January 20, 2015 / 2:23 PM / 3 years ago

Bostonians want a vote on city's bid to host 2024 Olympics: poll

BOSTON (Reuters) - Three-quarters of Boston-area residents say that they should get a chance to vote on a planned bid to host the 2024 Olympic Games, according to a poll released on Tuesday.

The lights are on at Fenway Park for the MLB American League baseball game between the Texas Rangers and the Boston Red Sox in Boston, Massachusetts April 17, 2012. REUTERS/Brian Snyder

While about half of respondents to the poll by MassINC Polling Group for WBUR radio said they supported the idea of hosting the games, they disagreed with Mayor Martin Walsh’s statement that no vote was needed.

The U.S. Olympic Committee said earlier this month that Boston would be the nation’s candidate to bid for the 2024 Summer Games, putting it up against rivals including Rome and Germany and making it the first U.S. city to host an Olympics since the Salt Lake City in 2002.

The poll of 507 registered voters conducted Jan. 13 to Jan. 15 found that approval for the bid was measured. Some 51 percent said they supported the idea while 33 percent opposed it. But when asked if they were “excited” about it, 48 percent said they were, and 43 percent said they were not.

That gap was within the survey’s 6.7 percentage point margin of error.

One reason for area residents’ skepticism is that 53 percent believe that taxpayer funds will be required to pay for the games, although Walsh has vowed to avoid overspending.

City organizers pitched an economical Games, estimating costs at $9.5 billion, less than one-fifth the staggering $51 billion Russia spent last year to stage the Winter Games in Sochi.

An opposition group, No Boston Olympics, had been arguing against the idea since before Boston edged out U.S. cities including Los Angeles and San Francisco to win the bid, citing concerns about the expense.

Reporting by Scott Malone; Editing by Susan Heavey

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