Denver opposes Amazon HQ2 more than other bidding cities (but still wants it), according to new poll

The only competing city with a lower percentage of strong support is Denver’s compatriot in saying “hell no” to the Olympics: Boston.

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Metro Denver Economic Development Corporation Vice President Sam Bailey speaks at a meeting on Denver's bid for Amazon HQ2 at the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce, Nov. 16, 2017. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)  amazon; hq2; development; kevinjbeaty; denver; denverite; colorado;

Metro Denver Economic Development Corporation Vice President Sam Bailey speaks at a meeting on Denver's bid for Amazon HQ2 at the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce, Nov. 16, 2017. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

The latest poll results are in and Denverites are still the least keen on Amazon building its second north American headquarters in their city.

A survey by the Elon University Poll in partnership with The Business Journals released Wednesday found that outright opposition is higher in Denver than in any of the other 15 competing cities — at 16 percent.

It also found that only 35 percent of those polled in Denver “strongly support” Amazon HQ2. The only competing city with a lower percentage of strong support is Denver’s compatriot in saying “hell no” to the Olympics: Boston (34 percent).

Conducted March 30 through April 3, The survey covered 7,397 adult residents from the 19 U.S. finalist locations in 16 metro areas.

In Denver, 382 people responded. They’re divided 50-50 between male and female. Sixty-one percent are age 18-49 and 39 percent are 50 or older. Sixty-five percent are white, 23 percent are Hispanic, 5 percent are black and 7 percent identified as “other.” Thirty-six percent have an annual household income of less than $50,000, 32 percent are in the $50,000 to $99,900 range and 32 percent bring in more than $100,000. All respondents have at least a bachelor’s degree.

Here are the top line results for Denver:

  • Strongly support: 35
  • Somewhat support: 32
  • Neither support nor oppose: 17
  • Somewhat oppose: 9
  • Strongly oppose: 7

In all, that’s 67 percent in support of HQ2, 16 percent against it and 17 percent who are indifferent. Based on those results — which came from a very small percentage of the population — Denver is actually in favor of an Amazon headquarters.

Still, Denver wants it least. Boston may have the lowest percentage of strong support, but when you add those who said they “somewhat support” it, support among the 386 respondents is at 72 percent.

And while a majority of responding Denverites are in favor, those numbers still raise some flags for decision-makers.

“The balance between cheerleaders and opponents is key to how a major change is received within a community. While a majority in all of the HQ2 finalist regions support Amazon moving to town, some areas had more cheerleaders and fewer opponents,” Jason Husser, director of the Elon Poll and assistant professor of political science, said in the report. “Our results suggest Amazon should expect Pittsburgh, Atlanta and Indianapolis to be particularly rich with advocates. Conversely, executives should have at least some reason for pause about the potential for opposition groups emerging in Austin and Denver.”

This round of numbers are somewhat different from the CNBC/SurveyMonkey Small Business Survey released in December of last year. In that poll, 48 percent respondents in the Denver metro area said landing HQ2 would be a good thing. Seventeen percent said it would “definitely not” be a good thing.

It may be worth noting that 15 percent of Denver respondents in the Elon/Business Journal survey said they hadn’t heard of HQ2. Overall, it appears Denver is at about the middle of the pack on how much it’s heard about HQ2.

A few other interesting numbers that came out of the survey:

  • Denver respondents are the second-most convinced that housing prices would go up. Seventy percent they thought average housing prices would increase. In Austin, 74 percent said the same.
  • Denver and Austin tied for people thinking overall cost of living would increase. Sixty-one percent in each city said they thought the cost of living would go up. They were far more concerned than most other cities. The next highest percentage was 53 in Washington, D.C.
  • When asked, “If Amazon locates its headquarters in your area, do you plan to explore job opportunities there?” Denver had far and away the lowest percent — 39 — of respondents say yes. The next lowest was Columbus, Ohio, at 45 percent.
  • When asked if it would be a good thing if the region became more conservative, 65 percent of Denver respondents said yes. Asked the same question about liberal politics, 44 percent said yes.

I’m not entirely sure what to make of those last political stats, so you should explore the results for yourself to examine that and other interesting facets.

Topics

Amazon HQ2, children

Organizations

Amazon