Voters in South Florida possibly will decide whether public money will be used to renovate and improve SunLife Stadium.
A poll of 1,000 of those voters has not led to a good outcome for the NFL team that plays there. And, predictably, the Dolphins aren’t impressed.
Via the Miami Herald, team president Mike Dee issued a statement attacking the poll that revealed 73 percent of the likely voters oppose the plan.
“A ginned-up poll paid for by a mystery client that goes out of its way to lead people to a negative position is hardly enough to sway us from our efforts to put this issue in front of voters this spring,” Dee said. “We believe in the people of Miami Dade County, and trust that the voters can and will see the differences in our project from prior ones.
“The fact that the Dolphins will pay a majority of the costs, and that the rest will be paid by tourists and patrons of the stadium — and never by residents of Miami Dade — along with creating thousands of jobs and millions in economic activity for the people of our community, are powerful facts than this cynical, politically-motivated poll conveniently ignores.
“We know that we have to make our case to the elected leaders and the people of Miami Dade. It’s a challenge we readily accept and are confident it will end with the voters approving our plans to create more jobs and more opportunity for the people of Miami Dade County.”
Though Dee doesn’t identify the “mystery client” who paid for the poll, former Eagles owner and current Miami resident Norman Bramann has spoken out against the plan, calling it “welfare for a multi-billionaire.”
According to Marc Caputo of the Herald, there’s no evidence to support Dee’s accusation that a so-called “push poll” was used, and that a poll used by the Dolphins was closer to an effort to lay the foundation for the team’s position before asking the money question. The Dolphins have hired Curtis Anderson to lead the P.R. effort, who helped propel Rick Scott to the office of Governor in Florida. And Anderson’s slogan is this: “We measure public opinion. Then we change it.”
Anderson has more changing to do. Only 59 percent supported the plan as proposed by the team’s poll.
In the end, only one poll matters. At a time when citizens have little or no inclination to provide charity to the champagne-and-caviar set, the reality is that, without the leverage that comes from an actual or implied threat to leave, the Dolphins face an uphill battle.
Frankly, it’s unclear than even an actual or implied threat to leave would matter much in Miami, where the Dolphins have become in recent years an afterthought.