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FIRST ON 3 AND THE BIG TALKER FM: Poll shows Wilmington voters not sold on mayor, councilmen

READ MORE: FIRST ON 3 AND THE BIG TALKER FM: Poll shows Wilmington voters not sold on mayor, councilmen

RALEIGH, NC (CIVITAS INSTITUTE) -– A new Civitas Flash Poll shows Wilmington voters would consider replacing the current mayor and three councilmen when they go to the polls next year. And of those voters who express a preference, more are planning to vote against the incumbents than are planning to vote for them.

The poll asked registered voters in Wilmington if there was an election today who they’d vote for, or whether they weren’t sure until they knew who else was on the ballot. Of those indicating a preference, 19 percent were for Mayor Bill Saffo and 27 percent against. In the council races, the results were 11 percent for/18 percent against Kevin O’Grady; 11 percent for/22 percent against Earl Sheridan; 16 percent for/27 percent against Charlie Rivenbark.

The “depends on the ballot” responses were 54 percent for Saffo, 71 percent for Councilman O’Grady, 63 percent for Councilman Sheridan, and 56 percent for Councilman Rivenbark.

Moreover, a majority (56 percent) of voters thought the city council was irresponsible in spending taxpayers’ money; only 32 percent thought they spend the public’s dollars responsibly. That shows slippage from a February Civitas Flash Poll, in which 35 percent thought the council was fiscally responsible, and only 48 percent thought they were irresponsible.

In that February Civitas Flash Poll, 52 percent approved of the job Saffo was doing as mayor; 40 percent approved of the job City Council was doing. “The questions are different, but are similar enough to suggest voters’ attitudes are moving the wrong way, from the incumbents’ point of view,” said Civitas President Francis X. De Luca.

Looking at the newer poll, “Less than one in five voters is committed to any of these four officeholders,” De Luca added. “Though it’s a while until the next election, usually incumbents, especially longtime ones, build up foundations of support. The current mayor and councilmen appear to have alienated some voters at this point in time.”

For more information on Civitas polling, see

Full text of questions from August Flash Poll:

Wilmington will elect a mayor and city Council members in 2013. If there were an election for Wilmington Mayor today, which statement would describe you? One: I would vote FOR Bill Saffo no matter who else is on the ballot. Two: I would vote AGAINST Bill Saffo no matter who else is on the ballot. Three: I’m not sure how I would vote until I know who else is on the ballot.

19% FOR Saffo
27% AGAINST Saffo
54% Depends On Ballot

Now, some City Council seats. If there were an election for Wilmington City Council today, which statement would describe you in regards to Kevin O’Grady?

11% FOR O’Grady
18% AGAINST O’Grady
71% Depends On Ballot

Next, Earl Sheridan.

15% FOR Sheridan
22% AGAINST Sheridan
63% Depends On Ballot

Last, Charlie Rivenbark.

16% FOR Rivenbark
27% AGAINST Rivenbark
56% Depends On Ballot

Is the Wilmington City Council responsible? or irresponsible? when determining how to use taxpayer dollars?

32% Responsible
56% Irresponsible
12% Not Sure

Do you approve or disapprove of the job Bill Saffo is doing as Mayor?

52% Approve
45% Disapproved
3% Not sure

Do you approve or disapprove of the job the Wilmington City Council is doing?

40% Approve
51% Disapprove
9% Not Sure

Is the Wilmington City Council responsible? or irresponsible? when determining how to use taxpayer dollars?

35% Responsible
48% Irresponsible
17% Not Sure

About the Poll: 300 registered voters in the City of Wilmington were interviewed on Aug. 1 and 2. This poll was conducted by telephone in the voice of a professional announcer. Respondent households were selected at random, using Random Digit Dialed (RDD) sample provided by Survey Sampling, of Fairfield CT. All respondents heard the questions asked identically. Research methodology, questionnaire design and fieldwork for this survey were completed by SurveyUSA of Clifton, NJ. This statement conforms to the principles of disclosure of the National Council on Public Polls. The margin of error was +/- 5.7 percent.

Disclaimer: Comments posted on this, or any story are opinions of those people posting them, and not the views or opinions of WWAY NewsChannel 3, its management or employees. You can view our comment policy here.



