Support among Boston area voters for Boston hosting the 2024 summer Olympics has fallen from 51 percent in January to 44 percent in February to 36 percent in a WBUR poll of 504 Boston area registered voters taken March 16-18.
Conducted by the MassINC Polling Group, the poll was also the first of the last three months to show a majority, 52 percent, against the Olympic bid. Pollster Steve Koczela told WBUR February's poll results might have been influenced by dissatisfaction at the time with poor train service in the area that prevented them from getting to work, but noted the numbers for Olympics supporters got even worse in March.
The March poll showed voters were mixed about former Gov. Deval Patrick working as a "global ambassador" for the private non-profit trying to bring the Olympics to Boston, 65 percent said they believed taxpayers would be asked to pay for the worldwide games, and only 19 percent had a favorable opinion of the Boston 2024 group.
In response, Boston 2024 said the group signed up 900 volunteers in recent weeks, and highlighted a report commissioned by The Boston Foundation that pointed to major economic benefits for the region, including thousands of jobs, associated with the Olympics.
"After one of our worst ever winters, we know that we need to be out across the city and the state over the forthcoming days, weeks and months to build support and make the case that the 2024 Games would leave an extremely positive legacy for generations to come," Boston 2024 CEO Rich Davey said. "The more one-on-one conversations we have - discussing the benefits and addressing concerns - the more support will grow. That is why Boston 2024 has scheduled 20 public meetings in 20 weeks across Massachusetts in addition to the nine neighborhood meetings Mayor Walsh is hosting in Boston."
Patrick announced late Thursday he plans to take a full-time job soon and will not accept the $7,500 a day fee he had signed up for to tout the Olympics bid.
"I intend to take a full-time position soon and to forego all outside consulting pay, including for Boston 2024," Patrick said in a statement. "Because I think the Olympics could be good for the Commonwealth, I will continue to help as and when I can, but not for a fee."