BHI State of the Household Survey Winter 98

Contact: Frank Conte
Director of Communications
617-573-8050

Survey: Voters oppose public funds for Patriots, Red Sox

Boston, February 2, 1998 - A majority of Massachusetts voters oppose the use of public funds to keep the New England Patriots and the Boston Red Sox in Massachusetts, according to a new statewide survey. The survey, conducted by the Beacon Hill Institute at Suffolk University, suggests that voters would oppose a proposal under consideration by the Massachusetts State Senate to fund “infrastructure improvements” aimed at keeping the Patriots in Massachusetts.

Fifty-five percent (55%) of respondents said they opposed the use of public funds to keep the Patriots in Massachusetts; 34% favored the use of public funds. Fifty-eight (58%) said they opposed the use of public funds to keep the Red Sox in Massachusetts; 33% favored the use of public funds. The rest were undecided.

“This survey suggests that voters oppose the use of public funds for keeping professional sports teams in the state, no matter how the funds are spent or how their expenditures are justified,” said David Tuerck, executive director of the Beacon Hill Institute.

The Massachusetts Senate is reportedly considering a proposal called “tax incremental financing” that would use state income taxes generated by players' salaries to justify state-funded infrastructure improvements to Foxboro stadium. Architects of the proposal argue that a recent TV contract will make it possible for the state to collect more in income taxes from the players and owners, provided the state is able to keep the team from leaving.

Tuerck said that this argument apparently will not win voter support. “It appears that voters are opposed to public subsidies for professional sports teams. The message is clear: If the Patriots or Rex Sox want to play in Massachusetts, they'll have to do it without taxing the taxpayers even more.”

Research shows that public subsidies to sports teams usually fall short of delivering their promised benefits. “Massachusetts voters appear to realize that these subsidies represent a money loser for taxpayers,” said Tuerck.

The survey showed consistent results across most demographic groups. Exceptions were young voters and voters with a high school education, who favored spending public funds on sports teams. The survey of 400 registered voters was conducted January 11-13, 1998 and has a margin of error of 4%.

The Beacon Hill Institute at Suffolk University in Boston applies state-of-the-art economic methods to the analysis of current public policy issues.

 


Question: Do you favor or oppose the use of public funds to keep the New England Patriots football team in Massachusetts?



  FAVOR OPPOSE DON'T KNOW TOTAL
ALL RESPONDENTS 34% 55% 10% 400
ANCESTRY        
African-American 21% 56% 23% 11
Asian-American   100%   2
Hispanic 32% 68%   8
Euro-American 33% 57% 10% 306
else 44% 46% 11% 64
don't know 46% 38% 16% 9
AGE        
18-24 51% 45% 4% 38
25-34 33% 57% 10% 63
35-44 38% 48% 14% 87
45-54 34% 57% 9% 75
55-64 25% 70% 5% 51
65 & over 30% 56% 15% 78
refused 38% 50% 13% 8
YEARS SCHOOL        
Less than High School 22% 60% 18% 17
High School 44% 41% 15% 97
Associates Degree 35% 64% 2% 27
Some College 40% 50% 10% 96
College Grad 21% 78% 1% 102
Post Grad 35% 43% 22% 58
Refused     100% 1
FAMILY INCOME        
LT 15k 39% 44% 17% 36
$15k-$30k 41% 49% 10% 47
$30K-$50k 30% 58% 12% 113
$50k-$75k 38% 61% 2% 67
$75k-$100k 41% 50% 9% 41
over$100k 32% 59% 10% 31
don't know 73% 6% 20% 11
refused 22% 66% 12% 55

Question: Do you favor or oppose the use of public funds to keep the Boston Red Sox baseball team in Massachusetts?


  Favor Oppose Don't know TOTAL
ALL RESPONDENTS 33 58 9 400
GENDER        
Male 34 60 6 201
Female 32 56 12 199
ANCESTORS        
African-American 14 70 16 11
Asian-American 0 100 0 2
Hispanic 32 68 0 8
Euro-American 31 60 9 306
else 46 46 8 64
don't know 46 34 20 9
AGE        
18-24 55 41 4 38
25-34 32 57 11 63
35-44 38 50 12 87
45-54 30 62 7 75
55-64 20 76 4 51
65 & over 28 61 11 78
refused 38 50 13 8
YEARS SCHOOL        
Less than High School 24 65 11 17
High School 45 43 12 97
Associates Degree 29 70 2 27
Some College 37 54 10 96
College Grad 21 79 0 102
Post Grad 34 48 19 58
Refused 0 0 100 1
FAMILY INCOME        
Less than $15k 30 49 20 36
$15-$30 42 49 9 47
$30-$50 K 31 60 9 113
$50-$75K 37 62 1 67
$75-$100K 41 53 6 41
over $100K 23 67 10 31
don't know 34 52 14 11
refused 25 63 12 55

 

This survey was conducted for the Beacon Hill Institute under the supervision of Dr. John Blydenburgh and with the assistance of Commonwealth Consulting. The survey of 400 Massachusetts residents has a margin of error of 4%. Due to rounding, numbers may not add up to 100.

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Posted: 2/2/98
Format revied on 02-Jul-2003 2:46 PM

Email: fconte@beaconhill.org

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