Poll: Nearly Half of Utahns Support Spending State Money on Fairpark Arena

Utah State FairparkUtahns are split over whether it is a good idea to spend $10 million of taxpayer funds to build a new stadium at the Utah State Fairpark, a new UtahPolicy poll shows.

In July, with very little notice, the Legislature unanimously approved the expenditure, which will be matched by $3 million from the LDS Church, $2 million from Salt Lake County and $1 million from Salt Lake City, the rest from private donations, to build a 10,000-seat, open-air stadium to host the Days of ’47 Rodeo and other events.

Thus, the state will own a $17 million stadium for a $10 million investment.

Still, there are Utahns who are not ready to get on that horse – even though the project has been approved by their elected officials.

Jones finds:

  • 47 percent of Utahns “strongly” or “somewhat” support the $10 million expenditure by the state.
  • 36 percent oppose the expenditure.
  • And 17 percent “don’t know.”

The deal was put together quickly because the Larry H. Miller group is remodeling the Jazz arena and the rodeo won’t have its traditional home next July for the traditional rodeo.

The LDS Church supports the Days of ’47 events – a celebration of Mormons coming into the Salt Lake Valley in 1847 – but does not own the celebrations directly.


The fairgrounds, long a financial burden on the state, is in Democratic west side Salt Lake City.

But as seen by the legislative vote, support for the fairgrounds is bipartisan.

Jones finds support is evenly split along partisan lines:

  • Utah Republicans support the tax spending, 48-32 percent.
  • Democrats support it, 47-39 percent.
  • While political independents approve, 45-39 percent.

Most likely because they know their church leaders are financially supporting the new stadium with $3 million of church funds, those who told Jones they are “very active” Mormons support the state spending, 51-30 percent.

Jones polled 858 adults from July 18 to Aug. 4. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.34 percent.