ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – A new poll shows the city’s plan to build a soccer stadium is in serious trouble. That poll, commissioned by local publication The Paper, comes just as early voting starts, with the $50 million stadium question as one of the driving issues on the ballot Nov. 2.
“Fifty-nine percent of people who responded to our poll said they were against issuing bonds for this use,” Adrian Carver with The Paper explained.
Of the nearly 800 likely voters polled, 23% said they’ll vote “yes” on a bond for the 10,000 to 12,000-seat stadium proposed for New Mexico’s professional soccer team, and 17% were “undecided.” The poll found that age, gender, and political party were not factors.
“A lot of people believe, I think, younger people were going to carry this proposal over the line and that’s just not the case,” Carver stated. Specifically, the stadium is getting support from only 25% of younger voters, ages 18 to 45, and just slightly more support from voters ages 46-65.
More than three-quarters of Republicans don’t want it, and neither do 47% of Democrats and 67% of Independent voters, according to the poll.
“I wasn’t surprised people are apprehensive, you know, given the tough times of our city, and a lot of confusion over the financing of public works projects,” Rep. Antonio Maestas of Albuquerque added.
“I cannot support the establishment of a stadium at this time,” an Albuquerque man said during a public hearing on the stadium bond this summer.
While some people have argued the city has other spending priorities like public safety and fighting homelessness, Rep. Maestas said this money can only be designated for public works projects.
Meanwhile, with less than a month until the bond election, New Mexico United is pushing to appeal to all groups with another ad blitz, plus canvassing.
“To start knocking on doors and talking neighbor to neighbor,” Carrie Robin Brunder with NM United For All, the group working to pass the bond issue, stated.
In a statement in response to the poll, the mayor’s office said the following:
“Just like with Isotopes Stadium over 20 years ago, the voters will decide if they want to invest in this project to create more affordable opportunities for families and community, all without raising taxes.”
Besides early voting starting Tuesday at one location, absentee ballots are being sent to voters who requested them. Meanwhile, if a New Mexico United stadium is built, an agreement would have to be made between the community, city, and the team.
The mayor signed a resolution requiring a community benefits agreement. The resolution outlines ways the city will address issues in the community surrounding the stadium. The agreement requires a plan for transportation, traffic, affordable housing, and jobs.