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Austin to Amazon: Don’t move here

Poll finds majority of residents opposed to luring headquarters

Amazon’s world headquarters in Seattle, Wash.
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It’s probably not news to many people who live in Austin, but a recent poll has confirmed it: We’re not that psyched about Amazon HQ2. For the uninitiated/out of the loop: That would be the internet behemoth’s much-hyped second headquarters, for which it graciously took bids on where to build from hundreds of North American cities. Since Austin is among the finalists on the company’s list of possible picks, there has been no small amount of local conversation and speculation around the topic—not only on the odds of its happening, but what effects it would have on the city if it did.

Whether or not Austin wants HQ2 here, has of course, been roundly debated, but a new poll by Elon Poll and the American Business Journals (great band name)—Austin Business Journal is one of the latter—has put some numbers to the common wisdom that residents are ambivalent, at best, about nabbing the new headquarters.

The poll, which covered only the 16 U.S. metro locations in the finalist list, found that “ there are varying degrees of enthusiasm and support” for the relocation of Amazon’s second HQ in individual cities—despite its estimated addition of 50,000 workers and an investment of $5 billion wherever it lands.

Austin and Denver, Colo., showed the least overall support for the project, with about one in three of those polled in both cities answering that they strongly supported the project, while opposition to the project in the two cities was the highest of that among the metros surveyed. Thirteen percent of Austinites expressed strong opposition, in contrast to a range of 2 to 7 percent in the other cities.

The Elon Poll, which used an “opt-in” method and gave participants a small compensation (you can read more about the methodology and the full report on its website), found that Atlanta, Ga., and Pittsburgh, Pa., expressed the most support for the project happening in their cities.

The poll also measured a number of other factors that could play into how much an individual supports HQ2 putting down roots where they live, including how much they know about local efforts to attract Amazon HQ2, their perception of Amazon as a company, where the headquarters should be located (suburbs or downtown), what the long-term effect would be on region’s economy (including wages, cost of living, housing prices, and commercial property rents), how it might affect traffic, and if it would have a positive or negative impact for existing small businesses in the region.