Latest poll shows strong opposition to ballpark bond

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Submitted: Sat, 11/03/2012 - 3:59am
Updated: Sun, 11/04/2012 - 9:05pm

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.


  • Vog46 says:

    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?


  • jw smith says:

    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….

  • Vog46 says:

    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?


  • gingerlynn says:

    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.

  • Guest111 says:

    Absolutely correct in your response, Vog.

  • frontpaige says:

    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.

  • Guest2020 says:

    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.

  • Guest2020 says:

    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.

  • Katherine says:

    The yearly financial statement for the convention center will be released somewhere around the end of November. I’m looking forward to seeing those numbers myself.

  • Guest111 says:

    You know, this is totally off subject of the ballpark but I want to see a P & L of the convention center. I don’t want to know how many weddings, how many meetings. . I want to see the bottom line figures. Since we, as the public, are paying for the center don’t we have the right to see the figures? I think we do. I’ve asked for this before and no one is willing to print it. Is there someone who knows where to go to get the profit and loss?

  • SurfCityTom says:

    but does the CC not operate on a fiscal year basis which commences around 07/01 annually.

    I’m not certain that they actually release an easy to understand set of financials.

    VOG & I did some research about 60 days ago; most of the detail numbers are mixed in with various City departments.

    If I am not mistaken, the City pumped a couple of million into the CC operating account this past fiscal year.

    That and the CC General Manager report on the number of “events” held had all of us laughing in dismay.

  • Guest111 says:

    Thanks Katherine! Can’t wait. Shame it couldn’t be released BEFORE the election.

  • Vog46 says:

    (Vog feigns indignation)

    How COULD WWAY practice such yellow journalism? I mean after all the stadium is supported by the clear majority and has been since day one.

    Chuck Kuebler said it, Terry Spencer seconded that opinion – so it must be so.


    What in the world is wrong at the Star News and WECT. The Star News failed to report on the article in the Richmond paper about the failure of Gwinnett stadium and then they failed to mention the Civitas Poll numbers which show vehement opposition to the stadium.
    WECT reported on the poll but is not apparently allowing comments on the story.
    These two media outlets should be ashamed for trying to influence the vote…..

  • Carol Kramer says:

    So here’s my opportunity to sneak in a Big THANK YOU to WWAY for keeping this on their front page and making it possible to comment (without having to use Facebook).

    And one more time: Vote NO

  • Jim Rafferty says:

    The Civitas Organization Charter is one that is sympathetic to limiting the power of Government and especially when the use of Tax Payer monies are involved. They, as part of their Charter support the Vote NO Stadium Tax, type of initiatives. They do so responsibly and openly. They could have given monies in much smaller amounts and through several alternative means, but that would be dishonest. That is not what the Vote No Stadium Tax group nor Civitas is about. If you want to know the facts behind the Stadium, contact WWAY and the other media professionals in town and ask them to read or send you the latest debunking Press Release from the Vote No organization. Including the inconclusive and incorrect statements made by Mayor Saffo and Councilman O’Grady during the debate. Good reading and factual. Also do go to the Board of Elections web site and pull down the Yes organizations list of donors. Except for one person, all companies who have monies to gain if the Stadium is built. You be the judge of the facts.

  • Vog46 says:

    Everyone is correct
    You are correct in that fiscal year runs 7/1
    However the annual audit is released around end of November.
    CAFR reports are almost always dated around Nov 29


  • SurfCityTom says:

    as you noted a few months ago, they mix the numbers into various sections of the City’s financials and it would take a CPA with forsenic accounting background to make heads and tails of it.

  • ma_lashley says:

    ….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.

    Well at least O’Grady will concede the fact private development will occur on the site. Which will be better: A stadium that is a tax liability or private development that will contribute to the tax base? I know what my vote would be.

    That site pays property taxes now but once the city owns it, that is lost revenue.

  • Rick Wilson says:

    I believe the overwhelming support is Terry and Chuck holding hands and whispering to each other it will be alright. PCB and the others promoting this attempted fraud can blame themselves. I don’t think a voluntary tax increase to support a billionaire would have passed anyway, but the campaign of conjecture, what ifs, and plain old lies did not help the cause. People are tired of being lied to. People are tired of back room deals. People are tired of having their intelligence insulted. Anyone, and I mean anyone with basic math skills, a dash of common sense, and the willingness to read the agreement the city reached with Mandalay will say no. The puzzling thing about this is the Mayor and Councilman O’Grady are proud of this agreement…….DUH? The only people this benefits is Mandalay, the Braves, and their billionaire owner…..

    Even if what I have already pointed out is not enough to vote against this, then would somebody please tell me why anyone would vote themselves a tax increase to pay for something someone else will build with private investment? This is even a bigger DUH than the Mayor and O’Grady thinking they negotiated a deal that benefits the city in any way………Somewhere in this great country of ours there is a University that offers doctorate degrees for morons. We need to find and shut down this University, and we need to quit electing this universities graduates to public office. We also need to quit letting this universities graduates form self-serving groups that would not know the truth if it was stapled to their foreheads…….

    Just say NO to the Billionaire Beggars Club. It is time for these people to pay their own way and stop expecting/demanding others with far less to fund their pet projects……

  • Vog46 says:

    What is it YOU said these last 6 months?

    “It’s now the
    LAST of the 9th and the anti side has pulled ahead and is looking like it’s dominating the game now. Civitas I Civitas II Civitas III and PPP/Capstrat all show the Pro side losing.”

    This just goes to show you that Council does NOT vote along with their constituents (Duh-uh)

    That your analysis all along has been wrong – by a LOT

    C’mon out of hiding Duke……….


  • Guest2222222222 says:

    Wway just kindly leaves out the fact Civitas donated $1000 to the ‘Vote No’ campaign. I believe their contribution produces a unique conflict of interest.

    If you’d like proof it’s all in black and white on the NHC board of elections website.

  • Vog46 says:

    Nice attempt at a misdirect but it proves nothing as far as conflict of interest is concerned.

    keep trying though


  • RSimmons says:

    While rightwing interest groups are the impetus and have been providing money. Every Liberal I know is voting against the stadium.

  • Guest111 says:

    Oh boo hoo!

  • Guest111 says:

    When this bond fails I wonder what Saffo has up his sleeve next? He isn’t going to lay down and be whipped. . he will have his way, one way or another. Two more years of him and poof! he will be gone! I still am amazed at how long he met with the baseball folks before the citizens of ILM knew anything about it. Sounds underhanded in every aspect.

  • Guest 2 says:

    They should have taken this money and paid it to Cape Fear Utility to fix the mess the county should have fixed when they taxed us for that purpose. It would surely lower residents water bills, which go up monthly. Let’s vote on that one folks.

  • Ryann Bochey says:

    I agree. The same with the skyway bridge and the convention center. If the news stations really wanted to do some real investigative reporting, I bet they’d find out that the land for all 3 of these projects belongs to Saffo’s daddy

  • Guest1948 says:

    Many things in this city need to be fixed and repaired – the list is long. Lets resolve those issues before we take on other projects. Saffo is living in an idealistic, unrealistic world. Obviously he is unaware of the state of the economy. People cannot afford more taxes. Period!!


  • paul says:

    Major sports team??? When is a AA team considered a major sports team? It is essentially a high school team with payed players. It’s not even in the same type league as say the Toledo Mudhens, Columbus Clippers, Durham Bulls or Charlotte Knights. When you try and shove a major sports team down our throats at least give us real pro players. Typical southeastern government. Jump before you look. Yee Haaa yall we gonna get us a sports team then we be big time town and a big time mayor. Lmao

Leave a Reply