The results of the first SurveyUSA Polls conducted for Baristanet this week are just in. Glen Ridgers were asked two questions about next week’s bond referendum in the automated telephone poll conducted Monday and Tuesday nights.
SurveyUSA tells us that 131 likely voters participated, giving the poll a sample error margin of plus or minus 7 percent.
On the first, most controversial, question — whether the town should borrow money to replace the grass at Carteret Field with turf — 80 percent of those asked said NO, 20 percent said YES and none were undecided.
On the second question — whether the town should borrow money to fix municipal buildings and replace the grass at Hurrell Field with turf — respondents were more divided. Some 47 percent of the people who answered the poll answered YES, 52 percent answered NO, 1 percent was undecided. Again, the margin of error was 7 percent.
More information on this poll, including filters for race and gender, can be found here.
The turf issue has been contentious since September, when the borough council hosted a public hearing that filled the Ridgewood Avenue School auditorium with prononents and opponents of the plan.
Contentiousness turned into outright acrimony as the debate continued in council chambers this fall. And hundreds of comments have been posted about the issues on Baristanet.
“I’m happy about Carteret but I want the other one to go down too,” said Kit Schackner, an organizer of Glen Ridge Votes, which collected 1200 signatures to fight the bonds. She said of the council: “They were working in a bell jar and they were utterly blind to the outside world. They couldn’t see the opposition.”
Schackner blames, in part, the town’s reliance on the Civic Conference Committee to produce slates of uncontested candidates for elections. “We have a council and a mayor who operate in a complete vacuum,” she said. “I supported Carl and I am pissed. I think this whole bond ordinance is full of backroom deals.”
Mayor Carl Bergmanson, driving back from a NJ League of Municipalities meeting, commented that it would be wrong to put “too much strength in such a small sample size.”
“I think it’s informative, not definitive,” said Bergmanson.
Bergmanson, who’d talked to town manager Michael Rohal by phone about the Baristanet-SurveyUSA poll, said he was cheered by the large percentage of respondents who said they intended to vote. Of 181 who identified themselves as registered voters, 131 — or 72 percent — said they were likely to vote next Tuesday.
He encouraged all eligible voters to go to the polls on Tuesday.