Go to HHH home page.
Smart Politics
 


Will Minnesotans Ever Support Public Financing of a New Vikings Stadium?

Bookmark and Share

On the heels of the controversial, but increasingly popular signing of a future hall of fame quarterback, two consecutive dramatic home victories, and an undefeated 4-0 start to the 2009 season, St. Paul is buzzing again with talk of a new stadium for the Minnesota Vikings.

But will all the good will the Vikings franchise is currently generating among die-hard and casual fans translate into hard currency for a new stadium that Vikings officials want the public to fund to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars?

GOP State Representative Tom Hackbarth (Cedar, District 48A), announced a plan this week that would use revenues from slot machines at existing horse racing facilities to fund the new stadium via constitutional amendment.

In his press release Hackbarth noted, "The Vikings are showing their commitment to building a winning franchise," which may or may not be a nod to the recent signing of once-hated (by Minnesotans) but now celebrated quarterback Brett Favre.

The problems facing a new Vikings stadium in the near future are multifold - even if the state was not facing continued massive deficits that are projected in the coming budget cycles.

The "It's our turn now" mantra put forth by the Vikings organization is an outgrowth of the always-a-bridesmaid-never-a-bride legislative outcomes over the past decade which saw the Vikings on the sidelines as the Minnesota Twins and University of Minnesota Golden Gophers football team saw their stadium deals signed, sealed, and delivered.

But the truth is that while the Vikings may be the most popular franchise in the state, they have had the least public support for a new stadium between the three organizations in the current exodus-from-the-Metrodome era.

For example, back in January 2004, a Pioneer Press / MPR poll found only 33 percent of Minnesotans believed it was "very" or "somewhat" important to come up with a public-private financing plan for a Minnesota Vikings stadium, compared to 37 percent for the Twins and 43 percent for the Gophers. That poll was taken right after a 9-7 season in which the Vikings had improved three games from the prior year.

In May 2006, a Star Tribune poll asked 725 Minnesotans which team needed a new stadium the most, and while a plurality 29 percent volunteered 'none,' the Vikings had the least support at 13 percent, with the Twins at 23 percent and the Gophers at 21 percent. That poll also followed a 9-7 Vikings season.

The second major hurdle - in or out of an economic recession - has been the failure of the Vikings organization to drum up public support for state financing of a new stadium, even with semi-veiled threats that the team might one day leave the state. Over the past several years the public financing option has been D.O.A. as far as the views of Gopher State residents are concerned. In fact, support seems to be declining:

· Back in May 2006, a Star Tribune poll found 73 percent of Minnesotans opposed to using any public money for a new Vikings stadium. Only 25 percent supported the measure.
· An April 2007 SurveyUSA poll also found 73 percent of Gopher State residents in opposition for the use of state tax money to pay for a new Vikings stadium. Just 24 percent were in favor of tax money being used.
· Later that fall, in September 2007, 79 percent opposed the use of state funding to help pay for a $954 million stadium complex on the current Metrodome site. Only 15 percent thought state funding should be used.
· In May 2009, a Rasmussen poll found 75 percent of Minnesotans against using taxpayer money to build a Vikings stadium, with just 12 percent in favor of such a measure.

Interestingly, back in May, the Rasmussen survey also found Minnesota residents by more than a 6:1 margin to be less likely to support the use of tax dollars to build a Vikings stadium if the team signed Brett Favre (44 percent) rather than more likely to support such a measure (7 percent).

Favre's blazing start for the Vikings may have changed some minds - the question is how much do Minnesotans truly bleed purple?

When the team is losing - not so much.

Back in 2001, when the Vikings were en route to their worst record (5-11) since 1984, a Star Tribune poll found only 42 percent of Gopher State residents described themselves to be a "real fan" of the team.

That number is likely on the rise...so long as the Vikes don't lose at St. Louis this Sunday.

Follow Smart Politics on Twitter.

Previous post: Midwest Has Highest Per Capita Rate of Iraq War Fatalities and Casualties
Next post: How Supportive Are Minnesotans of Gay Rights?

2 Comments


  • With the all the calls of "fiscal austerity" which currently is the battle cry of the GOP. I find it curious how the governor could make this an issue at this particular time. More "magic money" bonds perhaps?

    What might work is leveling a "fee" or as the DFL likes to say a "tax" of five dollars per ticket. Which would then be used to pay off the bonds or other financing instruments used to cover the building of the facility. With this approach its a user "fee" popular with the governor and a "tax" which is often characterized as being popular with the DFL. A win win for both sides.....

  • I am sure a new stadium whould be nice,but if a new stadium is built.for 10 games a year the price of tickets must go up as well as novelty and food/drink prices.
    The team has problems selling out the exsiting venue .will they be able to sell out a larger stadium with twice the seating? We have plenty of real problems facing the Minnesota public the building of a huge new pro football stadium is low on this list.

  • Leave a comment


    Remains of the Data

    Plurality-Winning Governors Elected At Century-Long High Water Mark

    The rate of gubernatorial candidates elected without the support of a majority of voters is at its highest level since the 1910s.

    Political Crumbs

    Seeing Red

    Congressman Nick Rahall's failed bid for a 20th term in West Virginia this cycle, combined with a narrow loss by Nick Casey to Alex Mooney in Shelley Moore Capito's open seat, means that West Virginia Democrats will be shut out of the state's U.S. House delegation for the first time in over 90 years. The Republican sweep by two-term incumbent David McKinley in the 1st CD, Mooney in the 2nd, and Evan Jenkins over Rahall in the 3rd marks the first time the GOP has held all seats in the chamber from West Virginia since the Election of 1920. During the 67th Congress (1921-1923) all six seats from the state were controlled by the GOP. Since the Election of 1922, Democrats have won 76 percent of all U.S. House elections in the Mountain State - capturing 172 seats compared to 54 for the GOP.


    Home Field Advantage?

    When the 114th Congress convenes in a few days, Maine will be represented by one home-grown U.S. Representative: Waterville-born Republican Bruce Poliquin. With the departure of Millinocket-born Mike Michaud, who launched a failed gubernatorial bid, the Pine Tree State was poised to send a House delegation to D.C. without any Maine-born members for the first time since 1821. Three-term U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree (born in Minnesota) coasted to reelection as expected, however Poliquin edged Kentucky-born Emily Cain by 5.3 points to keep the streak alive. Since 1876, a total of 208 of the 222 candidates elected to the nation's lower legislative chamber from the state have been born in Maine, or 94 percent.


    more POLITICAL CRUMBS

    Humphrey School Sites
    CSPG
    Humphrey New Media Hub

    Issues />

<div id=
    Abortion
    Afghanistan
    Budget and taxes
    Campaign finances
    Crime and punishment
    Economy and jobs
    Education
    Energy
    Environment
    Foreign affairs
    Gender
    Health
    Housing
    Ideology
    Immigration
    Iraq
    Media
    Military
    Partisanship
    Race and ethnicity
    Reapportionment
    Redistricting
    Religion
    Sexuality
    Sports
    Terrorism
    Third parties
    Transportation
    Voting