New poll shows overwhelming opposition to using tax dollars for new Rays stadium, but openness to light rail

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Building a new stadium for the Tampa Bay Rays and constructing a light rail system throughout Pinellas County. They are the two big ticket items on the agenda of Pinellas’ elected officials and politicians, as well as reliable fodder for bloggers and columnists as the community debates if and how to move forward.

A new survey from St. Pete Polls is likely to further stir up this debate.

According to the poll, conducted on April 1, an overwhelming majority of registered Pinellas voters oppose using tax dollars to construct a new stadium for the Rays. 63% of those surveyed oppose using public funds to build a new Rays baseball stadium in Pinellas County, while only 27% support the idea.

Even when asked if they would support using EXISTING bed tax income to build a new Rays baseball stadium, build a new Clearwater Aquarium, or for Gulf Beach Renourishment, only 24% of respondents support dedicating this money to a new Rays stadium. 41% of voters say they would prefer the bed tax money to go to beach renourishment.

While Pinellas voters are opposed to using tax dollars for a new stadium, there are slivers of support for a light rail system in Pinellas. They are evenly split — 47% for and against — on their willingness to pay more in taxes to build a new light rail mass transit system in Pinellas County. By a wider margin — 49% to 42% — voters say they think Pinellas County needs a light rail system.

St. Pete Polls asked one other interesting question in its survey. Asked whether they support the County Commission’s decision to put fluoride back into the county’s water system, 64% said they did.

3812 registered voters were telephoned on April 1. These results were scientifically weighted by political party, race and age.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.