RALEIGH – Most Triangle residents are in favor of bringing the $5 billion Amazon HQ2 project and its promised 50,000 jobs to the region, according to a new poll. But 80 percent say they won’t pay higher taxes to win the project.

Overall, 43 percent “strongly support” the project with a similar percentage “somewhat” supportive and very few opposed or neutral to the project, says American City Business Journals, which owns the Triangle Business Journal. The poll was conducted by Elon University and includes results from nearly 7,400 residents in the 20 metropolitan areas named as finalists for the project by Amazon.

But there is a limit to the enthusiasm.

Asked if they would be willing to pay higher taxes for North Carolina and the region to win the project, a resounding 80 percent said no. The remaining 20 percent were OK with paying more.

A substantial group – 48 percent – also believe bringing Amazon HQ2 and its 50,000 jobs to the Triangle would increase the cost of living. Fifty percent say they don’t believe there would be any impact, and 2 percent said they believe cost of living would decline.

In an unscientific online poll from WRAL TechWire, nearly 60 percent of respondents say they want Amazon to select the Triangle.

TechWire’s Amazon HQ2 Derby, which asks visitors only to choose one locations, also has Raleigh in the lead, with a slight edge over Atlanta.

Comparing enthusiasm

If Amazon is considering community support as a factor in selecting where the project goes, the Triangle takes a hit.

The RTP area’s enthusiasm  is not nearly as high as residents in Atlanta, Pittsburgh, Indianapolis, Columbus Ohio and Chicago.

Atlanta and Pittsburgh were most enthusiastic at 52 percent expressing strong support.

Indianapolis was next at 51 percent followed by Columbus (49) and Chicago (45).

Least enthusiastic are residents in Denver (35) and Austin Texas (36).

“If you are Amazon, you are relatively happy with these results unless you were leaning toward locating in Austin or Denver,” said Brandon Sheridan, assistant professor of economics in Elon’s Martha and Spencer Love School of Business. “Public support appears to be the lowest in those areas. Residents in those cities perceive Amazon to be a costly investment that their city does not need to begin with, let alone one that should be offered generous incentives. By comparison, the other sites are much more optimistic about becoming the home of HQ2.”

Here’s how the metros break down on the enthusiasm question. (Note: Because multiple areas were selected by Amazon as finalists in the Washington, D.C. area, they were grouped under D.C.):

  • Atlanta, 52 percent
  • Pittsburgh, 52 percent
  • Indianapolis, 51 percent,’Columbus 49 percent
  • Chicago 48 percent
  • Miami, 45 percent
  • Philadelphia 45 percent
  • Dallas, 44 percent
  • RTP, 43 percent
  • Nashville, 42 percent
  • New York, 39 percent
  • Washington D.C., 39 percent
  • Boston, 38 percent
  • Los Angeles, 38 percent
  • Austin, 36 percent
  • Denver, 35 percent

Read more about the poll online.