instead of just registered voters, it was slightly closer, but the edge was still to the opposition: 43% opposition and 42% support.
Boston area voters registered the strongest opposition: 48% opposed the bid, while only 35% supported it. North Shore and South Shore voters opposed the bid 47% to 40%. Central MA voters opposed it 46% to 40%. Western MA voters, by contrast, supported it 54% to 34%.
But this regional variation wasn’t the most interesting find. The poll also asked voters how much information they have heard about the Olympic bid, and the results showed that the more information people had heard, the more likely they were to oppose the bid.
Of those who said they had heard “a lot” of information, 62% opposed the bid, and only 27% supported it. Of those who said that they had heard “some” information, 53% opposed the bid, and 35% supported it. Of those who said that they had heard just “a little” about the bid,” 45% supported it, and 39% opposed it. Of those who heard that they had heard nothing at all about the bid (“none at all”), 51% supported it, and 29% opposed it.
In other words, the more people knew about the bid, the less likely they were to support it.
The relationship between information and position on Boston 2024 immediately reminded me of a poll from the Globe from last June, the first publicly available poll on the Olympic bid.
That poll found slim support (47% to 43%) statewide for the bid, and it, like this new poll, also showed Metro Boston more opposed than other parts of the state and Western Mass more supportive.
But what really stood out in that poll was what happened when you presented respondents with the arguments from both sides. The pollster presented the following two statements to respondents and then asked which statement came “closest to [their] own view.”
Supporters of Boston’s plan to pursue the 2024 Olympics say that hosting the summer games will provide Boston and the region with a lasting legacy of improved lives, a stronger economy, a more modern infrastructure, and a community with a stronger sense of connection and vision.
Opponents say that the likely costs do not outweigh the potential benefits. They say that hosting the 2024 summer games would take significant investments in our infrastructure and cost between $10 to $20 billion dollars – which could be better spent on education, housing, and transportation. Based on what on you know at this time, which statement comes closest to your own view?
63% sided with the opponents, and only 29% sided with the supporters. A majority of respondents from every region sided with the opposition.