MILAN Spaniards stand united behind Madrid's bid for the 2016 Olympic Games while Tokyo has the weakest public support among the four potential host cities, a global study showed on Tuesday.
In an advance copy released exclusively to Reuters, "Sponsoring 21+" prepared by Germany-based sponsoring consultancy Sport+Markt, said 93 percent of Spanish respondents backed the Madrid bid, closely followed by Chicago and Rio de Janeiro.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) will announce the 2016 Olympic host city on Oct. 2 in Copenhagen.
"The population's passion for a sports event is the key to its success," said Hartmut Zastrow, executive director at Sport+Markt.
Madrid, bidding for the second successive time, is banking on the legacy of the Barcelona 1992 Games and its Mediterranean climate to swing the vote but is widely seen as an outsider.
"The Spanish enthusiasm for Madrid's bid is very remarkable. Madrid's chances are said to be low as the Summer Games in 2012 in London are already on European soil," Zastrow added.
Tokyo, who topped the International Olympic Committee's (IOC) overall technical evaluation last June ahead of Madrid, ranks as the lowest bidder for local support.
Just 72 percent of 1,000 people interviewed across Japan judged its proposal "good or very good", the report said.
"The bid of Tokyo does not have enough support in its own country so far," Zastrow commented. "This weakens the Japanese bid immensely."
Bookmakers' favourite Chicago comes second with 92 percent of public backing in the United States.
Rio, promoting the city's friendly atmosphere and the hosting of the 2007 Pan American Games as key reasons for holding a successful Games, has 89 percent of nationwide support, the report added.