More Than Half of Londoners 'Uninterested' In 2012 Games

YouGov survey shows opinion is divided over Olympic support

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With one year to go until the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games in London, a new YouGov survey shows British opinion is divided over support for the Games and the benefits hosting will bring.

• 40% are interested in the London Olympic Games with one year to go

• 44% think London should have bid for the Games, 42% disagree

• 55% think the Games will be good for London generally

• Athletics is the most popular sport with 68% choosing it as one of their top five sports

• Of the list of sports which could be added to the Olympic Games in future, squash was the most popular, with 29% thinking it should be included

In YouGov’s nationally representative survey of 2,783 British adults, 44% said that, with the benefit of hindsight, London should have bid for the 2012 Olympics, just ahead of 42% who felt they should not.

Four out of ten people (40%) said they were either ‘very interested’ or ‘fairly interested’ in the London Olympics. In contrast, nearly six in ten (58%) said they were either ‘not very interested’ or ‘not at all interested’.

However organisers can perhaps take comfort from the fact that just days before the Royal Wedding a YouGov survey measuring interest in that event found a very similar result, with 56% of people either ‘not very interested’ or ‘not at all interested’.

When it came to the benefits the Olympics would bring to London, a majority (55%) felt that the Games would be good for London generally, with a similar number (54%) believing the Games would mean ‘better sports facilities available for years afterwards’.

However, nearly two thirds (65%) did not feel that the Games would be ‘good for people like me’ and six out of ten (60%) were disappointed by the way tickets had been sold.
Better than the rest?

Among the 1,100 respondents interested in the Olympics, 42% thought the London Olympics would be better than the 2004 Athens Olympics, 24% thought they would be an improvement on the Beijing Games in 2008 and 22% thought they would surpass those held in Sydney in 2000. Looking forward to 2016, 30% expect the London Games to be better than those set to be held in Rio de Janeiro.

Athletics emerged as the most popular Olympic sport among those interested in the Games, with over two thirds (68%) selecting it as one of their favourites. Swimming was second most popular, selected by just under half (48%) of those interested, with diving third with 27%.

When we asked respondents which Olympic sport they would prefer to compete in if they could, athletics again emerged as the most popular, with one in five (20%) of those interested in the Games selecting it. For women, swimming was the second most popular (14%), while men preferred football (14%).

From a list of sports not currently included in the Olympics, squash was the most popular option for inclusion in future Games, selected by 29% of those interested in the Games. Rugby sevens, set to be added in 2016, and netball were both just behind on 27% and 26% respectively.

Joe Twyman, Director of Political and Social Research at YouGov, said ‘Although some people still need to be convinced about the London Olympics, with a year to go the benefits to London are recognised by a majority of people and, as we saw with the Royal Wedding, interest across the nation is likely to increase as we get closer to the event itself.’

July 28, 2011