Latest poll shows strong opposition to ballpark bond


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.

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“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.