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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.


Yet once again, the other-worldly prognostications ...

of a man who rarely puts together a complete or grammatically correct sentence. For someone touting one's expertise as a sales and marketing pro, that could turn out to be a bit of a credibility issue.

Hey, here's a great idea (borrowed from the dairy industry) for your first billboard: Overlaid on top of an artist’s rendering of the proposed ballpark, right in the center of the playing field, highlight the two word phrase “$$$ GOT TAXES ? $$$“

Good luck to you. You're going to need it.

We have it,thank you

No need to wish it,we have it.
This is not luck,it is carefull market analysis and picking the right product/service for the right market.
This is a serious issue,we take it serious.

We take it "serious" ? ........ Really ?

Those capable of careful market analysis don't keep switching their numbers around predicated upon what they're responding to, and they most certainly don't just pull up unsubstantiated conjectures from some nether region of their body (where the sun don't shine).

If you really we're taking this seriously, you would have, at the very least said "we take it seriously" instead of "we take it serious". C'mon Dukie, if you won't even make an attempt to get the small things right how serious can you actually be?

Keep posting. Keep taking yourself as "serious" as you do now. You've turned yourself into a secret double agent for your opposition. Of course, the only one who doesn't know the secret is you. Shhhhh ! Don't tell yourself!

Good luck to you. You're going to need it!


Well first off, your arguement lacks what I like to call a point. By calling others who take a contrary opinion novices means what? Nothing. Your credentials, my credentials, irrelevant actually. Intelligence and experience, well that might be a whole other issue altogether.

Casually when I talk to people, the overwhelming majority oppose the idea of long-term debt falling to the tax-payer for construction of a non-essential "luxury" item such as a ballfield. I don't know where that puts us in the minority except for your dreams I suppose.

Where's the "RANT"

Want to read,where is it?


why not give Mr. Wuzzardo a topic for the Rant? And hopefully, it would be something other than "how the deal gets better and better".

(rolls eyes)

it's the Big Squawker we are talking about here...hardly an unbiased fact, I wouldn't trust them to report on the weather.

I agree Squawker

But until someone else conducts a larger poll what else do we have?
Does this mean Curtis Wright is Wrong?
Thomas Wright was Wronged, but it was the Wright thing to do in the end.

Oh we could have so much fun with this......



How about this poll.
96% surveyed by Chamber and City Businesses want this.
Very Convincing.


Here's the new poll results: %98 percent of the Chamber and city businesses are against it now. Very, very convincing, huh?

How about this? They didn't

How about this?
They didn't ask who would pay for it
The NSS survey was not scientific,nor was the Chambers poll
The ONLY scientific poll we have is the biased Civitas one

Try again Chuckles


You're a broken record

That would be fine by me, provided the Chamber and those businesses want to pay for it solely themselves. However, anywhere from 77% to 84% of registered city voters oppose tax-payer support for construction. Before you start an apples and oranges comparison of the two polls let me remind you, you can't just pick and choose among the criteria solely because it supports your agenda. The Civitas poll falls closely in line with my results when I collected signatures in my neighborhood. More than 90% of the residents in my HOA opposed any tax increases to fund stadium construction.

You don't have much to stand on here but we will see come November.


People like to complain but they won't turn out to back it up. The tip-off was the phrase "And of those voters who express a preference, more are planning to vote against the incumbents than are planning to vote for them." That's the hitch - to make a real difference, you gotta get out & vote!


Read the story again.
Separate the story from the text of the polling questions.
Record breaking voter turnout is expected in November as all elections are being hotly contested.
While I don't normally like Civitas polls, this one seems a little less biased


But city elections

Are only held in odd-numbered years (unless it's a special election). So while there will be a record turnout for what seems like everyone's favorite topics these days (POTUS & baseball), I'm thinking we will be back to the same apathetic, complaining, non-voting folks after next fall's election. But I've been wrong before...

True guest 111

but that is both good and bad, the city election will "stand out" on its own.
Say the bond referendum fails by a wide margin in November
They will hold this sword over Saffo and Council and probably clean house.
If it passes, well then we have the same old same old.
The electorate seems restless and very concerned with pocketbook issues.
I am old enough to say I wouldn't be surprised by anything.