As the future of the Tampa Bay Rays in Saint Petersburg is discussed during a Friday meeting between Mayor Bill Foster and Rays principal owner Stuart Sternberg, a new poll shows Tampa voters do not want to spend tax dollars to pay for a new stadium for the team were it to move across the Bay.
Local polling operation St. Pete Polls conducted a survey (paid for by this blog) of Tampa voters to gauge their willingness to devote public money toward a new stadium. Voters' opinion of Mayor Bob Buckhorn and his handling of the Tampa Bay Rays situation was also included in the survey.
Buckhorn comes in a with a nice approval rating of 58% favorable/18% unfavorable. These are generally good numbers, although they are not the kind of numbers Jacksonville Mayor Alvin Brown is enjoying, according to the latest polling from that city. Nor are Buckhorn's numbers the sky-high numbers held by his predecessor, Pam Iorio. Actually, Buckhorn's favorability rating comes in just slightly higher than St. Petersburg Mayor Bill Foster, who has to deal with more negative press coverage than his counterpart in Tampa.
As for Buckhorn's handling of the Rays' dilemma, 45 percent of voters support Hizzoner's go-slow-but-be-ready approach. Twenty-one percent of Tampa voters disagree with this approach, while just over a third of respondents were unsure.
The difficulty for Buckhorn, County Commissioner Ken Hagan or any other Hillsborough pol eager to swipe the Rays from St. Pete is voters' unwillingness to spend tax dollars on a new stadium for the team.
Forty-five percent of Tampa voters say they are opposed to spending public funds for a new baseball stadium for the Tampa Bay Rays. Of course, forty-three percent say they are willing to do so, but that number will likely drop once a price tag is attached to any prospective stadium.