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How many people actually want to spend $150 million of city money on land and infrastructure for a D.C. United stadium at Buzzard Point? It’s a question that’s been surprisingly hard to figure out; a January Washington Post poll, which showed around 60 percent opposed to the plan, was criticized for its wording here and elsewhere.
With the team on a fan lobbying blitz and the project blowing through deadlines, a new automated poll conducted by Public Policy Polling suggests that support for the financing plan may be more widespread than the earlier poll suggested.
In the new poll, funded by the D.C. Working Families coalition that launched last year, 49 percent of the 539 likely Democratic primary voters polled supported the city obtaining land for the stadium. Forty-two percent opposed it, and 10 percent weren’t sure.
Here’s the wording of the automated poll conducted on Feb. 4 and 5:
Now I would like your opinion on some current issues. There is a proposal to use up to $150 million in city funds to buy land where a new stadium can be built for the District’s Major League Soccer team, D.C. United. The city would maintain ownership of the property and rent it to the team for $1 per year, while the soccer team would pay to construct the actual stadium. Do you support or oppose this proposal?
Twenty-three percent of the respondents strongly supported the plan, while 26 somewhat supported it. Those who “somewhat” opposed the proposal and “strongly” opposed it were evenly split at 21 percent. The poll had a margin of error of +/- 4.2 percent. (Check the bottom of LL’s post for demographic breakdowns on the stadium.)
Among the mayoral hopefuls, Ward 4 Councilmember Muriel Bowser has said she opposes trading the Reeves Center at 14th and U streets NW for some of the stadium land, while Ward 6 Councilmember Tommy Wells has said any deal needs to include affordable housing.
D.C. Working Families director Delvone Michael says his group’s poll makes clear which direction primary voters are leaning on the stadium. “I think [mayoral candidates] should take away that it’s certainly something that they should support and get behind,” Michael says.
As for when councilmembers will actually see the proposed deal, city administrator Allen Lew said last week that the negotiators are “inching towards” obtaining the parcels of land needed.
Below, demographic breakdowns on stadium support.
Rendering courtesy of the Office of the City Administrator