Earlier this month, the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) selected Boston to represent the U.S. in the international bid to host the 2024 summer games. The city beat out Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Washington.
Boston Mayor Martin Walsh initially declined to hold a public referendum to vote on the city's candidacy however, after local opposition, he told The Wall Street Journal, "I wouldn't stand in the way."
A referendum could jeopardize Boston's bid as it indicates a lack of support from the city's residents. The USOC will submit an official candidate city to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in September. If public approval is not high, the organization could instead back another bidding city.
U.S. contenders for the 2012 games were thwarted because of low approval ratings and political unrest. New York's bid was dismissed because of conflict concerning the construction of a stadium in Manhattan, and Chicago's bid never gained more than 70 percent of the public's approval. The Journal reported that the IOC prefers public endorsement ratings to be at or above 80 percent.
A survey conducted by the MassINC Polling Group for radio news station WBUR in Boston showed 51 percent of Bostonians were in support of the games and 75 percent wanted to hold a local vote.
"The IOC would feel very nervous at awarding the games to a city where there isn't a clear majority who are in support of the idea," said consultant Michael Payne, a former IOC chief marketing officer, in the Journal's report.
Boston, if chosen by the USOC, would go up against cities such as Rome and Berlin.