Survey says: Most Rhode Islanders want to keep PawSox in state

Survey says: Most Rhode Islanders want to keep PawSox in state

From left, Gregory Mancini, executive director of BuildRI, Joseph Fleming, Fleming & Associates, James Carr, chairman and president of BuildRI, and Michael Sabitoni, vice chairman of BuildRI, talk about the results of a poll on construction of a new stadium in downtown Pawtucket.

PROVIDENCE – A majority of Rhode Islanders support the construction of a new stadium for the Pawtucket Red Sox, according to the results of an independent survey conducted by Cumberland-based market research agency Fleming & Associates.

The results of the survey were unveiled at a press conference Monday morning in the lobby at One Richmond Square in Providence, home of BuildRI, the labor/management construction sector trade organization that commissioned the poll.

The survey’s results demonstrate that 56 percent of Rhode Island voters support (41 percent oppose) the proposed Pawtucket ballpark.

Conversely, the survey results indicate that 53 percent of participants oppose (40 percent support) the project when not given details of how the proposed ballpark would be financed.

Further, the survey shows that 71 percent of Rhode Island voters feel it is important for the Pawtucket Red Sox to remain in Rhode Island while 76 percent of participants said that Pawtucket, Rhode Island, and the PawSox should all work together to retain the team.

Joe Fleming, of Fleming & Associates, presented the survey’s results and explained the polling process.

“As you can see, when the voters were first told that it was going to cost taxpayers money, but not saying how it was being paid for, they were opposed to it; when it was explained, they were for it,“ said Fleming.

The study included 425 participants composed of Rhode Island registered voters contacted between Feb. 5 and Feb. 8, and its results were presented with a margin of error of plus or minus 4.75 percent.

BuildRI Executive Director Gregory Mancini offered his support for the proposed $83 million downtown Pawtucket baseball stadium to be built along the Blackstone River at the site of the Apex Department Store.

“We believe the proposed ballpark will create hundreds of local jobs for Rhode Islanders, and great business opportunities for Rhode Island companies,” said Mancini, who added that these opportunities would come from not only the park’s construction itself, but also ancillary development.

James Carr, chairman and president of BuildRI, also spoke in support of the proposed stadium.

“There are no new taxes, it’s a good deal for all concerned,” he said.

“Do we really want to lose the one Minor League Baseball team that we have?” Carr asked. “The answer is no. Seventy-one percent of Rhode Islanders don’t want to lose the PawSox.”

Also addressing the crowd was Michael Sabitoni, vice chairman of BuildRI.

“Time is running out, and the PawSox will leave,” said Sabitoni. “And they are not staying in McCoy. This is the only other option. If we don’t get this right, they are gone.”

After the results were announced, Pawtucket Mayor Donald Grebien responded to the survey’s findings, giving a statement in favor of the proposed ballpark.

“It is clear that Rhode Islanders support moving our state forward with this economic development opportunity for Pawtucket and Rhode Island,” he said. “Rhode Islanders are right to be cautious, to ask questions and make sure we are making the right investments. This investment will support the city’s financial and economic development potential, as well as bring in new needed revenue above the current $2 million to the state.”

“When Rhode Islanders learn the facts about the proposal, they support it,” Grebien added. “This will be a public, year-round facility for ball games, entertainment and concerts that pays for itself and is heavily supported through a private investment from the PawSox. This project has been discussed and vetted for over a year, and it is clear that Rhode Island residents agree that this is the right investment and that we need to get this done now.”

The survey asked of the 425 participants seven questions specific to the proposed Pawtucket ballpark, including questions about the importance of retaining the PawSox in Rhode Island, the costs associated with the construction of a new facility, and the nature of the public/private partnership involved in the project. The survey was conducted by phone and sought responses from the “youngest person of voting age who is currently at home.”

Comments

The poll uses the assumptions that the teams revenue projections are met. Completely worthless as far as serving as a poll. As deceitful propaganda it's a winner. I'm starting to think Rhode Island's emotional well being would be served by this group of owners moving the team or selling to an owner that actually cares about RI.