By Nick Butler

Just 31 per cent of respondents across Poland supported Krakow's bid for the 2022 Winter Olympics and Paralympics ©Getty ImagesA national survey has found 58 per cent of respondents across Poland oppose Kraków's bid to host the 2022 Winter Olympics and Paralympics.

The survey, carried out by the Homo Homini Institute, comes less than a month ahead of a referendum in the city to be held alongside the European Parliamentary Elections on May 25, in which citizens will make a yes/no decision over whether the bid should go ahead. 

Of the 1,100 people questioned in the survey, only 31 per cent of respondents nationwide came out in favour, while 10.6 per cent concluded it was "difficult to say" whether or not the bid should be continued.

Although the accuracy of the survey to predict the referendum result is limited because it refers to the whole of Poland, rather than just the citizens of Kraków eligible to vote, a further breakdown indicates some useful trends.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the age group most enthusiastic about the bid were those aged 18 to 24, of which 57.1 per cent were supportive, while the least supportive were those aged 55 to 64, of which 56.4 per cent were opposed.

In what will be the biggest concern for the Organising Committee considering they will not be able to vote in the referendum, the group most interested in the Games were rural residents, while people in large cities showed more opposition.

April proved a difficult month for Kraków 2022 after Jagna Marczulajtis-Walczak (centre) stood down as President and was replaced by Magdalena Sroka (left) ©Kraków 2022April proved a difficult month for Kraków 2022 after Jagna Marczulajtis-Walczak (centre) stood down as President and was replaced by Magdalena Sroka (left)
©Kraków 2022

The survey comes after a difficult few weeks for Kraków after Mayor Jacek Majchrowski surprisingly called for the referendum in order to get a direct public endorsement for the bid.

Following that, bid leader Jagna Marczulajtis-Walczak resigned as a result of claims husband Andrzej Walczak attempted to bribe journalists into providing favourable coverage. 

She has been replaced by Deputy Mayor Magdalena Sroka.

While initial forecasts for the referendum had been more positive, the survey suggests proportions of the public are turning against the bid, presumably due to these problems.

The crisis currently engulfing Rio's preparations for the 2016 Games could also have played a part in raising concerns. 

But Sroka, speaking to press agency IAR following the survey results being announced, claimed not to be surprised by such findings which are, in her view, the result of a three-month negative campaign.

She also insisted that bidding for the Games remains a great opportunity for Poland which will provide commercial and infrastructural benefits.

Kraków is locked in a five way contest with Almaty, Beijing, Lviv and Oslo in a race which has been riddled with problems for the majority of the contenders.

Following the submission of Applicant Files in March, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) will decide on an unspecified number of candidates following an Executive Board Meeting in Lausanne on July 8 to 9. 

The winning city will then be revealed at the IOC Session in Kuala Lumpar, Malaysia on July 31 2015.

Contact the writer of this story at [email protected]

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