Will the Olympians of 2020 be Greeted with "Hola," "Konnichiwa" or "Merhaba?"

As the IOC decision between Madrid, Tokyo and Istanbul nears, Americans weigh in on which city they'd choose

Sep 04, 2013, 13:00 ET from Harris Interactive

NEW YORK, Sept. 4, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- 2020 is a long way off – the better part of two presidential administrations. But of course, given the amount of construction and preparation that goes into hosting the Olympic Games – and how many recent host cities have struggled to get ready on schedule – it's best to plan ahead. As such, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) will elect the 2020 Games' host city this Saturday at the 125th IOC Session in Buenos Aires, Argentina. It will be selecting among the three finalists: Istanbul, Turkey; Madrid, Spain and Tokyo, Japan. We'll have to wait until Saturday to see which city the IOC selects – but if the choice were in the hands of Americans, 2020's Olympians might be boning up on their Spanish between practice sessions.

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These are some of the results of The Harris Poll of 2,242 U.S. adults surveyed online between July 17 and 22, 2013 by Harris Interactive. (Full results available here)

Tokyo most likely to entertain and meet deadlines, but Madrid most desired nonetheless

Just over half of Americans (51%) believe that Madrid should be selected to host the 2020 Games, with 36% choosing Tokyo and 13% selecting Istanbul. It's far from a unanimous decision though, with Tokyo being the top choice among men (47% Tokyo, 40% Madrid, 13% Istanbul) while Madrid is the top selection among women (61% Madrid, 26% Tokyo, 13% Istanbul).

The choice of Madrid would seem to fly in the face of other responses to the survey: 

  • Americans are most likely to select Tokyo as the city which would have the most entertaining opening ceremony (52% Tokyo, 41% Madrid, 7% Istanbul), though Gen Xers (48% Madrid, 46% Tokyo and 6% Istanbul) and women (48% Madrid, 45% Tokyo and 6% Istanbul) are most likely to choose Madrid for this by narrow margins.
  • When reminded that several recent host cities have struggled to complete facility construction and other preparations on time, Tokyo is Americans' top choice – by a considerable margin – as the city least likely to experience such issues (46% Tokyo, 12% Madrid, 8% Istanbul, 34% not at all sure).

But it may all come down to the city Americans would most like to visit themselves. If a company were offering a chance to win a trip to the Olympic Games, Madrid is the city which would compel the highest percentage to enter such a contest (36% Madrid, 27% Tokyo, 5% Istanbul, 7% not at all sure, with 24% saying none of these would compel them to enter).

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This Harris Poll was conducted online within the United States between July 17 and 22, 2013 among 2,242 adults (aged 18 and over). Figures for age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, region and household income were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. Propensity score weighting was also used to adjust for respondents' propensity to be online.

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Respondents for this survey were selected from among those who have agreed to participate in Harris Interactive surveys. The data have been weighted to reflect the composition of the adult population. Because the sample is based on those who agreed to participate in the Harris Interactive panel, no estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.

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The Harris Poll® #59, September 4, 2013

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