The Olympics is finally upon us and as our latest Tracker shows Brits are once again both prouder and more excited, dispelling the myth that we are a population characterised by our stiff upper lip.
Despite the fact that opinion on whether the Olympics will be good for Britain remains unchanged, 60% is certainly not insignificant. In fact, in order to explore this metric and excitement levels further, this month we dug a little deeper. We asked our respondents about the ways in which the Olympics will benefit Britain and the extent to which they will be following the Olympics. The results highlight the fact that Brits will be glued to events over the next few weeks and will also be keeping a close eye on the legacy the Games will leave.
We are the proudest we have ever been – pride in being British reached an all-time high of 7.78 out of 10 this month (an increase of 0.12 points from June). That’s a rise of 0.45 points since our first wave in February. Those specifically backing Britain in July are females and 18-34 year olds, whose pride has peaked at 7.84 and 7.59 respectively over the last 6 months. But it is the oldest age group (55+) who remain the most proud of all demographics at 8.60. And it is this cohort who has shown the biggest uptick over all 6 waves (nearly a whole point, from 7.61 in February).
The upward creep in levels of British pride has gone hand in hand with proximity to the Games. It appears that the negativity surrounding Britain as host nation is being gradually disregarded for more positive stories hitting the headlines. And what a flurry of positivity there’s been of late. With millions of people celebrating the impending Olympics by lining the route of the Torch Relay, along with a historic British win at the Tour de France, it’s no wonder we feel proud to be British right now.
Excitement has continued to build in July with a 3% increase to 51%. With the opening ceremony imminent and the qualifying trials completed, it’s hardly surprising that over half of Brits are now excited about the Olympics. Yohan Blake’s recent triumphs against Usain Bolt over 100m and 200m distances suggest that this is an open competition where anything can happen. If a World Record holder can be beaten, the anticipation of what else might occur is certain to keep us on the edge of our seats. After all, there are a host of young British hopefuls going for gold this summer, and with predictions of more medals than 2008, Britain is holding its breath.
The nation’s enthusiasm is also reflected in how people plan to follow the Olympics – nearly 80% of the country will be engaging in some way. The majority of people (49%) are going to watch the games live on television, a greater percentage than those who will simply tune into the highlights (42%), suggesting that people don’t want to miss out on any of the action.
Despite the prediction that over a third of Britons would book their summer holidays to coincide with the Olympics and escape the chaos, according to our survey, over half of the population (55%) plan to stay in Britain over this period. Brits evidently want to immerse themselves in this once-in-a-lifetime experience.
On the surface it may seem as though there has been no change in opinion on whether the Olympics will be good for Britain with the overall measure static at 60%, however on closer inspection there have been some shifts, notably amongst the over 55 age group. This demographic has jumped considerably from 51% to 59%. It seems this optimism was reflected in the Queen’s speech to the International Olympic Committee: “Hosting the London 2012 Games has provided inspiration to our children and communities, whether by motivating them to take up physical activity or encouraging them to demonstrate the Olympic values of excellence, respect and friendship in their daily lives, places of learning and local communities”. Perhaps it is this inspiration and these values which are influencing the positive mind-set of the over 55s.
When asked how the Olympics will actually benefit us, a majority (56%) indicated that it will be the resulting increase in tourism that will have the biggest, beneficial impact. Visit Britain has already predicted that we will see over 30 million additional tourists this year.
Coming in second at 34%, and endorsing the Queen’s speech, Brits believe that more people will be inspired to take up sport. If this is the case, it could bode well for Britain’s prospects at the Rio 2016 Olympics.
Finally, around a third believe that the Olympics will fuel our sense of national identity (33%) and help improve our image around the world (30%), regardless of the recent security fiasco surrounding the event. The London Games, it seems, will enhance Britain’s reputation both domestically and internationally.
It has taken us six months to get here, but now that the Olympics are finally upon us, and we are starting to make plans for the next fortnight, we feel genuinely upbeat about London 2012. Stadium doors have opened, athletes have touched down on British soil and everywhere we turn billboards are rousing our national spirit. It is hard not to get caught up in the mood of optimism sweeping the nation. So, despite the shadow being cast over the country by economic turmoil and an abysmal summer – apart from the current heat wave – the Olympics seem to be providing a welcome antidote.
Watch JWT London Executive Partner Joseph Petyan talk about the Tracker on Sky News below
Click here for June’s Olympic Mood Tracker
Note: JWT surveyed 350 British citizens in July 2012. Regional samples have been weighted to nationally representative.
1. On a scale of 1-10 (where 1=not at all proud and 10=extremely proud) can you tell us how proud you are to be British?
2. How far would you agree that you are excited about the Olympic Games this Summer?
3. How far do you agree that the Olympic Games will be good for Britain?
4. How will the Olympics be good for Britain?
5. Where do you plan to be during the 2012 Olympics?
6. To what extent will you follow the 2012 Olympics?
|Top 5 ways that the Olympics will be good for Britain||
|Tourism will increase as a result||
|More people will be inspired to take up sport||
|We will feel a stronger sense of national identity||
|People around the world will have a more positive image of Britain||
|The Olympics are a valuable investment for Britain||
|Where do you plan to be during the 2012 Olympics?||
|In Britain at home||
|Staying in/visiting London||
|Out of the country/on holiday||
|Somewhere remote, away from it all||
|To what extent will you follow the 2012 Olympics?||
|I will watch the Olympics live on TV||
|I will watch the highlights||
|I will keep up with coverage in the press||
|I will not be following the Olympics||
|I will hear about it from other people||
|I will watch the Olympics but not live e.g. on record, online, on playback||
|I will follow on Facebook/Twitter||
|I will watch clips on YouTube||