SBD/January 27, 2014/Facilities

Poll Data Indicates Majority Of Residents Oppose Funding For MLS DC United Stadium

DC United continues to struggle for public support for a new stadium
A survey of more than 1,000 residents shows public opinion is "running strongly against" Mayor Vincent Gray’s initiative for financing a new DC United stadium, according to DeBonis & Clement of the WASHINGTON POST. A poll conducted between Jan. 9-12 surveyed 1,003 people and found that six in 10 DC residents "oppose the plan, unveiled by Gray and team officials in July, with the number of those strongly opposed to the deal more than double those who strongly support it." The proposed investment "is less than one-fourth of what the city invested in Nationals Park," but many are "unconvinced that spending on a soccer stadium would be as wise." Public opinion on a city-financed soccer stadium "has not changed appreciably since 2008, when the last serious talks took place about a deal" with United. At that time, 60% of residents "opposed using public funds to finance a soccer facility," with 39% supporting. The new poll shows that 59% oppose the current plan, with 35% in favor. The margin of error is plus or minus 4 percentage points. The survey "was conducted as the Gray administration continues negotiations with the team and the owners of the proposed site," and it also "comes amid a hotly contested mayoral race, with several of Gray’s Democratic primary opponents raising concerns about aspects of the deal." Gray "has shown some sensitivity to the political ramifications of the soccer deal, saying earlier this month that it could be modified to address concerns of the D.C. Council members, who must approve any financing package" (WASHINGTON POST, 1/27).
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