Poll reveals voter sentiment on 49er stadium plan

April 25, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
In about six weeks, Santa Clara voters will decide the fate of the San Francisco 49ers.

ABC7 News teamed up with the San Jose Mercury News to conduct an independent survey to give the Bay Area some insight on what voters are thinking.

Santa Clara residents are taking sides on Measure J.The ballot initiative calls for a $937 million 49er stadium to be built in Santa Clara.

"I'm a 49er fan so I'd like to see it happen, says one undecided voter. "But, not if the taxpayers have to pay for it."

"I played football. I think it's one of the best things that could happen to Santa Clara," says a Measure J supporter.

An ABC7/San Jose Mercury News poll indicates 52 percent of likely voters surveyed support the stadium project with 36 percent saying "no" and 11 percent "undecided." The poll also shows men favor the stadium slightly more than women, younger voters tend to support it more than older voters, and Democrats more than Republicans.

San Jose State University Research Director Melinda Jackson is in charge of conducting the independent poll. She says money and traffic are the key issues for voters.

"So, those do seem to be the two biggest concerns, that it will end up costing taxpayers something down the line, and the increased traffic due to a new stadium," she says.

When asked how worried likely voters are about costs to taxpayers, 31 percent say "very worried," 32 percent "somewhat worried" and another one third are "not at all worried."

The numbers are similar when it comes to concerns about traffic impacts. 35 percent say they are "very worried," 28 percent say "somewhat worried," and 34 percent are "not worried. "

Measure J supporters are financially backed by the 49ers and contend the stadium will generate $249 million in economic benefits.

"We're putting people back to work. Jobs, jobs, jobs," says supporter Lisa Gilmor. "In this economy, this is the one beacon of light that we can all point to and say, 'Yes, this is going to happen.'"

Stadium opponents, however, point to a $114 million direct subsidy and say taxpayers will really be on the hook for another $330 million via the Stadium Authority.

"I went through all the 49er campaign materials and came up with a list of 15 fictional statements including 'no impact on general fund,' says opponent Chris Kolterman. "That's not true and 'no costs to residents,' that's not true."

The survey indicates 60 percent of respondents think the stadium would be good for the local economy. Those results could be due in part because the yes campaign has spent $1.4 million getting out its message versus about $2,000 spent by opponents.

Both sides say they will stay aggressive.

"Once people really start to understand what's in his project, what the details are, they become very supportive," says 49er spokesperson Lisa Lang.

Measure J opponent Bill Baily says, "We're going door-to-door in an effort to meet our neighbors and get the word out on the fiscal, financial issues to Santa Clara taxpayers."

The stadium measure will be decided on June 8 when voters cast their ballots

More Information:
San Francisco 49ers Proposal for a Football Stadium in the City of Santa Clara
Yes On J: Stadium Supporters: Guess who... find out why...
Santa Clara Plays Fair: Problems with Measure J


Load Comments