Yes we are behind Baseball and the proposed Stadium for economic development as well as Community Pride.
The Opposition has other thoughts,agenda and see the challenges we face below,
From Star News Online,Quote

Anne Russell · Top Commenter · Works at Journalism Professor
Chuckie Kuebler, since you and Mandalay et al have targeted me as your enemy, how about we stop the verbal sniping and just duke it out, best one wins? You can meet me on my lot downtown at 103 N 7th St, for a bout of extreme fighting, may the best one win, and we can sell tickets and hot dogs.

Still 3 months to go,and the energy and passion for both sides,showing.

Economy Driver

The Stadium will be the “engine” that kick-starts the sluggish Wilmington Economy.
The ability for businesses is almost endless and more jobs,more restarants,retailers,hotels,touist attractions,street vendors and fairs will see benefits that 300,000 attendees,maybe more bring our CITY.
We also are advertising to the whole “region” what Wilmington is all about and our capabilities.
The end result–
-more visitors
-more tourists
-more businesses
-enhanced City “image”
-more sales tax revenue
-family fun and affordable time together
-Increased Civic Pride
-Increased visibility for Wilmington”.

So many positives,join us as we make Wilmington “the place to live,play,do busines with”; in Southeastern,North Carolina.

Oh Duke

Now i have top embarrass you here too?

J.C. Bradbury, an economist and professor at Kennesaw State University who wrote “The Baseball Economist: The Real Game Exposed,” said new stadiums rarely generate the expected returns.

“I will tell you that there is little evidence that these stadiums have much economic impact,” said Bradbury, who also blogs about the economics of baseball at

“Economists have studied this for two decades and no credible academic study has found any significant positive benefits. The studies out there that tout benefits are from the same folks who brought us ‘Where's the beef?’ commercials. It's PR spin, nothing more.”

Economic studies back up Bradbury. Economist Arthur Jones, a professor at the University of Maryland Baltimore County, concluded in his book “Minor League Baseball and Economic Development” that “minor league baseball has the economic impact equivalent of a large pet shop.”

Dukes Doggie Emporium would have a bigger economic impact
go ahead
Build your pet sop



3 juggernauts,

What is next,University of Phoenix.
I will take professional studies any day over Acasdemia.

of course

of course you would disagree with the studies... They weren't in your favor...

The people of WIlmington DO NOT want a baseball park.. end of story...

and after the meeting with council and commissioners.. why would $affo want to ask the county to join in if it was such a GREAT deal... $saffo would be happy to do it alone..


Funny thing is when I brought it up - you fell for it again.
Dispute their findings of FACT
You see this is what happens when you can't dispute something
You poke fun at the poster or in this case you try to disparage the source - but you NEVER disparage the facts because you can't.
These guys didn't study one team they studied many teams with many stadiums in many cities. Manda"lie" and NSS cherry picked the ones they compared our proposed stadium to and they use estimates and guesses.

Go ahead
Dispute the facts in the studies. You can't so you won't.
Now its time for Terry to trot out Profesor Santos study on PRO stadiums - like the Twins, Vikings,Cardinals etc.
Not one mention of minor league ball parks.
This study was ALL about minor league ball parks.

Wanna talk cost overruns now?
How many in the last decade?
Durham over 26%
Gwinette Braves over 40%

c'mon - who will pay?
I hope contractually it falls to Manda"lie" and Atlanta - otherwise its just another avenue to use to pick our pockets.
No subsidizing of this stadium.

Oh my

The fact that you can't spell academia says it all Chuck

Now you DO know that professors studied actual numbers right?

You do know that Bradbury STUDIED the Gwinette Braves situation -RIGHT?

You do know they didn't deal in estimates - right?

My my my - the koolaid is readily available here.
You're just mad because your economic impact study has been torn to shreds by actual case studies of WHAT REALLY HAPPENED!!!!
Estimates versus facts and figures Chuck. Funny that you chose guessing.



LIES..the report assumes NO INCREASE in visitors...just a change from doing this to doing that...

If its such a wonderful idea..I say you and your group take out a loan and fund it! Looks like you guys might get RICH!

The Movie is in the Can!!

Is it possible that some folks haven't yet heard, IT'S ON THE BALLOT.
Ben and Josh lost! It's over, let it go, go find another issue to lose.
It's affordable! about the price of one lunch a month from the dollar menu. Nice try boys and girls but the Baseball Movie, is in the can!!

