The city that beat out Salt Lake City as the U.S. candidate for the 1994 Winter Olympics appears to be having some second thoughts about playing host, but Olympics boosters said Friday that poll results still show strong support.
Anchorage needs a 70 percent vote of support in next month's election to persuade the International Olympics Committee meeting in Seoul in September to award the Games to the American city over several European competitors, said Rick Mystrom, chairman of the Anchorage Organizing Committee.But a poll, taken for the committee in June, initially withheld from the public and then released Thursday, does not offer that margin of support. Although a majority, 57 percent, told Dittman Research that Anchorage should play host to the Winter Games, that support dropped when the same people were asked if the city of Anchorage should sign a contract assuming financial responsibility for the Games - a requirement.
Forty-six percent said Anchorage should sign the financial guarantee, and 47 percent said Anchorage should not - a question that faces voters in August. Six percent said they were unsure.
The poll also showed that three-fourths of those who recently changed their minds about the Olympics have decided to oppose Games in Anchorage, but Mystrom declined to speculate whether this stemmed from newly released information that Anchorage had to guarantee to cover losses - information local Olympics boosters kept to themselves until news reports brought it to light in April.
Instead, Mystrom focused on poll results that found half of the opponents willing to support the Games if their financial misgivings could be satisfied - something Mystrom said his group will be trying to do to boost the needed margin of support.
All along, the Olympics organizers have said they would stage the Games exclusively with private money, but the poll shows that even some Olympics supporters do not believe that: 65 percent said they think tax money will be required.