Poll: St. Pete Voters Flip on Gas Plant Deal When They Get Numbers

ST. PETERSBURG -- A week before City Council's first public hearing on the Rays-Hines deal to redevelop the Gas Plant site and build a new ballpark, a new poll finds a majority of St. Petersburg voters lean against it when they find out specifics.

The group No Home Run, led by local former business executives, hired polling firm Mason Dixon to survey 625 registered voters in St. Petersburg. They first asked the voters whether they are aware of the deal, then what they thought of it. That stage showed 51 percent support, which flipped to 54 percent opposition after the pollster informed voters of "key financial details." The group's Ron Diner says Mason Dixon is a professional and trusted polling organization and insists the poll wasn't conducted as a "push poll."

In a news release, No Home Run also provided these bullet points from the poll:

  • 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.


  • 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. 

Meantime, supporters spoke in favor of the deal during public comment at Thursday's (6) city council meeting, including praise for work to include jobs, affordable housing and business for minority contractors.

City council will hold its first hearing on the Rays-Hines deal June 13th, with a final vote July 11th.

Photo: Tampa Bay Rays

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