Boston 2024 have hailed the latest poll figures published today as a sign that support for its bid to host the Olympic and Paralympic Games is on the raise, although opposition within the city itself has actually increased to more than 50 per cent.
The poll carried out by WBUR, Boston's national public radio news station, shows that support in Massachusetts has risen from 39 per cent to 42 per cent.
In the Boston area, though, the number of people who are against the bid has climbed to 53 per cent, 20 per cent higher than when the city was surprisingly chosen by the United States Olympic Committee in January as its candidate city ahead of Los Angeles, San Francisco and Washington D.C.
Even in the statewide poll, public support may have risen, but so too has opposition, up from 49 per cent to 50.
Boston 2024, however, claimed the raise in statewide support indicated they had finally turned the corner.
In the city, support had also remained consistent at 40 per cent, although that is still 11 per cent lower than January.
The survey was conducted statewide, with additional surveying within the Boston area, from July 6 until 8, a week after Boston 2024 released its revised plan, or “Bid 2.0".
“These poll results show support is growing as more people see our 'Bid 2.0’ plans, which rely entirely on private financing for Olympic venues and operations and include substantial safeguards to make sure taxpayer dollars are not put at risk," Erin Murphy, the chief operating officer of Boston 2024, said.
"Our plan will yield tremendous legacy benefits for communities, provide once-in-a-lifetime economic development opportunities and accelerate much-needed housing, transportation and infrastructure upgrades.
"Boston 2024 is working hard to ensure that the people of Boston and the commonwealth have accurate information about the proposal to host the Olympic and Paralympic Games, as well as ample opportunities to voice their opinions and participate in the process.
"We are confident the numbers will continue to trend upward as more residents take a closer look of our plans to bring the Games back to the United States.”
Local opposition group No Boston Olympics, though, claimed the poll figures showed most people still did not support the campaign.
"Despite more than two years of salesmanship from Olympic boosters, Massachusetts voters do not support Boston 2024, and do not trust the boosters to protect scarce tax dollars," they said in a statement.
"Nearly two in three voters do not believe the boosters' claims that the Games would turn a profit rather than produce a deficit.
"Boston 2024 has spent more than $14 million (£9 million/€13 million) to sell its bid, but it is pushing a product that Massachusetts voters just don't want."
Boston may be right, however, to take some encouragement in the latest figures, according to Steve Koczela, President of The MassINC Polling Group, which conducted the survey for WBUR.
“It doesn’t seem like there’s a whole lot of movement right now,” Koczela told WBUR.
“But sometimes these small movements are evidence of a beginning of a trend.”
Koczela warned, though, that Boston 2024 needed to sell their "Bid 2.0" concept more aggressively if it was to achieve its goal of getting support of beyond 60 per cent, the minimum that would be acceptable to the International Olympic Committee (IOC).
A total of 63 per cent said they did not follow the news about the new concept too closely or at all closely.
“So if [Boston 2024 leaders] were hoping that 'Bid 2.0' was going to change a lot of minds, there’s a lot of people who don’t know about it and don’t know it happened,” Koczela told WBUR.
Most encouragingly for Boston 2024 perhaps was that 44 per cent of people on both sides of the debate polled by WBUR indicated they would be willing to reconsider their position on the bid.
“There’s a big chunk of opponents that say they’d be willing to change their mind, that could potentially offer a path to Boston 2024 and Olympic proponents to move the numbers to where they need to be," Koczela said.
Budapest this week added its name to a list of cities bidding for the 2024 Games that includes Hamburg, Paris and Rome.
The winner is due to decided at the IOC Session in Lima in 2017.
July 2015: Boston 2024 bid leader Pagliuca claims “no scope” for cost increases of venues
June 2015: United States Olympic Committee stand behind Boston 2024 following "remarkable progress"
June 2015: Boston 2024 "Bid 2.0" puts sustainability and community benefits at its heart in attempt to win over local public
June 2015: No Boston Olympics launch pledge for financial support ahead of key Boston city and USOC meetings
June 2015: Seven more venues unveiled by Boston 2024 ahead of key United States Olympic Committee meeting