Last night, Insight Communication’s cn|2 news website released a poll concerning the opinions of 502 Louisville voters and, wouldn’t ya know it, there are plenty of interesting factoids and datums worth synthesizing.
The poll was conducted by Braun Research of Princeton, NJ, which appears to be some sort of glorified telemarketing firm based upon some cursory internet searching, and despite some apparent inaccuracies — i.e., only 1.8 percent of African Americans support Republican mayoral candidate Hal Heiner; Current Mayor Jerry Abramson enjoys a whopping 73.2 percent approval rating — it doesn’t mean we should throw the baby out with the political bathwater, eh?
It also contains the first concrete opinion data regarding the $4.1 billion Ohio River Bridges Project to be gathered in well over a year — and the results are interesting, to say the least.
Just over 50 percent of Louisville voters support building an East End bridge more than any other possible combination of the massive public works project only 17.3 percent support building a downtown bridge; 14.5 percent (including Democratic mayoral candidate Greg Fischer) want both built; and 10.1 percent don’t want either.
Republican mayoral candidate and Metro Councilman Hal Heiner, R-19, who advocated downsizing the project as part of his “Five ideas for Louisville’s Future,” appears to coincide with mainstream opinion regarding one of the biggest issues in the race.
As a result, the Say NO to Bridge Tolls Facebook group issued a press release on the subject, pointing out the obvious lack of public support for the project:
“With only 14.5% support for the current Bridges Project, we call on our public officials to recognize the overwhelming will of the people and downsize this project immediately” said Dan Borsch, co-founder of Say NO to Bridge Tolls.
The poll also surveyed voters on the issue of bridge tolls and found that 61.3% would not pay more than $1 dollar as a toll.
Responding to the issue of tolls Dan Borsch said “Voters in Louisville recognize that tolling bridges to fund a risky financial plan is not worth it. We are calling on Greg Fischer, Jackie Green and Hal Heiner to renounce tolls as a funding source for this project.”
Earlier this week, the folks at Say NO Bridge Tolls praised Heiner for expressing a desire to divide the project into phases:
Say NO Bridge TOLLS was pleased to see Louisville, Kentucky mayoral candidate Hal Heiner’s acknowledgment that the $3 tolls being proposed should be an issue in this mayoral election. It was forward thinking and encouraging for Heiner to take the courageous step of being open to “streamlining the project to an affordable level” while not abandoning the project altogether.
Shawn Reilly, co-founder of Say NO to Bridge Tolls said “I am pleased to see Hal Heiner taking a progressive stance on the Ohio River Bridges Project that is more in line with our goal of reducing the design and scope of the Project into phases, that can be financed without tolls and connects our communities in a reasonable and affordable way”
We’re calling on candidates Greg Fischer and Jackie Green to follow Heiner’s lead by modifying their platforms on the Ohio River Bridges Project and calling on all candidates for public office to take a stand against tolls on our existing bridges. It’s vital for Louisville’s future to reduce the scope of the Project into phases that don’t require any tolls.
Regarding the issue of tolling, it shouldn’t be surprising that the vast majority of those polled (48.5 percent) would prefer to pay one dollar or less. Only 10.2 percent would prefer to pay $2-$3 tolls — that being the figure closest to the $3 toll figure suggested by the Bi-State Bridges Authority — which is still less than the 12.8 percent who don’t want to pay shit.
The poll also revealed that 61.2 percent of those surveyed subscribe to a daily paper, which is another way of saying those people read the Courier-Journal (or A Kentucky Newspaper, depending on your preferred snark-level). So even though the vast majority of respondents read the musings of a River Fields-friendly editorial board, the city appears to reject the very project that editorial board has championed from day-one.