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Swing dome vote: 20 percent of voters still undecided on saving the Astrodome

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Astrodome the New Dome Experience recommendation Harris County Sports and Convention Corporation
If a new poll is any indication, voters plan to support transforming the Astrodome into the New Dome Experience.  Courtesy of Harris County Sports & Convention Corp.

When Harris Country Commissioners' Court voted to place an item on the November ballot to raise taxes for the purpose of converting the decaying Astrodome into a multi-purpose facility/convention center dubbed "The New Dome Experience," Harris County Judge Ed Emmett noted that voters would be able to decide the landmark's fate. According to a new poll conducted by Rice University's Center for Civic Leadership on behalf of KHOU-TV and KUHF-FM, it appears that a plurality already has.

Of the 650 Harris County residents surveyed by Rice political scientist Bob Stein, 45 percent plan to vote for the $217 million bond issue; 30 percent are opposed and about 20 percent are unsure. If it passes, people with homes worth $200,000 can expect to pay approximately $8 more per year in taxes. 

 While pro-Astrodome forces have established a high-profile campaign, opponents have yet to form anything similar.   

Those results aren't that surprising. While the pro-Astrodome forces have established a high-profile campaign to advocate for their position, opponents have yet to form anything similar. 

Although it would seem to reason that voters old enough to have attended events in the Dome would be more likely to favor the plan, Stein tells KHOU that the poll doesn't show any split between older and younger voters. As Stein explains, "I suspect it's because the proposal that's before the voters that we read them is not to just save the Astrodome, but to convert it into some type of economic development. The justification here is that fixing up the Astrodome won't just cost us money, it will make us money.

A lot can change in six weeks, but, for now, the Astrodome's future looks relatively secure. 

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