In this analysis I have rounded all numbers to the nearest tenth of one percent.
I have analyzed the polling data accumulated by two recent Zogby polls of Fort Wayne residents in regards to Harrison Square and the results should scare elected officials who support Harrison Square (at least those sticking around to run in November) and it should equally intimidate those Republican and Democratic City Council candidates who have publicly supported the Harrison Square Project.
The first Zogby poll I analyzed was conducted 3/27/07 – 3/29/07 in Fort Wayne and had a margin of error of 5%. 401 “Likely voters” were asked a series of questions. Of this group of voters:
15% were self identified Democrats
64.6% were self identified Republicans
20% were self identified Independents
.5% were self identified Libertarians
The second poll I analyzed was compiled by Zogby on 7/26/07 in Fort Wayne and had a margin of error of 4.1%. 601 “likely voters” were asked a series of questions. Of this group of voters:
30.6% were self identified Democrats
41.8% were self identified Republicans
27.4% were self identified Independents
.2% were self identified Libertarians
Both Zogby polls asked the exact same question of likely voters; “do you support or oppose the Harrison Square downtown development as proposed by the City of Fort Wayne?”
In the first poll the results were:
Support the HS Project 31.6%
Oppose the HS Project 54.0%
Not Sure 14.5%
In the second poll the results were:
Support the HS Project 26.8%
Oppose the HS Project 65.8%
Not Sure 07.4%
The results show several important things that should be noted by the Mayor’s office, the City Councilmen who supported Harrison Square, the Democratic and Republican candidates for City Council who support the Harrison Square Project, and for Democratic Mayoral candidate Tom Henry who also supports the Harrison Square Project.
First is the fact that almost 5 “likely voters” oppose the project for every 2 “likely voters” who support the Harrison Square project.
Second is the fact that the number of “likely voters” who oppose the project grew by 11.8%.
Third is the fact that the number of undecided people dropped from 14.5% to 7.4%.
Fourth is the fact that “likely voters” who considered themselves Democratic showed the largest change in their opposition to the project. In the first Zogby poll 60 Democratic “likely voters” were asked about Harrison Square; 49.3% supported the project, 36.7% opposed the project, and 13.9% were uncertain. The second Zogby poll included 184 self identified Democrats; 31.5% supported the project, 61% oppose the project, and 7.5% are unsure about the Harrison Square Project.
The Harrison Square Project is very unpopular with “likely voters” in Fort Wayne and that should worry politicians and City officials; however, they really do not seem to care. The more information that is revealed to the public about the project the more unpopular it has become. At this point the voters only have one method they can use to ensure that the City of Fort Wayne stops creating boondoggles like Harrison Square. The citizens of Fort Wayne need to vote this November and they need to elect new representatives who will actually listen to their constituents.
There are several races that could well be affected by the overall level of dissatisfaction that the Zogby polls indicate about the Harrison Square project.
The most visible race is the race for Fort Wayne Mayor. Republican Matt Kelty has continually spoken against the Harrison Square Project and this should help his bid for Mayor. His opponent, Democrat Tom Henry has come out in favor of the project and I think that will hurt his campaign for Mayor.
There are 25 people currently vying for City Council; nine Republicans, eight Libertarians, and eight Democrats. All eight Libertarians oppose the project and this stance should help them connect with voters. A majority of the Democrats and Republicans support the Harrison Square Project; however, a minority oppose the project and this minority should benefit from their stance.
I think it is time that the voters of Fort Wayne take a more active roll in our community and support and elect representatives who will vote based on the desires of their constituents rather then the desires of a few real estate developers!
Mike Sylvester, CPA