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Poll Results - St. Pete Voters

Poll results confirm strong St. Petersburg voter opposition to Rays/Hines deal. 



ST. PETERSBURG, FL. June 7, 2024.- Ron Diner of No Home Run today announced the results of a poll of St. Pete voters taken to assess current voter preferences with respect to the proposed Rays/Hines transaction. That transaction, which still requires approval from the St Pete City Council and the Pinellas County Commission if it is to move forward, is a tentative agreement struck between St. Pete municipal officials and a private development entity formed jointly by the Tampa Bay Rays baseball club and the Hines real estate organization of Dallas.


The Rays/Hines entity aims to re-develop the 86-acre Historic Gas Plant site in downtown St Pete, which today is owned by the citizens of St Pete and includes the Tropicana Field baseball stadium. If the deal is approved, the Rays/Hines group intends to build a high-density, mixed-use cluster of residential and commercial buildings, and other community amenities, on the site, including a brand-new stadium for Rays baseball. 


As time has passed, and public awareness of the details of the proposed Rays/Hines deal have become more broadly known, bipartisan grass-roots opposition to the project has gained momentum. Public criticism of the transaction primarily centers around the magnitude of taxpayer subsidies being given to the for-profit Rays/Hines entity for stadium construction; the sale of approximately 40 prime buildable acres in downtown St. Pete to Rays/Hines for a price considered well below market value; and the lack of Rays/Hines revenue-sharing and cost-sharing, and contract terms widely perceived to be unfair to the city and its taxpayers..


Other critics take issue with more fundamental aspects of the Rays/Hines plan such as: why are we putting the new Rays stadium in the same location where baseball has produced poor attendance for over 20 years? And: why is the city giving away so much control and taxpayer wealth to a for-profit developer, instead of simply selling the land for proper market value and using the proceeds for essential city purposes


The poll was conducted by Mason-Dixon Polling & Strategy, a leading national polling organization well known for its voter polls done on behalf of media organizations at election time. The poll was paid for personally by individuals affiliated with No Home Run and other concerned citizens. [No funds were accepted from any individual with a development interest in the Gas Plant site or any other city-owned real estate parcel]. No Home Run is an independent citizen group formed to oppose approval of the Rays/Hines transaction by the St Pete City Council and the Pinellas County Commission.


"No Home Run is not affiliated with any political party," said Mr. Diner. "With respect to the Rays/Hines deal, we believe this is the first broad poll of voters' views completed by a professional polling organization. However, we are not surprised that it confirms the strong voter opposition to Rays/Hines observed in less formal surveys completed in recent months, such as that conducted by the St. Petersburg League of Women Voters."

..

Key Attributes of the Poll: 


  • Mason-Dixon conducted the poll very recently (May 29-31) through live cell and landline telephone interviews. 


  • A total of 625 registered voters in the city of St Petersburg were interviewed. The voters were chosen randomly. Their political party affiliations roughly mirror the city's overall mix: 46% Democrat, 30% Republican and 24% Independent or Other


  • 75% of respondents said they were "very" or "somewhat" familiar with the Rays/Hines proposal, but 64% said they were "not too" or "not at all" familiar with the project's financial details. This proved to be a key distinction. Prior to learning financial details of the project, 51% of respondents supported the Rays/Hines redevelopment concept in general. But once voters learned key financial details, their views flipped to 54% Opposed, 38% Support, and 8% Undecided.

  • These poll findings were precisely as No Home Run anticipated; the more voters know about the economic points of the Rays Hines deal, the more likely they are to oppose it.


  • Party affiliation appears to be correlated with views on the Rays/Hines proposal, with Democrat and Independent voters noticeably more negative on the Rays/Hines plan than Republican voters. Democrat and Independent voters were also more likely to say that taxpayer subsidies to Rays/Hines should not be allowed unless first approved by voters in a referendum


  • Mason-Dixon worked in good faith to design poll questions that did not bias voters' responses to one answer or another. Notably, even though NoHomeRun.com has publicly calculated the cost of the Rays/Hines deal to be approximately $6,000 for every man, woman and child in St Pete over the life of the project, none of the Mason-Dixon polling questions referenced that $6,000 per person statistic. Mr. Diner remarked, "We were fine with that, we don't need a poll to tell us whether voters would be willing to pay $6,000 per person to keep the Rays in St. Petersburg. If that proposal were ever put to voters in a referendum, voters would shoot it down by a landslide."

 

  • 86% of poll respondents said the city should get an updated independent appraisal of the non- baseball acreage proposed to be sold to Rays/Hines. 


  • 79% of poll respondents said the Rays should pay stadium rent at least equal to the property taxes the Rays would pay if they owned the new stadium. 


  • 83% of poll respondents said the Rays should share their revenue streams with the city to offset the large stadium construction subsidies being provided by St Pete taxpayers.


  • 82% of poll respondents said that stadium construction subsidies should not be allowed unless first approved by voters in a local election referendum. 


 

READ THE FULL POLL FROM MASON DIXON:


StPetePollResults
.pdf
Download PDF • 339KB

READ THE MASON DIXON PRESS RELEASE:


Press Release
.pdf
Download PDF • 201KB

For further information regarding questions about this poll of Mason Dixon Polling & Strategy, please email nohomerun2024@gmail.com and we will connect you.


 



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