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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — To build or not to build. That is the question facing Wilmington voters. A new poll released today may give us some insight into how Port City voters are leaning heading into the election.

A poll of 300 Wilmington voters this week by the conservative Civitas Institute shows that overwhelmingly Wilmington voters are expected to say no.

“Fifty-nine percent of the voters said they are certain to vote against it,” Civitas Institute President Francis De Luca said. “Twenty-six percent said they are going to support it. Fifteen percent said they’re undecided. What that translates into, if you look back at our other polls, is probably a 65 to 70-percent vote against the bond.”

The results of the poll, with a margin of error of 5.8 percent, would seem to rule out the possibility of the referendum passing, but “Vote Yes” campaign manager Terry Spencer says he still believes Port City residents will play ball.

“We’re optimistic,” Spencer said. “We have seen an awful lot of momentum coming in the last several weeks. I think the debate was an overwhelming success for our side. We’ve seen an awful lot of energy from our folks and on our social media platforms have gone off the charts.”

If the referendum fails, some city leaders believe it could be quite some time before Wilmington has another opportunity like this.

“It will be hard for all of the pieces to fit together again; having a franchise available, having a major sports team that can acquire that franchise, having a major operator wanting to be here, having the land available, because remember that if this doesn’t go to the ballpark, it will go to something else, but we don’t know what,” City Councilman Kevin O’Grady said.

A question that can only be answered Tuesday.

“The only poll that matters is the one that is going to happen on November 6, and we’re optimistic about our chances, and we look forward to seeing them,” Spencer said.

We tried to talk to Mayor Bill Saffo about the poll, but when we told him the results, he declined and referred us to Councilman O’Grady.

Comment on this Story

  • gingerlynn

    In the early 90’s we had a referendum to replace the old Durham Athletic Park where the Durham Bulls played and the movie Bull Durham was filmed. It failed miserably mostly because the owners were very wealthy and the citizens did not want to fund their endeavor. However, the city scrambled, did some fancy shell game with numbers and built the new Durham Bulls Athletic Park anyway. In hindsight, it was probably the right thing to do. However, it still burns me up that the city council completely ignored the will of the people. Moral of the story: Don’t think this is over if the people of Wilmington vote it down.

  • Vog46

    I received thsi a short time ago from Scott harry:
    “At 1:00pm today the Vote No Stadium Tax! referendum committee will donate the entire remainder of our funds (approx $1,000) to the Hurricane Sandy Relief Effort.
    We ask our supporters to join us and bring donations (Prepaid visa cards are best. You can purchase at many drug stores or grocery stores in various denominations).

    We challenge the “Yes” group to do the same.

    The Little Chapel on the Boardwalk
    2 West Fayetteville Street
    Wrightsville Beach, NC 28480
    (they have an organized effort already underway with NO overhead costs)

    1:00pm today

    Scott Harry and Jim Rafferty will be available for interviews afterward.

    Scott Harry

    Ok all you big mouths out there
    Duke – Mr T et al
    If it’s MORE than about baseball go ahead – make a donation
    You’ve been challenged

    You see guys it IS more than about baseball
    It’s about taking care of our fellow humans who are in need.
    It’s about making sure that after all is said and done we take care of those less fortunate.

    C’mon Chuck. C’mon Terry
    Or are you saving the money for more open bar parties?


  • Guest2020

    You are absolutely right. The taxpayers of Wilmington voted against the convention center twice. Guess what–Wilmington got a convention center whether they liked it or not. There is nothing stopping the city council from removing the referendum contingency from the contract and going forward with it any way. I certainly wouldn’t put it past them to do so.

  • Guest2020

    One of the best things I ever did was to move out of Wilmington. I love the small town life and atmosphere and although I was born in Wilmington and lived there for the first thirty-two years of my life, I don’t see myself ever moving back. That being said, I love Wilmington and hate to see what has happened with these idiots on the council as well as the mayor. They are a joke and the voters need to quit re-electing them.

  • frontpaige

    Unlike some city leaders, I hope we do NOT have an opportunity like the taxpayer funded baseball stadium anytime in the future.
    Here’s a thought: Let’s finish the necessary repair and improvements to our roadways and infrastructure. Our new entrance into the city on north Third Street will be serviceable & beautiful, greatly adding to the
    historic character of Downtown. A taxpayer funded baseball stadium…not so much.

  • Guest111

    Absolutely correct in your response, Vog.

  • Vog46

    Our illustrious Mayor, when told of the results deferred to O’Grady?

    Um excuse me? Mr. Mayor? That’s what we pay you the big bucks for. Gee you could have stood up and said something political like “Polls have been inaccurate in the past”. or “Our polling shows something else” but you deferred to O’Grady?
    Perhaps O’Grady should get your salary then eh?

    Mayor Saffo – it’s apparent that you supported the baseball stadium. It’s now apparent it will get defeated. In defeat, truly good politicians rise above the partisanship – you passed to O’Grady.
    How telling is this?


  • jw smith

    The city of Wilmington is a joke. Putting a ballpark downtown is just stupid, but thats our town. All they want to do is spend money we do not have. You can bet saffo is making alot of money off this deal.Why would want to put a ballpark downtown there nothing their but bars. Why not bring real jobs to this town but i guess the city just is stupid.. I have been in this town for 47 years and have seen all the good stuff then the dum stuff. Wilmington and New Hanover County is running all of us local out of town. We can not afford to live here anymore. So why don’t yall get your head out of your butt and stop stealing our money. JUST do whats right for a change. Saffo all i can say YOUR A JOKE TO THIS TOWN….

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