BUFFALO, NY - The current Bass Pro plan is off, and as it turns out, the public was against the plan before it was killed on Friday afternoon.
An exclusive 2 On Your Side poll reveals that the vast majority of Erie County residents believe Bass Pro was receiving too much public money, and should not be the anchor of Buffalo's inner harbor waterfront.
The scientific telephone poll, conducted by Survey U.S.A., an independent polling company, questioned 500 random Erie County residents, with a 4.3% margin of error.
We asked residents the following questions:
1) Should Bass Pro be the signature store in the Canalside waterfront development project?
Yes - 27%
No - 64%
The rest were not sure.
2) Bass Pro is being offered $35 million in subsidies to come to Buffalo. Is that too much money? Too little money? Or just about the right amount?
Too Much - 80%
Too Little - 5%
Just About Right - 13%
The rest were not sure.
"The (numbers) suggest people have really soured on the whole notion of the Bass Pro project," said Canisius College Political Analyst Michael Haselswerdt. "It's been a long time, and I think the fact that there has been no movement... people are just tired of it."
After nine years of discussions about bringing Bass Pro to Buffalo, without the company actually finalizing the agreement, U.S. Representative Brian Higgins (D-South Buffalo) recently gave the Bass Pro a two-week deadline to ink the deal. Friday, the Erie County Harbor Development Corporation announced that the Bass Pro deal is off.
We spoke to Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown about the poll earlier this week.
REPORTER: Does it concern you when it appears like the vast majority of the public has problems with the Bass Pro agreement?
MAYOR: Well, let me just say the Canalside project is not about Bass Pro. Bass Pro is only about 12 percent of the overall project area. And I can understand the public's frustration... But with that being said is that you can't do economic development based on polls. What the public ultimately wants to see is something get done.
Bass Pro declined to comment. The ECHDC would not provide anyone for an on-camera interview; however, President Tom Dee sent 2 On Your Side the following comment:
"I am not surprised at the poll results given the negative media coverage in recent weeks. A small, vocal minority who oppose progress and the Canal Side project have used lies and misinformation to slant public opinion against Bass Pro. These self-appointed interest groups have misled the public regarding the actual facts:
- Over 109 million people visit Bass Pro Shops 56 retail stores across America and Canada each year.
- 45% more visitors than Major League Baseball
- 73% more visitors than Disney Parks
- More visitors than the NBA, the NFL and NASCAR combined.
"Bass Pro is the number one destination retailer in America, and that is why we have aggressively pursued them for Canal Side."
About the Poll: This poll was conducted by telephone in the voice of a professional announcer. Respondent households were selected at random, using Random Digit Dialed (RDD) sample provided by Survey Sampling, of Fairfield CT. All respondents heard the questions asked identically. The pollster's report includes the geography that was surveyed; the date(s) interviews were conducted, the number of respondents who answered each question and the theoretical margin of sampling error for each question. Where necessary, respondents were weighted using the most recent US Census estimates for age, gender, ethnic origin and region, to align the sample to the population. In theory, one can say with 95% certainty that the results would not vary by more than the stated margin of sampling error, in one direction or the other, had the entire universe of respondents with home telephones been interviewed with complete accuracy. There are other possible sources of error in all surveys that may be more serious than sampling error. These include: the difficulty of interviewing respondents who do not have a home telephone; the refusal by some with home telephones to be interviewed; the order in which questions are asked; the wording of questions; the way and extent to which data are weighted; and the manner in which specialized populations, such as likely voters, are determined. It is difficult to quantify the errors that may result from these and other factors. Research methodology, questionnaire design and fieldwork for this survey were completed by SurveyUSA of Clifton, NJ. This statement conforms to the principles of disclosure of the National Council on Public Polls.
WGRZ, Survey USA