Sorry, Mr. T, you are the

Sorry, Mr. T, you are the loser. Take a quarter from your monthly value meal and buy yourself a clue. The voters will decide, not you. Ben and Josh didn't lose anything, if fact they have gained my support for their political future here in this town because of their diligent work against the odds. I and most taxpayers don't need YOU to tell me what's affordable.

Keep on talking though, you may get enough angry taxpayers to turn out in force to tell you what you really need to hear in November... Play Ball (with yourself).

Yep! That's exactly where it is. In the can.

In the can, commode, head, latrine, throne, water-closet, whatever ......

Call it whatever toilet-floats your boat. The important thing here is that you’ve finally posted something that we “can” all agree on!

Mr T

If it's so cheap let Atlanta pay to build it

They Could just buy my vote.

They could get me to vote for anything as long as they legalize marijuana. Thats just how I have always voted. For cannadate most likley to legalize marijuana.

Issue will unite community

The baseball park bond referendum will transcend party lines and unite a community against an irresponsible city government. The 2012 election's overall theme will be all about pocketbook issues , therefore a ballpark bond will not fare well. The city's priorities and vision are dysfunctional because they have not been responsible stewards of taxpayer money by channeling those dollars to insure the upkeep of basic infrastructure. Council continues to shop around on the taxpayer dime with champagne taste on a flat beer budget. I am sure Mandalay will begin a campaign blitz , with their deep pockets , in the coming months. It will be a minimal investment for them to sucker taxpayers to use their monies to finance a ballpark for multi-millionaires. The government does not create wealth , only additional burdens. The only way government can influence wealth creation is through tax policies and regulations. Regulating store signage in storefronts is a prime example of the "Foolish Sevens" petty pursuits that waste time and aggravate business people.

As for Chuck KUEball , your passion for a 100% public financed ballpark is obvious. May I suggest while you are waiting for your Christmas present in November , you need to consider taking remedial English 101 courses because your spelling and punctuation are atrocious. Maybe you can take Sterling CHEATham along as well. If the ballpark goes through , I imagine Billy Saffo will invite you to his air conditioned suite and allow you to partake in the fancy spread provided by Mandalay. Some games you will not have to fork out money for overpriced concessions.

And in related news...

And in related news, the sky is blue!

Hey Chuck

I'm glad to be a part of the Fab five and I'm willing to "sacrifice" a baseball stadium to insure my city doesn't go further into debt. I'm also glad you have an agenda because the more the pro baseball side speaks the more solid the opposition becomes.
Lets see NSS did a flawed economic impact survey
The Chamber did an invite only survey that didn't ask hard questions
Civitas has conducted 2 polls showing the general population against the stadium funding by taxpayers
Civitas also shows that the general population does NOT consider the Mayor and 3 council members fiscally responsible
The County Commissioners slammed the door on helping the city pay for Billy's Baseball Boondoggle as the city begged the county for a bigger share of tax revenue AND begged the commissioners to allow voluntary annexation which the county is vehemently against.
Now we find the CFPUA is looking at increasing sewer fees by 149%
Do you feel like going back before the County Commissioners asking for money for the ballpark? Like your group has done 4 time already?
Feel like asking for a county tax increase again?
Go ahead and spend your $150,000 - $50K of which is coming from a guy that owes back taxes on the "stadium land" and who would profit from it's sale......
The polling indicates the potential for a large scale change in the Mayors office and council and the majority says they don't spend money wisely.
Go ahead, rent your billboards I'm sure Mandalay will do a "professional" job on the media blitz.
BTW - I heard that Mayor Saffo will be on one of the billboards.
Showing him lying down in orange shorts and a tank top with an owl on it looking seductively at drivers as they come off the CF Memorial bridge with the caption "Baseball is belly belly good for Wilmington"
Is this true? Why, how professional!!! It's a "Hoot"(ers)
Honestly Chuck - think the votes will approve a tax hike considering what the CFPUA is about to do AND the city is looking at 3cents for street repair already?


Don't forget, you already

Don't forget, you already got a COLISEUM nobody wanted thanks to Saffo and company, you're fixin to have a baseball field you don't want to pay for either, these guys have big brass don't they?

