Olympic Survey Finds Mass. Residents Trust Robert Kraft the Most

Patriots owner Robert Kraft.
Patriots owner Robert Kraft. –AP

Massachusetts residents trust New England Patriots owner RobertKraft more than Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, former Governor Deval Patrick, and The Boston Globe.

That’s according to an internal poll taken on behalf of Olympic bidding group Boston 2024 last April. The committee has referred in the pastto internal metrics showing support for the idea for several months, and it included a look at some of those findings—an April survey of Massachusetts residents—when it released its bidding documents last week.

One question in the survey asked respondents to say whether they would trust “a great deal’’ or “a fair amount’’ any of the following on the topic of hosting the Olympics: Kraft, Walsh, Patrick, the Globe, “leaders of the business community,’’ The Massachusetts Affordable Housing Alliance, Olympian Aly Raisman, and Celtics legends Larry Bird and Bill Russell (who were presented as a package deal).

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Kraft won out, with close to 60 percent saying they trusted him. “Perhaps because his perceived areas of expertise include both business and sports, Kraft is seen as a trustworthy voice on these issues by almost three-of-five Bay State residents,’’ polling firm Kiley & Company wrote in its findings.

Maybe that’s why Kraft’s Monday night press conference to address the “Deflategate’’ insanity felt like such a rallying cry for Patriots fans.

It’s a nice little finding for Boston 2024, given that Kraft has some involvement with the group. He was a founding director of the committee, and other Olympic documents say Kraft “has been involved in the Boston 2024 planning process and supportive of the planning effort.’’ But then again, Kraft has kept an extremely low profile around the Olympic bidding process.

The rest of the results from the who-do-you-trust question weren’t shared, though in keeping with the theme that championship rings speak volumes, the polling company writes: “Residents also place a good deal of credibility in Bill Russell and Larry Bird.’’

The survey was conducted with 600 Massachusetts residents. It found that when asked upfront whether they supported a Boston Olympics or not, 48 percent said yes and 29 percent said no. Another 23 percent were undecided.

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Respondents were then asked a series of questions relative to bidding for the games. That included asking residents to judge how strongly they agreed with statements in favor of the bid and statements opposed to it. Residents were asked to name their own concerns and possible benefits they could see as a result of thebid. The promise of increased infrastructure apparently appealed to respondents, while fears of terrorism, costs, and traffic were common concerns, according to the survey.

According to the poll summary, once residents had answeredall the survey questions about possible benefits and concerns, 66 percent of residents were on-board with the idea. The caveat there, as described by Commonwealth Magazine, is that this method of polling is a means by which to measure potential support, not existing support.

There are other caveats that should accompany the internal survey from April, not the least of which is that, well, it’s from April. At the time, Boston hadn’t even been placed on the U.S. short list of possible Olympic bidding cities. The idea was still a twinkle in organizers’ eyes, gleaming though it may have been. Fittingly, the survey itself said that only half of those polledeven knew Boston was planning to bid. Boston 2024 says it rananother poll in September, this one of Boston residents, but its findings were not included in the bidding documents.

Other—more recent—surveys have shown support for the bid with caveats of their own. One poll from Sage Systems found that public opinion shifted into opposition when the prospect of using public financing came into play. And another poll from WBUR and MassINC found that despite support for the bid, Boston-area residents want to see a vote on the question of whether or not the city should try and host the Olympics.

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The April survey, for its part, gives some insight into the kind of support Boston 2024 feels it has. Oh, and it alsoshows that Massachusetts puts a lot of stock in the owner of its pro football team.

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