Election Day is coming closer, but recent polling does not show a clear consensus on the fate of a proposed retractable-roof ballpark for the Texas Rangers.
A poll conducted by WFAA and the Star-Telegram shows an extremely close campaign. Proponents and opponents of the plan each came in at 42%, with a remaining 16% of voters being listed as undecided.
During the campaign process, supporters of the proposal have cited the Rangers’ previous talks with Dallas as evidence of a potential move from Arlington. It was confirmed recently that the Rangers and Dallas officials engaged in some ballpark discussions, but doubts have arisen as to whether Dallas would ever be able to afford the plan. Some, including Arlington mayor Jeff Williams, have countered by saying that Dallas could be in a better position to raise private funds to make up for any gaps, and that the retractable-roof referendum plan nixes any possibility of a bidding war between the two cities.
Opponents, meanwhile, have said that the reports linking the Rangers to Dallas do not justify the ballpark and have questioned the need for a new facility. The funding plan for the ballpark calls for Arlington to contribute $500 million, which would be generated by extending three taxes–a half-cent sales tax, 2% room tax, and 5% tax on car rentals–that have been used to pay for the Dallas Cowboys’ AT&T Stadium.
One consensus from the poll was that Arlington voters view keeping the Rangers as important, with 70% expressing some level of support for keeping the team. However, 51% of voters also said that they do think not necessarily believe the team will move if the ballpark is not approved. More from the Star-Telegram:
Allan Saxe, a political science professor at the University of Texas at Arlington, said the WFAA/Star-Telegram poll shows that citizens simply don’t believe the team will leave if the deal falls through.
One factor fueling the “no vote” may be the idea of any city or state getting involved in a financial deal that appears to be making “already wealthy people wealthy,” Saxe said.
“I think that cuts through a lot of this,” Saxe said.
But losing the Rangers would be a “serious financial and psychological blow to the stomach,” Saxe said. “I still think it deserves a ‘yes’ vote and I’m very surprised it is this close.”
Election Day is just a little more than three weeks away. It is safe to say that, in the meantime, the efforts of both campaigns to pitch their cases will only intensify.
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