Mercer, Newtown Macon Poll Shows Wide Support for City-County Consolidation

March 10, 2010

Media Contact:
Mark Vanderhoek
(478) 301-4037

A recent telephone poll of 300 likely general election voters in Bibb County commissioned by Mercer University and NewTown Macon shows broad support for consolidating the Macon and Bibb County governments.

Conducted Feb. 16-17 by Wilson Research Strategies, the poll revealed that nearly two in three (65 percent) Bibb County voters say they support consolidation, while fewer than one in five (19 percent) say they strongly oppose it. Eighty percent of voters in the City of Macon support consolidation and more than half – 51 percent – of voters in unincorporated Bibb County are in favor of the measure. Only one in three – or 36 percent voters -- in unincorporated Bibb County oppose consolidation.

The study’s margin of error is equal to +/- 5.66 percent in 95 out of 100 cases.

“I appreciate Mercer's and NewTown's commitment to finding out the pulse of our community regarding the consolidation issue,” said State Rep. Allen Peake of Macon.  “Clearly, this poll shows that now is the time to give our citizens an opportunity to vote on whether to consolidate Macon and Bibb County.”

Other insights revealed by the poll show that in a new consolidated government, voters overwhelmingly support having an elected sheriff responsible for law enforcement in Bibb County. Seven in 10 – 70 percent – favor an elected sheriff, while fewer than one in seven – 15 percent – prefer an appointed police chief.

Voters also expressed a preference for holding nonpartisan elections for city/county officials in a new consolidated government, with 56 percent of those polled saying they would prefer to vote on candidates without party labels for Bibb County offices, including the mayor, commissioners, coroner, tax commissioner and sheriff.
A bill (H.B. 1161) sponsored by Rep. Peake is currently making its way through the Georgia Legislature that will clear the way for a fall countywide referendum on the issue.

About Mercer University
Founded in 1833, Mercer University is a dynamic and comprehensive center of undergraduate, graduate and professional education. The University enrolls more than 8,000 students in 11 schools and colleges – liberal arts, law, pharmacy, medicine, business, engineering, education, theology, music, nursing and continuing and professional studies – on major campuses in Macon, Atlanta and Savannah and at three regional academic centers across the state. Mercer is affiliated with two teaching hospitals — Memorial University Medical Center in Savannah and the Medical Center of Central Georgia in Macon, and has educational partnerships with Warner Robins Air Logistics Center in Warner Robins and Piedmont Healthcare in Atlanta. The University operates an academic press and a performing arts center in Macon and an engineering research center in Warner Robins. Mercer is the only private university in Georgia to field an NCAA Division I athletic program. For more information, visit www.mercer.edu.

About NewTown Macon
NewTown Macon is a non-profit organization that is dedicated to growing jobs, increasing residents, and creating a sense of place in downtown Macon.  For more information visit www.newtownmacon.com.

About Wilson Research Strategies
Since 1998, Wilson Research Strategies has been a leading provider of political polling for campaigns from mayor and city council to governor and U.S. Senate in 47 states and several foreign countries. WRS’s corporate research arm has provided market research to more than 100 of the Fortune 500 companies and to hundreds of small and medium businesses nationwide.
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