Using public dollars to build low-water dams in the Arkansas River and to help attract job-producing companies to town proposals that failed in a countywide vote last year are supported by a majority of Tulsans, according to a recent Oklahoma Poll.
The poll, conducted Nov. 1-5 by SoonerPoll, found 57.5 percent of Tulsans support the use of public funds to build the dams and 74.7 percent support offering financial incentives to companies that would bring a substantial number of jobs to Tulsa.
“I just think it would be cool to have water in the river,” said Donna Burch, the mother of two young adults.
Burch said the city has a lot to offer and that the financial incentives would help keep the next generation of workers in town.
The incentives “would provide choices” for young people, Burch said.
Last year’s $748.8 million Vision2 sales-tax package included two propositions, both of which failed.
Proposition 1 included the establishment of a deal-closing fund for leaders to help lure new firms and grow existing area businesses. Proposition 2 would have allocated approximately $70 million for low-water dams.
The SoonerPoll results, meanwhile, show strong support from Tulsans of all ages, incomes and political persuasions for both the dams and the financial incentives.
Nearly 55 percent of Democrats and 60 percent of Republicans support public funding of the dams, according to the poll, with 71 percent of self-described liberal and 53 percent of self-described conservatives in favor of the funding. A majority of respondents in every age group said they would support public funding of the project. The strongest support came from 18- to 44-year-old respondents, nearly 70 percent of whom support constructing the dams with public funds.
“I just think that the river, it could be a lovely place for people in Tulsa to be if it is a place where I can hang out with my friend, or I can take a walk and it looks nice,” said Gretchen Phillips.
Phillips, 36, has two children, ages 3 and 8. She said she and her children play at the QuikTrip park at 41st Street and Riverside Drive.
About the Oklahoma Poll
The poll of 401 likely voters was conducted November 1-5 by SoonerPoll.com, using a random digit-dialing technique that included cellphone and landline telephone numbers. Results were weighted by gender, age and party. The poll was sponsored by the Tulsa World. The margin of error is plus or minus 4.9 percentage points.
This poll conforms to the Standards of Disclosure of the National Council on Public Polls. A complete description of the methodology can be found here.