By Maria Saporta
An overwhelming majority of Cobb County residents believe county commissioners should delay Tuesday’s vote for a new Braves stadium so that public hearings can take place, according to a newly released poll by Washington, D.C.-based Lincoln Park Strategies.
The poll, taken between Nov. 19 and Nov. 20 of 750 likely voters in Cobb County, showed that 81 percent supported delaying the vote. That strong majority crossed all party lines (Republicans: 80 percent; Independents: 78 percent and Democrats: 85 percent).
“That is something that we rarely see — 81 percent is huge,” said Stefan Hankin, president of Lincoln Park Strategies. “Even 65 percent of the supporters of the stadium support a delay.”
The poll, first reported by WSB-TV Thursday evening, was commissioned by a regional economic client of political consultant Rick Dent.
The poll is probably most relevant to the five Cobb County Commissioners who are supposed to vote on the $300 million public funding package for the $672 million stadium at its meeting on Nov. 26, Dent said, adding that the residents of Cobb County already know how they feel about the Braves stadium.
Other findings in the poll, which had a margin of error of 3.6 percent, included that 54 percent of the likely voters in the county opposed using taxpayer funding to build the stadium.
Of those who supported public funding for the stadium still favored slowing down the process to avoid having a vote two days before Thanksgiving.
The poll found that 59 percent of the people who were in favor of the stadium agreed with the statement that the “County Commission should take the time to do this right so we’re not rushing into a bad deal with Cobb County taxpayers holding the bill.”
Of the people who oppose public funding for the stadium, 86 percent felt a decision should not be done two days before Thanksgiving without public hearings.
One of the survey questions asked only to the 81 percent who favored a delay in the vote was about the kind of re-election chances the commissioners would have if they voted to approve the stadium deal.
The question: If the County Commission approves the $300 million stadium deal next week without public hearings, would you be more or less likely to re-elect a commissioner who voted to approve the stadium deal?
Ten percent said they would be more likely to vote for those commissioners; 19 percent said they would be somewhat less likely; and 57 percent said they would be much less likely to vote for those commissioners. Six percent said there was no difference while 8 percent said they didn’t know or they refused to answer.
About 60 percent said they did not think the stadium would add time to their commute while 35 percent said it would; and 5 percent didn’t know.
Nearly 60 percent (59 percent) said they had not attended a Braves game in the last year while 22 percent had gone to one or two games. Another 11 percent had attended three to five games while 5 percent had gone to six or more games.
Based on survey results, Cobb County is still solidly Republican — 33 percent considered themselves to be strong Republicans, while 31 percent said they were “not-so-strong Republicans.” Only 18 percent said they were Independent and 13 percent were Democrats.