Should the Commanders return to DC? New poll findings might surprise you

Where would Washington Commanders’ fans want a new stadium to be built? A new Washington Post-Schar School poll takes a look at what residents are saying.

The poll found that, of the 1,600 residents polled, over 50% said the new stadium should be built in D.C. — though no mention of the soon-to-be-demolished site at the RFK Memorial Stadium was noted in the poll.

Polling analyst Emily Guskin, with the Washington Post, joined WTOP to explain the findings.

Listen to the interview with WTOP’s Nick Iannelli and Shawn Anderson below:

Washington Post polling analyst Emily Guskin joined WTOP's Nick Iannelli and Shawn Anderson to talk about what local football fans are saying about a possible return to the District.

The transcript below has been lightly edited for clarity.

Shawn Anderson: Where do local residents want the stadium, generally speaking?

Emily Guskin: So by a slim majority, overall, looking at people in D.C., suburban Maryland and Northern Virginia, 51% say they’d prefer to see the next Commanders stadium in the District of Columbia. We see larger shares of people saying that in D.C. proper.

Nick Iannelli: Does it have anything to do with whether or not they’re big fans of the team? Or is it just among residents?

Emily Guskin: We saw that Commanders fans were even more likely to say that they prefer D.C. — 63% of Commanders’ fans said that they preferred D.C. for the next stadium. But that was still lower than people who lived in D.C., which was 76%.

Shawn Anderson: Did anything surprise you with this poll? Anything that made you say ‘oh wow didn’t expect that?’

Emily Guskin: I was surprised to see that D.C. residents are about split right now in whether they favor or oppose using city funds to help finance a new stadium in the city. We asked the same question in 2022 and two thirds of Washington residents were opposed to using city funds to finance a new stadium. We also asked the same question of people in Northern Virginia and suburban Maryland, and majorities of them were opposed for their states to finance a stadium in either of their places.

Nick Iannelli: So when you look at this, does this have more to do with Washington pride? In other words, fans want the Washington team to actually be in Washington, right? So does it have to do with that? Is it a mindset thing or is it a ‘looking at traffic’ sort of thing? What is your gauge on that?

Emily Guskin: I think that might be part of it, like we’ve had a history of them playing in the District previously. They’ve been out in the ‘burbs for a while. We see that the Nationals are playing in the District and that the city was able to keep the Wizards and the Capitals playing here, too. So it seems like D.C. proper is quite possibly the home that Washingtonians want to see their teams playing.

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