Lets see what we have in

Lets see what we have in some of these A-B-C.. comments. A- someone(s) who thought they had a slam dunk Construction job. B- someone(s) who does not understand basic math, in spite of some type of education. C- someone(s) who perhaps is a socialist in a Capitalist Society. D- someone(s) who may be a bit paranoid-but perhaps with good reason. E- someone(s) who may have invested in the deal in 2009 when Mr Schoninger's prospectus was first registered and included a Baseball Stadium. F- someone(s) who believe it is very acceptable for the City and a group of emotionally charged people-some of whom do not live in the City, to engage with a Raleigh based Public Relations firm, in order to SELL the deal to City residents. G- someone(s) who have sent many e-mails to City Council, the Mayor and others regarding the project with all sorts of promises and wishes.
Now who would these intelligent, well balanced, business professionals be? Certainly not the threatening, negative, paranoid group who are being represented by the Duke dude's comments.

Not Paranoid


Civitas Institute Poll?

Calling the work the Civitas so-called "institute" does as impartial or balanced is like saying FOX NEWS is "fair and balanced." Neither Civitas or FIXED NEWS are impartial, fair, or balanced!

Polling 300 people as a representative sample is crazy! How they ask the questions is unprofessional. And WWAY3 reporting their results as news is very very disappointing. This isn't news! It's a "pot shot" at the Mayor.

These people are the same people who are the John Locke Society. The same people who are Americans for Prosperity. They are Art Pope attack groups! Attacking the Mayor on baseball, or annexation for that matter, is only the tip of the spear. There's more coming!

Polling is a science. It is a statistical process which will take a "sample" of a group or class of people and that "sample" should, within a margin of error, demonstrate a possible election outcome or, better yet, they can take the temperature of a community. What Civitas and the JLS, or AFP does, is actually "art." They paint a picture. They sell a story. This was NO poll! Do better reporting!

"How they ask the questions is unprofessional" ?

Not so sure you're right about that. I know it was only a Flash Poll so there is a 5.7 % margin of error (as disclosed) however it was designed and conducted by two very professional companies and not by Civitas per se.

"Respondent households were selected at random, using Random Digit Dialed (RDD) sample provided by Survey Sampling, of Fairfield CT. All respondents heard the questions asked identically. Research methodology, questionnaire design and fieldwork for this survey were completed by SurveyUSA of Clifton, NJ. This statement conforms to the principles of disclosure of the National Council on Public Polls."

That's science, not art. Artfully done science at that. Not liking the results doesn't invalidate the poll.

As far as "Attacking the Mayor on baseball, or annexation for that matter, is only the tip of the spear." goes, you're spot on. I couldn't have said it better. Nice to see we agree on at least that.

Re: Civitas Institute Poll?

I'll take what you call "Fixed News" all day long over the left-wing tripe that Media Matters writes for NBC on a daily basis.

The news crew over on Shipyard Blvd must be suffering

with multiple personality disorder by now representing both NBC and Fox. :-)


I agree to a point
This is a flash poll or one that is done quickly with a smaller sized group. That's the reason why they say there's a +/- 5.7% swing. The smaller the sample the bigger the swing could be.
so whats more "fair"?
A random calling sample (possibly all Republicans)
Or a poll that INVITES people to respond (NSS Survey) with over 39% being non city residents? By the way you DID note in the NSS report that they ADMIT to it not being scientific whereas Civitas said it is and here's the possible margin of error...
I'm NOT crazy about the Big Squawker FM, and I don't listen, but Civitas is polling organization with a larger degree of "professionalism" when it comes to polling.
I just wish the sample size was bigger



Glad to be part of the Fab 5
I've got over $57M worth of reasons NOT to do this.
Yeah thats right Chuck
Thats $37M at 4% over 20 years.
Oh and chuck?
If there's cost over runs, who pays?
Yeah buddy the city will
Durhams stadium was over budget by over 26%
There hasn't been a stadium built in the last decade that did NOT have cost over runs.
Check it out


The Fabulous 5 and their position

@Common Sense
We have a solid agenda,we do not care one bit if you disagree.
The Braves and Mandalay have years of experience.
You have none,you are all mere novices.
You might influence some but Terry,I and our group have plenty of experience in marketing/sales/operations.
Not one thing you can say will make us waiver,
You are the minority,the November vote will prove us right.
We have no interests in your petty arguments,jealousies.
This City NEVER had players like the Braves and Mandalay.
Over the next 3 months you will be bombarded with all the”positives: this project brings.
You better call your AFP pals,you will need every single dollar they have.
Our side will spend over 150,000 on this,better ramp up as the blogs will mean little when the message is on radio/television/billboards.
In essence you are in for a battle,get your gloves and $$$$$$ you will need 200k,or more.


