New independent poll shows overwhelming support for Rays stadium deal
Image via Rays/Hines

Rays Hines rendering
The results are in stark contrast to previous polls conducted with questionable methodology.

A new survey shows overwhelming support for the Tampa Bay Rays stadium deal, with limited opposition.

The poll, conducted by SEA Polling among 400 likely St. Pete voters, found that 57% of respondents either strongly or somewhat support the deal, while only 36% strongly or somewhat oppose the deal. Friends of Gina Driscoll, the political committee supporting City Council member Gina Driscoll, commissioned the survey.

The overall poll asked several questions, including about residents’ top issues facing the city, their preferences in local municipal elections and whether they thought the city was heading in the right direction. 

But the Rays stadium question jumps out because it stands in contrast to some previous polls pushed by opponents to the deal who are pushing city leaders to work with the Rays and developer Hines to establish better terms for the city and its taxpayers.

Those polls, as we have reported before, were flawed.

One League of Women Voters survey found that nearly 69% of respondents strongly agree that “the city and county should negotiate a better deal than the current term sheet that costs taxpayers $1.9 billion.” Another nearly 11% agreed.

But it offered a leading question, and the poll itself was unscientific. It was sent to residents via SurveyMonkey, which does not have safeguards in place to ensure responses are coming from the intended recipients. Further, it was sent to more than 30,000 people, with fewer than 800 answering.

Another survey, taken last month, could easily be summed up as a push poll. As I wrote then, the poll was a classic example of toeing the line between a legitimate survey and a loathed push poll. In the only part of the survey that passes a salt shaker test, respondents were first asked how familiar they are with the redevelopment proposal that includes “building new apartments, condominiums and offices … and the construction of a new baseball stadium for the Tampa Bay Rays” before being asked whether they support or oppose the plan.

Under that question, 51% of respondents indicated they supported the plan, with only 36% in opposition. That means that even with the 13% of respondents who indicated they were undecided, the opposition would still be in the minority.

But that’s when it got suspect. It provided respondents with several additional “details” about the proposal that presented only the opposition’s talking points. It didn’t offer any points supporting the project, an addition that would have given the poll some credibility. As a result, and in a surprise to exactly no one, the sentiment in the poll changed.

This latest poll also adds at least some level of corroboration to a previous survey obtained by Florida Politics, which found that the majority of voters in St. Pete want the Rays stadium deal and would vote against officials who reject it.

That poll found that 65% of respondents either strongly or somewhat favor the deal, while 24% are in opposition. Meanwhile, 65% of respondents — the same number who support the deal according to that survey — said if an official voted against the proposal, they would be less likely to vote for them in subsequent elections.

The St. Pete City Council is expected to vote on the plan on July 18.

As they have been for months, they’ll likely be bombarded with naysayers bent on killing this deal. And those naysayers will be armed with shady poll results to try to make their case.

The group will also likely point to a Tampa Bay Times op-ed masquerading as news under the headline, “One thing St. Petersburg Democrats, GOP agree on: No to Rays stadium deal.” 

The article was based on a random sampling of members of each major political party, some of them on the fringes, including a straw poll at a St. Petersburg Republican Club town hall in which 26 people said they opposed the deal. That was only 10 more than said they supported it, and there’s no way to know how many of the 26 opposed were actually Republicans since it was open to the public. To be clear, there are nearly 237,000 Republican voters in Pinellas County, so those 26 represent just 0.0001% of the GOP electorate.

The Democratic side of the opposition was even more laughable. The Times article was based on a meeting last October in which 15 people showed up. The small group agreed on a resolution opposing the project. It’s worth noting that the resolution wasn’t even sanctioned by the party. The Pinellas Democratic Party’s bylaws directly prohibit anyone but its chair from speaking on behalf of the local party, including those who are leaders in affiliated clubs.

The point of rehashing this isn’t necessarily to persuade anyone to change their mind. Clearly, I have my opinion on the matter. Rather, it’s to implore residents to consider the information they are being fed. Two polls appear to be far more scientific than those pushed by opponents to the deal, and they both show broad support.

There is clearly opposition, and those opponents undoubtedly have the city and its residents’ best interests in mind. However, data widely refute the idea that opposition is widespread.

At the end of the day, this may very well be our last and best chance at not only keeping the Rays in St. Pete but also having a development partner with the resources and experience needed to tackle a project of this size in a cohesive way.

Remember, the plan includes more than a baseball stadium — it also includes affordable housing, a new African American history museum, parks space, hotels, retail, offices, and more.

Peter Schorsch

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises Media and is the publisher of, INFLUENCE Magazine, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. Previous to his publishing efforts, Peter was a political consultant to dozens of congressional and state campaigns, as well as several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella. Follow Peter on Twitter @PeterSchorschFL.


  • rbruce

    July 3, 2024 at 4:38 pm

    Those who support the deal can pay for it. Need to stop the Rays extorting taxpayer money.

  • Ron

    July 3, 2024 at 9:36 pm

    Considering how much the rest of Pinellas County north of St. Pete is going to have to kick into this dodgy deal, the team ought to be renamed the Clearwater Rays.

  • Gabriel

    July 4, 2024 at 12:57 am

    Working part-time, I earn more than $13,000 per month. I kept hearing how much money people could make online, so I decided to look into it. Well, it was all true, and it completely altered my life… This is what I do; you can learn more about it by visiting the website listed below.

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  • Kari

    July 4, 2024 at 7:01 pm

    Where is this survey commissioned by Friends of Gina Driscoll that is referenced in this article? There is no link included. The link should be included so the public can see the survey.

  • Brad

    July 4, 2024 at 10:33 pm

    This article provides sources for other polls and information. Where is the link/data from the poll that provides these startling results?!

  • Steven

    July 9, 2024 at 7:29 pm

    Get the thing built

  • rick whitaker

    July 9, 2024 at 7:58 pm

    an independent poll, isn’t that an oxymoron ?

Comments are closed.


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