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Miami Dolphins chief trashes "ginned up" poll showing stadium plan is highly unpopular, toxic


A written statement from Miami Dolphins President and CEO Mike Dee on today's poll showing about 73 percent of likely Miami-Dade voters don't like the club's tax-subsidy 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. 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."

One note: There's no evidence that this was a so-called "push poll" that, in Dee's words, "goes out of its way to lead people to a negative position." Indeed, it described one of the sales-tax breaks the Dolphins seek as a "rebate" when the state program can act like a subsidy.

Here's the question pollster Dario Moreno said he asked:

The Dolphins are asking for a one-cent increase in the "bed tax" in Miami-Dade County, as well as a $3-million-a-year rebate in sales tax revenue generated by goods and services at Sun Life Stadium. Stephen Ross, the owner of the Dolphins, has pledged to pay for at least half of the $400 million renovations himself, meaning the team is asking for approximately $199 million in public funding. Do you support or oppose this plan?

And there's an irony as well: The Dolphins shared a portion of their own poll, but it was more of a push poll that Moreno's. That is, it message-tested, which all campaigns have to do, by asking a series of questions of voters to figure out how popular an item is or how to make it popular. The survey, conducted by a group called OnMessage Sports, that they said showed 59 percent approved of the plan and only 33 percent disapproved after they were "informed." The poll's crosstabs were not shared with The Miami Herald, unlike Moreno's survey.