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University Bond Supporters Cautious About Early Poll Success

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CHAPEL HILL — A$3 billion dollar bondto rebuild theUNC systemis an early winner with voters. A newMason-Dixon pollconducted for WRAL-TV shows the massive bond is headed to victory in November.

More than 600 voters across the state were polled. 60 percent are for the bond, 27 percent against. Thirteen percent were undecided.

Proponents of the bond say they still have a lot of work ahead of them. The bond is a chance to erase years of neglect in one fell swoop, and UNC leaders do not want to blow their chance.

"Well, I want those numbers for it to be much higher," saysUNC-CH board of trusteeschairman Anne Cates.

Cates says she wants at least 75 percent of the voters to support the school construction and renovation bond.

"I would love to see the people support it that much, to really care that much," Cates says.

Faculty members atNorth Carolina Central Universitysay their campus is perhaps most in need of help. They would like to see bond support closer to 100 percent.

"More is better than less, and like I said, I expect the numbers to go up. This is the level after really no campaigning or no urging on the part of those of the UNC system," NCCU professor Jarvis Hall says.

North Carolina community collegesthat also stand to gain have been doing their own research. Similar to the Mason-Dixon poll, they have found a little more than half the voters favor the largest bond package in state history.

"I think that's probably a fairly accurate figure. We know we're leading in the polls, and our surveys indicate that. We feel very good about that right now," says Greg Smith, vice-president of continuing education services at Wake Technical Community College.

For the community colleges, any margin of victory will do. Smith says he would be happy with 60-percent support.

Bond supporters say it is early in the campaign season, and the threat of bond opponents mounting a campaign between now and November keeps them cautious.