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October 27, 2005

Observer Poll: Nets Stadium Gets Nod From Brooklynites

The NY Observer
by Matthew Schuermann

The NY Observer, WNYC and WCBS commissioned Pace University to conduct a poll of 538 likely voters, which included questions surveying their opinions on the proposed Nets Arena and 16 highrise towers (results on page 21 & 22).

The survey concludes that there is a low level of public awareness, but generally found that respondents were in favor of the project.

Asked outright what they think about the plan, 39 percent of the 538 voters polled said they support it, 23 percent oppose it, and the rest were undecided. Support was even stronger among Brooklynites (50 percent) and black men (59 percent). A set of follow-up questions gave the best arguments in favor (jobs, housing, civic spirit) and against (the large size, a $200 million taxpayer subsidy, use of eminent domain) and then asked respondents to rate their support: 46 percent were somewhat or strongly for it.

Between 30 percent and 36 percent of the public opposed it, depending on how the question was worded.

Asked to comment on the survey:

FCRC Exec. VP Jim Stuckey was pleased, "that people in Brooklyn have obviously been paying attention and understand the concept and the issue."

Assemblywoman Joan Millman recalled when she, "was at a Christmas party in Sheepshead Bay and the question was asked, and everybody was for it. That’s because they don’t have to live with it.”

DDDb's Dan Goldstein noted, "considering that the developer is spending hundreds of thousands of dollars, if not millions, on lobbying and on public relations, including two newspapers—and grassroots activists just can’t match that—the results are pretty good.”


Check out TimesRatnerReport for an analysis of the poll. Norman Oder brings up some good points, including the fact that there was no mention to the respondents that the arena would be the most expensive EVER built.

NoLandGrab: In order to survey how the opinion of respondents might change as they learned more about the project, the sample was broken up into groups to be polled separately on arguments "for" and "against" the project.

Despite what The Observer article claims, respondents were never specifically asked about "eminent domain" or "taking of private property." One of the arguments "against" the project included "evicting residents," however this is not the same thing as eminent domain, the highest profile issue to come out of the US Supreme Court this year.

All in all, the main conclusions that can be drawn from the survey is that most New Yorkers don't care about a project not in their backyard, Forest City Ratner's money has done a great job of framing the public debate with those who do, and that Marty will probably go back to saying that "Brooklynites are for the arena" again.

Posted by lumi at October 27, 2005 8:07 AM