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Poll: Wilmington voters oppose ballpark funding plan

Carolina LeagueA new poll shows considerable opposition to public funding of a new Wilmington (N.C.) ballpark for a High Class A Carolina League team, as voters prepare to decide on the issue in next Tuesday’s elections.

The poll, from the conservative Civitas Institute, reports 59 percent of Wilmington voters said they were certain to vote against the bond issue and the tax to pay for it. Twenty-six percent said they were certain to vote for it, and 15 percent were not sure. In addition, 72 percent of the voters said their taxes should not be used to pay for a ballpark, while only 23 percent favored the idea. Most ominously for ballpark supporters, the majority of those surveyed opposing a hike in property taxes to pay for the ballpark have already voted.

One thing to note: the robocalled poll was limited only to randomly selected land lines. No cell phones — turning into the province of younger voters — were called, and no live interviews were tallied. Whether that makes a difference remains to be seen; there’s a debate in the polling community over the use of robocalls and their accuracy, but in a case where there’s such considerable opposition to a ballot question, this debate may be pretty meaningless.

The results are different than an August poll from Civitas, where 80 percent polled were against the ballpark and public funding. Going from 80 percent to 59 percent in less than four months is a lot of movement. However, this perhaps isn’t a fair comparison, as the August poll was done before there was a firm proposal in front of voters and the most recent poll coming after voters had a chance to evaluate a firm proposal. We’re not necessarily talking apples to oranges — it’s more like red apples to green apples.

In general, Wilmington is regarded as have more than its share of anti-tax residents, so the results of a poll showing opposition to a tax hike to pay for a new ballpark isn’t very surprising.

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