Pro-Vikings stadium group releases pro-stadium poll, sparking Twitter controversy
Do Minnesotans really support a new Vikings stadium? Depends how you ask the question.
Today, a pro-stadium group named Home Field Advantage released an opinion poll showing that 61 percent of Minnesotans support construction of a new Vikings stadium at the Metrodome site.
72 percent of 1,000 Minnesotans polled say the new stadium is "somewhat or very important" to keeping the Vikings in Minnesota. 30 percent were opposed and nine percent were undecided.
Though the poll was conducted by national polling firm Mason-Dixon, it immediately sparked an interesting Twitter debate pitting those who believe the results have merit versus those who believe it was a "push poll."
Here's how it began:
Stadium backers tout poll showing 61 percent of Minnesotans support stadium plan.-- PiPress politics (@PolAnimal) March 23, 2012
Moments later, in response to a tweet from Fox 9's Jeff Goldberg, MinnPost's David Brauer questioned the poll's merits:
@jgoldbergfox9 No truly independent pollster - none - would've worded stadium Q the way Mason-Dixon did. This is p.r. pure/simple.-- David Brauer (@dbrauer) March 23, 2012
Here's how Mason-Dixon actually worded the question:
At this point, the only meaningful poll is one looking at the opinions of the Minneapolis City Council and state legislature.
QUESTION: Let's assume a new Vikings stadium proposal at the existing Metrodome site included the following four requirements:
-- The Vikings would fund over 50% of the stadium's construction and operating costs over the life of their lease.
-- A majority of the public construction would come from gambling dollars, with no new tax increases or use of general-revenue funds.
--The City of Minneapolis contribution would use existing city hospitality taxes and would not raise any new taxes.
-- Even though the Vikings would fund over 50% of the overall costs, the public would own the new stadium and it would be available for various public uses for at least 300 days out of the year.
Based on that information, would you support or oppose a stadium financing proposal that used gambling and existing revenues along with a major contribution by the Vikings?
Brauer, specifically, took issue with the fact Mason-Dixon's question didn't mention that the state's general fund will be used as a funding source if proceeds from electronic pull-tabs don't meet projections. The question also omitted to mention that the Minneapolis hospitality tax would be repurposed to fund the stadium for the next 30 years.
In response, Fox 9's Seth Kaplan suggested it's impossible to word a poll question in a way that doesn't omit any relevant details:
@dbrauer But, you can't ask a question (with bullet points) where 97% of the people don't even understand those things you mentioned.-- Seth Kaplan (@Seth_Kaplan) March 23, 2012
Kaplan later tweeted : "It would be impossible to poll the public on many issues, if you went into the intricacies of every proposal."
Brauer, however, stuck to his guns:
Brauer and Kaplan might have to agree to disagree, but perhaps they'd both nod their heads in response to a point made later by City Pages editor Kevin Hoffman:
The Twitter debate on the #Vikings stadium poll is more informative and interesting than any news articles that will be written about it.-- Kevin Hoffman (@panopticon13) March 23, 2012
However you look at it, the fact of the matter is Mason-Dixon didn't poll the two sets of Minnesotans who will ultimately decide whether the Vikings get a new stadium this legislative session or not: the Minneapolis City Council and state legislature.
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