A slight majority of Salt Lake City residents do not want the Utah State Prison relocated to the northwest quadrant of the city near the airport.
A new UtahPolicy.com survey finds 55% of residents in the city oppose moving the prison to that location. About a third favor moving the facility while 13% say they don't know.
Moving the prison has been a source of controversy since the legislature started the process during the 2014 session. The location near Salt Lake City International Airport was near the top of the original list of five finalists, but the Prison Relocation Commission has revised their list to come up with 17 potential sites. The current top site according to the commission is in Utah County.
The prison move has been a major topic in the Salt Lake City Mayoral race. A provision slipped into legislation at the end of the 2015 session would allow the city that ultimately becomes the new site for the prison to raise sales taxes. Current Mayor Ralph Becker has wanted to do just that do help pay for the strain put on city services by people who work in Salt Lake but don't live there. Becker's opponents, Jackie Biskupski, and Luke Garrott have attacked Becker on that issue, insinuating he was behind the provision added to the bill. Becker denies that.
The prison location could be a potent political issue when residents go to the polls. Opposition to relocating the facility cuts across most political lines. Republicans oppose moving the prison to the airport location by a 49-37% margin. Democrats really hate the idea of moving the prison there with 60% in opposition. 52% of independent voters also oppose the airport site.
The survey was conducted by Dan Jones and Associates from April 9-15, 2015. 366 registered Salt Lake City voters were contacted via telephone and online methods. It has a margin of error of +/- 5.12%.