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Study Shows Strong Regional Support for Philadelphia Olympic Bid; 81 Percent of Area Residents In Favor of Bid; Many Cite Benefits to Economy.

PHILADELPHIA -- An independent poll of a representative sample of adults in the 10-county Philadelphia region indicates overwhelming support for a Philadelphia Olympic Bid, Philadelphia 2016 Board Co-Chairman Joseph Torsella announced today. The survey was conducted by The Melior Group of Philadelphia last month, and commissioned by Philadelphia 2016. The goal was to gauge how area residents feel about Philadelphia as a potential host city for a future Olympic Games and to learn reasons for supporting and not supporting the initiative.

A total of 1,010 households were surveyed by telephone between April 25 and May 7, 2006. According to the survey results, 81 percent of area residents said they support the region's bid, with more than one third (36 percent) indicating they strongly support the effort. This result is consistent with an earlier poll taken in August 2005 indicating that 83 percent of area residents supported the bid effort.

In making the announcement, Torsella was joined by Philadelphia 2016 Board leaders, including Community Engagement Co-Chairs Alba Martinez and A. Bruce Crawley (the third Co-Chair, Pat Croce, was not able to attend). The support statistics were significant news in a presentation Torsella made to the United States Olympic Committee board last Friday, he said.

"This is an extraordinary statistic that shows there is overwhelming and widespread support of a bid," Torsella said. "The prospect of economic development was the major reason cited," he said. "Respondents also mentioned pride in the city, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and increased tourism as reasons for supporting the effort," he said.

According to the survey, all races and ethnicities support the bid, with African-American and Hispanic residents slightly more endorsing (African-Americans 91 percent, Hispanics 94 percent, and Whites 80 percent). When it comes to age, the greatest support is from interviewees between the ages of 18 and 44, with the older end of the range slightly more endorsing; 45 percent of respondents ages 35-44 strongly support the effort. Overall geographically, the highest level of support is in Philadelphia County and in New Jersey.

"Good for the economy" was the number one reason why respondents support the effort with 36 percent of respondents citing this reason. Other reasons include:

--good for tourism (15 percent);

--proud of the city (13 percent);

--once-in-a-lifetime chance to see world class sports competition (12 percent);

--good for jobs/create jobs (10 percent);

--Philadelphia is world-class city (7 percent);

--great sports city (4 percent); and

--will enhance city aesthetically/spruce it up (3 percent).

"With a sample of this size, the statistical margin of error is plus or minus 3 percent (at 95 percent confidence)," said Linda McAleer, president of The Melior Group. "The survey results are very high," she said, "with strong support across all demographics."

Half of the respondents (53 percent) believed hosting the Olympics would enhance regional cooperation among political, civic and corporate leaders. This result was highest among Philadelphia residents (64 percent).

The survey preceded the Philadelphia visit on May 9 of the United States Olympic Committee. An earlier survey of public opinion toward a Philadelphia Olympic bid was conducted in August 2005, with 83 percent of respondents indicating support for the Philadelphia bid effort.

Summary of Key Findings

--Support of the Olympic Bid is substantial, with 81 percent of residents "strongly supporting" or "supporting" Philadelphia's effort to host the 2016 Summer Olympics.

--Of the 81 percent, more than one-third (36 percent) "strongly support" and 45 percent "support" the effort.

--The highest support is with those between the ages of 18 and 44, with the older end of the range slightly more endorsing (i.e., ages 35-44, where 45 percent "strongly support" the effort).

--African-American and Hispanic residents are slightly more endorsing of the effort - although all races/ethnicities do support it: African-Americans 91 percent, Hispanics 94 percent, Whites 80 percent.

--The highest level of support is in Philadelphia County and in New Jersey.

--"Good for the economy" was the number one reason why respondents support the effort.

--53 percent think hosting the Olympics will enhance regional cooperation among political, civic and corporate leaders.

About Philadelphia 2016

Philadelphia 2016 is the entity that oversees the region's bid to host the 2016 Olympic Games. Philadelphia 2016 is chaired by Dawn Staley, a three-time Olympic Gold Medalist and head coach of the Temple University women's basketball team; Joseph M. Torsella, president and CEO of the National Constitution Center; and David L. Cohen, executive vice president of Comcast Corporation. More than 49 civic, business, sports and education leaders from the Greater Philadelphia region serve on the Board of Directors of Philadelphia 2016, including Alba Martinez, president and CEO, United Way of Southeastern Pennsylvania, A. Bruce Crawley, president, Millennium 3 Management, and Pat Croce, president, Pat Croce & Company, co-chairs of Philadelphia 2016's Community Engagement Committee.
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Publication:Business Wire
Date:Jun 29, 2006
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