Friday, September 08, 2000

Olympics haven't won city over

Poll finds few think it likely they'll be here

By Ken Alltucker
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Most Greater Cincinnati residents, 73 percent, support bringing the Summer Olympics here in 2012 if someone else pays for it, but few think it's very likely to happen.

        And if Cincinnati is chosen, public transportation and crowded streets would be a major hassle.

  Cincinnati 2012 will prepare a bid by Dec. 15 to submit to the U.S. Olympic Committee, which will select one of eight U.S. cities to compete against international cities.
        Those are highlights of a survey released Thursday by a group organizing an effort to lure the Games to Cincinnati. The survey will be included in a bid due Dec. 15 to the U.S. Olympic Committee, which will select one U.S. city from eight bidding to compete against international cities.

        “These numbers show people think it's a good idea,” said Nick Vehr, president of Cincinnati 2012 Inc. “The Olympics wants to go someplace where people want it to be.”

        Mr. Vehr said he isn't worried that people reacting negatively to the survey are better educated and more affluent. The more people learn about the bid process, the more they tend to support it, he said.

        Convergys Corp. conducted the survey for free, polling 400 Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana residents by phone June 12 to June 21. The survey was of 200 men and 200 women, 16 percent of whom were minorities. The margin of error is 5 percentage points.

        More than four out of five were aware of Cincinnati's bid effort, in part because the media covered the bid organizers' press confer ences and town meetings in June.

        Those polled were told the effort to bring the Olympics here won't involve tax dollars. Mr. Vehr said the $2 billion needed to hold the Olympics can be raised through corporate sponsors, TV rights and ticket sales.

        Public money may be used to build highway, mass transit or facility improvements, but those dollars won't be part of the Olympic's operating budget, he said.

        Other poll results included:

        • Traffic (74 percent) and use of use of public funds (64 percent) are the top concerns.

        • Lack of public transportation (71 percent) is the biggest obstacle.


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