A whopping 79% of Utahns are behind the state hosting the 2034 Winter Games, according to a new Deseret News/Hinckley Institute of Politics poll.

Nearly half of the adults questioned, 48%, expressed strong support for bringing another Olympics to Utah in 2034, while 31% said they’re somewhat supportive. A total of just 14% were somewhat or strongly opposed. Another 7% said they didn’t know how they felt.

Here’s how much a 2034 Winter Games in Utah would cost

The results come as International Olympic Committee leaders are expected to decide Wednesday whether to advance Utah’s bid to a final vote by the full IOC membership in July. Salt Lake City was named the IOC’s preferred host for the 2034 Winter Games late last year,

“I’m thrilled,” said Fraser Bullock, president and CEO of the Salt Lake City-Utah Committee for the Games that’s behind the bid, calling public support “the foundation to hosting the Games. Whether it’s bidding or actually hosting, it’s the public that makes that happen.”

The poll was conducted by HarrisX for the Deseret News and the University of Utah’s Hinckley Institute of Politics June 4-7, 2024, of 889 Utah adults and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.3 percentage points.

Previous Deseret News/Hinckley Institute of Politics polls in 2022 and 2023 also identified a similar level of public backing for another Olympics in Utah at an unspecified date, and the IOC measured support at 80% in both Salt Lake City and the state as a whole, and 75% nationwide, last September.

Jason Perry, the director of the Hinckley Institute of Politics, said when it comes to the Olympics, Utahns aren’t changing their opinion.

“Utahns consistently and enthusiastically support the Olympics, with our polling showing a deep sense of pride in hosting the 2002 Games,” Perry said. “The overwhelming majority of residents are eager to see the Olympics return, reflecting a strong, enduring enthusiasm for this global event in our state.”

Bullock cited several reasons for the sustained support, starting with the 2002 Winter Games that were “so successful, with so many great memories.” He said, too, that the Olympics are seen as “a wonderful cause in a divided world,” using sport “to try to unify the world as much as it can.”

Utahns recognize the Olympics as an opportunity to welcome the world to their state, Bullock said.

“Utah does that exceptionally well. The poll reflects that eager attitude to once again host the world in 2034,” he said, adding that doesn’t surprise him. “I’ve got a big smile on my face knowing that the people of Utah love the Games.”

There’s also confidence in how the privately funded event would be run, suggested Bullock, who served as the chief operating officer for the 2002 Games. On Monday, the bid committee released a $2.83 billion budget for hosting in 2034, roughly the same amount spent in 2002 adjusted for inflation.

2030/2034 Olympic Winter Games bid timeline

“We have a good business model that does not rely on any state or local taxpayer funding,” Bullock said, instead raising money largely from the sale of sponsorships, broadcast rights and tickets, just like in 2002. “We just want to not even have that debate on the table and be self-sufficient.”

The budget is just part of the plans for another Olympics evaluated by the IOC’s Future Host Commission that heaped praise on Utah during an April visit. The commission’s findings have been submitted to the IOC Executive Board that meets Wednesday through Friday in Switzerland.

There doesn’t seem to be much doubt that Utah, as well as the IOC’s preferred host for the 2030 Winter Games, France’s French Alps bid, will both get the go-ahead for what would be a ratification vote in Paris just before the start of the 2024 Summer Games.

The date for the vote has already been set, July 24, celebrated as Pioneer Day in Utah, and a number of Utah officials including Gov. Spencer Cox and Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall are expected to be in Paris.

Robert Livingstone of GamesBids.com wrote Monday that given the time already spent vetting the preferred picks “and no other rival bids in sight, it’s all but certain that projects from the French Alps for 2030 and Salt Lake City, Utah for 2034 will be put forward for the all-members election in July.”