RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK – Readers of Seattle-based tech news website GeekWire have sent a message to Amazon: The Triangle would be the best place for its HQ2 project.

Picking from the 20 finalists for the $5 billion project and its 50,000 jobs, more than 2,000 readers cast a very split vote with Raleigh finishing first at 11 percent. (Of 259 voters picking Raleigh, 71 say they already live in the area, so the voting does have a bit of home cooking.)

And the editors confess they were surprised.

“We asked GeekWire readers which Amazon HQ2 city they would live in — and it’s not what we expected,” wrote Monica Nickelsbery.

But for those of us who live here, picking the Triangle as a prime spot to live is no surprise. And for backers wanting the project, the GeekWire survey doesn’t hurt.

In fact, Triangle investor and former Silicon Valley engineer Mark Easley sees the GeekWire voting as good news for the region.

“Geekwire is the local biztech blog in Seattle, and their readers just voted Raleigh the best place to live among competing Amazon HQ2 cities,” he tells The Skinny. “Could be a good signal.”

Also, a report in Inc. magazine offered a very positive analysis of the Triangle.

“Raleigh has ‘the space, the expertise….and more available talent than any other city’ on Amazon’s list of finalists for its HQ2” reported TechWire’s Allan Maurer on Friday. “So says Jeff Barrett, CEO of Barrett Digital, in “Why Raleigh Will Be the Next Startup Hub,” at

“Barrett, who never visited Raleigh prior to last month, cited its restaurants, train station, and cost of living, among attractions likely to turn it into a destination like Austin, Denver, and Portland have become. But he was most impressed by its startup ecosystem.”

Triangle, not Raleigh

However, it’s not Raleigh that’s an HQ2 finalists. As Amazon has declared, the ecommerce giant is considering locations in the Triangle.

Reports are that Amazon has in fact narrowed its Triangle search to more urban landing spots in Raleigh. But that’s not final. Until Amazon announces a decision in the coming months, few if anyone outside of Jeff Bezos’ management team know where the world’s richest man will expand his venture.

This GeekWire survey comes as the Triangle also expects to hear soon whether tech giant Apple will build a $600 million campus in Research Triangle Park, expand its data center complex in western North Carolina, and open an operation in Cary.

Still, the GeekWire poll is a win for the Triangle and is another bit of news favorable to North Carolina in the HQ2. Raleigh and region have scored well in numerous surveys and studies since the HQ2 process began late last year, from taxes to real estate and workforce.

The GeekWire survey focuses on quality of life with the Triangle beating out southern rivals Atlanta and Austin for the top spot.

Of its readers, GeekWire noted:

“They weren’t lured by New York City’s flashing lights or Los Angeles’ endless summer. Instead, the most popular choice was Raleigh, N.C., a plucky underdog that isn’t often mentioned as a front-runner in the fierce competition for Amazon HQ2. Even those who didn’t vote for Raleigh still seem to be in a southern state of mind. Atlanta came in second place, followed by Austin.”

The readers are diverse with nearly 41 percent saying they are developers, engineers, tech executives and startup founders. And it’s worth noting that Amazon has said the HQ2 site would be R&D focused.

As for the Washington, D.C. are which is often cited by forecasters as the HQ2 favorite, “few” in the survey picked the nation’s capital as a preferred place to live.

Yet GeekWire hedged the story about the Triangle’s drawing power.

“Raleigh already has a robust talent pool thanks to the Research Triangle, a nickname for the hub between Duke University, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and North Carolina State University. But it isn’t clear whether Raleigh has enough allure to convince out-of-town talent to relocate,” GeekWire says. “Our survey suggests Raleigh might have enough appeal but there is a catch. Of the 259 who voted for Raleigh, 71 said they already live in that city.”

You can read more online.