In the Spotlight

News & Features
Go to Session 2004
DocumentSession 2004
DocumentFinance and taxes
DocumentHealth Care
DocumentPublic Safety
DocumentSocial Issues
DocumentSocial Services
DocumentStadium Issues
More from MPR
Respond to this story

DocumentE-mail this pageDocumentPrint this page
MPR Poll: Minnesotans not warming to stadium plans
Larger view
According to the poll, most Minnesotans don't think stadium planning should be on the front burner at the Capitol. (MPR Graphic/Ben Tesch)
A new Minnesota Public Radio - St. Paul Pioneer Press poll suggests a majority of Minnesotans think the state Legislature should not make it a priority to come up with taxpayer financing plans for new Vikings, Twins, and Gophers stadiums. The poll's findings are in keeping with numerous previous surveys on the stadium debate. Groups on the both extremes of the political spectrum say lawmakers should pay attention to their constituents and concentrate on issues other than sports.

St. Paul, Minn. — Like most Minnesotans, according the latest poll, Mary Feldewerd thinks state lawmakers have more important things to do than come up with plans to build sports stadiums.

Feldewerd, who lives in central Minnesota outside of the town of Holdingford, says there much more pressing needs. She says if the sports teams want new stadiums, they ought to pay for them.

Larger view
Image "What part of 'no' don't you understand?"

"The funding that we need more is in schools in stuff and they're being cut drastically every single year. I don't think it should be stuck into the sports," she said.

Feldewerd was among more than 600 registered voters interviewed by Mason-Dixon last week about the stadium debate and other issues.

The poll found more than six out of 10 Minnesotans think it is not too important or not at all important for the Legislature to come up with a taxpayer backed financing plan for a Vikings or Twins stadium. 52 percent said the same about a Gopher football stadium.

Only 4 percent of the respondents says the state should give any money to a stadium project. Although 46 percent say they would support the state lending money to a team.

Poll respondent Norma Weinzierl is in the minority. From her northern Minnesota home in Pequot Lakes, Weinzierl says she's all for taxpayer stadium financing and she's convinced not helping the Twins and the Vikings would be a big mistake.

"It's good for the state and I don't think that people realize how much value and even monetarily this is to the state so we are definitely in favor of it," Weinzierl said.

Larger view
Image "No" to stadiums

Weinzierl thinks expanding gambling would be a good way to pay for stadiums and she's not alone. The poll found Minnesotans evenly split on that question.

More than anything, what stands out about the poll to political groups -- conservative and liberal alike -- is the finding once again that most Minnesotans don't think stadium planning should be on the front burner at the Capitol.

"The first question that pops into my mind is, what part of 'no' don't you understand?" said David Strom, with the Taxpayers League of Minnesota, the group that was behind the no-new-taxes pledge, that helped propel Gov. Pawlenty into office.

"The taxpayers have been very clear -- a year ago, five years ago, even 10 years ago. We've had this discussion again and again and again. The taxpayers have been very clear that they don't want to be putting dollars, they're own dollars, into subsidizing professional sports," he said.

At the other end of the political spectrum, the Green Party is just as frustrated with the stadium debate.

St. Paul Green Party Stadium Committee Chairman James Paist says lawmakers should be concentrating on issues such as affordable housing and health care not sports stadiums.

"People need to look at the time and energy that these lawmakers are spending on sports entertainment each legislative session instead of spending that type of time and creativity on finding solutions to serious social issues," Paist said.

The Minnesota Vikings say they are not surprised by the latest poll results. The Vikings maintain the statistics are rooted in frustration among the public over the prolonged stadium debate. The Twins did not return telephone calls soliciting comment about the poll.

News Headlines
Related Subjects