Republican county major nominee Weston Wamp said voters in Hamilton County "strongly oppose using taxpayers dollars to build a new baseball stadium for the Lookouts."
He said those responding to the poll "overwhelmingly agree that decisions on the stadium should be put on hold until a new mayor and commission are in place Sept. 1."
County Mayor Jim Coppinger said, “The results of a misleading push poll should not be seen as anything other than a desperate attempt to discredit numerous public meetings and years of hard work that have gone into building something great for the residents of Hamilton County. I wonder what this poll would have shown if respondents had been reminded that not one penny of existing tax dollars will go to fund the stadium and that it could catalyze up to $1 billion in new investment in Chattanooga, over $200 million of which has already been committed?”
The poll was conducted by Spry Strategies after the research was commissioned by the Weston Wamp campaign.
Ryan Burrell, president and founder of Spry Strategies, said, "I have run hundreds of polls on issues that centered around building pro stadiums funded, at least in part, by taxpayer funds, from a new baseball stadium for the Florida Marlins in Miami, the Braves moving the stadium from Fulton County to Cobb County and most recently the new stadium for Knoxville Smokies.
“The proposition of a new stadium for the Chattanooga Lookouts funded by taxpayer dollars is overwhelmingly opposed by both city and county voters.The opposition crossed important demographics including gender, ethnicity, and party affiliation.
“Anyone who would say this is anything less than a scientific survey and remotely suggesting this was a push poll is simply wrong.”
Key takeaways from the poll are:
- 65% of voters believe the decision should be put on hold until after Sept. 1 while 18% say the project should not be put on hold.
- 34.7% of voters strongly oppose the project versus 14.7% who strongly support it. Overall, 58% oppose the stadium while 31% support it. 11% have no opinion.
- 90% of voters believe Chattanooga has a gang problem, including 62% who strongly believe there is a gang problem. Only 5% do not believe there is a gang problem.
Mr. Wamp said, “As for the stadium, I will continue to stand with the taxpayers of Hamilton County. We commissioned a true, scientific poll using the most reputable polling firm in Tennessee to demonstrate to elected officials that the public is far from on board with this massive stadium proposal.
"Ryan Burrell and the team at Spry Strategies have conducted polls in 39 states in 2022 for clients including Florida Gov. Ron Desantis and Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp."
The Hamilton County General and Policy Survey conducted 406 interviews with a survey design of 300 Live Caller / IVR Landline and 100 Online Mobile Interviews from July 5-7. The scientific random poll sampled 22,000 likely county mayor general election voters who voted in at least one of the last three contested county mayor general elections elections. The survey has a margin of error of +/- 4.1 percentage points. Results are weighted. Some percentages in crosstab reports for this poll may not add to 100% due to rounding, officials said.