I have 2 comments and a question or 2.

The questions first,

Are you finally coming out of the closet and conceding you & some of the other proponents have a vested interest?

You indicate you and your group have plenty of experience in sales and marketing. Tell me please, as I have many years of experience in both fields, which school did you all attend where they taught you should take a pointed stick and poke opponents in the eye? Remember, if this fails in a couple of years, those same opponents may lead an effort to sue for driving what will have been predicted as a financial albatross on the city.

You also note how strong your position is. Maybe it is, I don't know.

But, in 1948, if you know anything about history and politics, Thomas Dewey was the hands down projected winner of the Presidential election against incumbent Harry Truman. There were occassions when Trumn's campaign was literally out of money & he would make personal appeals to supporters for funds to keep the election campaign on track. And at the end of the day, it was the underfunded, underdog Harry Truman who won the election.

I guess we'll see in November where the chips fall.

My final comment to the guys you so viciously attack. You must be getting to Duke and his band. Keep it up.


Yeah we kinda got 'ol Chuck riled up on the Star News blogs too.

I have been wondering about which marketing school he went to as well.
But here's how this should have worked:
Mandalay/Braves come in and say "NO cost to the city" - city applauds - citizens happy - ballpark is built - park is packed the first year or two.

They almost followed the script but instead we got:
Mandalay/Braves come in and say "NO cost to the city" - city applauds - citizens happy - then it was "well you gotta chip in something" which then turned into "No private investors anymore". Citizens now outraged.

What did the marketing arm expect? A bed of roses? Something that was supposed to be free now is costing $57M at a minimum !!! And they expect us to be all warm and fuzzy because it's "baseball", and "America's game"?
So now when the opposition raises a question regarding this project they expect us to believe them by saying "Don't worry Vog it WILL work Mandalay and the Braves re professionals".
Ok so then we point out "well why didn't it work for the Gwinette Braves"? They got antsy. Then when it was pointed out that academic studies PROVED that "the economic impact study "was flawed" they got mad. Finally when the polls started showing growing animosity towards the deal they started poking people with pointed sticks.
Incredulously Chuckles maintains that Tuesdays vote showed the majority FAVORED the deal as the council represents their constituents, therefore they represent the majority opinion.
Of course the vote was NOT for or against he stadium it was for or against letting the voters decide but its the only straw left for him to grasp.
Now that city council has PO'd the County Commissioners, and CFPUA is seeking a big rate increase ALL VOTERS are now PO'd and will take it out on any spending initiative.
Outside forces are not to blame either. Mandalanta did it to themselves...

7 to 0

We are not riled,we are ahead.
You need to rally,top of 7 and you are down 7 to 0.(zero).
City Council voted the bond issue on the ballott in line with those they represent.
We are quite comfortable with the lead,and hope to expand our margin.


how about answering my questions?

Do you and the other proponents of the ballpark have a vested interest in seeing this go through? Simple yes or no will do.

Initially you tried to come across as a baseball fan, pure and simple, and that was your reason for pushing so hard.

What marketing school school did you and your cronies attend? Every time an opponent presents pure and simple facts, you poke them in the eye with a sharp stick.

I've said it from the very beginning, every time you and your proponents post another fairy tale laden picture full of half truths, you make it more certain the opponents will look at everything you and your cronies post with a jaundiced eye at best.

One last question, where did you come up with projected attendance of 300,000 for the first year? The "sanctioned" study had 250,000 at best with the attendance dropping each year after.

If you're going to post something and make what you represent is a statement of fact and power, why not check your prior posted statements to be certain you aren't talking out of both sides of your mouth?

Just remember, a severely underfunded, under dog named Harry Truman did in fact beat an over funded, heavily favored Thomas Dewey for the 1948 Presidential election.

Wonder if history will repeat itself?