After a recent poll indicated a majority of N.C. voters support the $3.1 billion bond referendum but that many are still undecided, bond proponents are stepping up their efforts as Election Day nears.
The News & Observer and WRAL-TV sponsored a poll released Monday showing 58 percent of likely voters supported the bond while 25 percent were opposed and 17 percent were still undecided.
Funding from the bond will pay for facility repairs and capital needs for UNC-system universities and the state's community colleges.
Reyna Walters, student outreach coordinator with North Carolinians for Educational Opportunity, the leading group pushing for passage of the bond, said the poll's results show lower support then any previous data she has seen.
"Those are actually the lowest numbers (for a poll) that I've heard of so far," Walters said.
Leslie Bevacqua, director of the North Carolinians for Educational Opportunity, said the group will continue with the same strategy established at the campaign's start.
"We're following our plan to increase media coverage in the last two weeks," Bevacqua said. "You'll definitely see more ads on TV, on the radio - to drive home the message."
J.B. Milliken, UNC-system vice president of public affairs, said the push for the bond is going to be amplified in the next two weeks to target the people who are still undecided.
"People will notice an intensification of the grass roots efforts," Milliken said.
"(The bond push) is going on on all the campuses, as well as being sponsored by the county organizations."
But both Walters and Bevacqua say the bond issue is complex and nothing is certain.
"Because on something like the bond, there are so many issues connected to it we need to make sure that people know the bond and make sure they know to find it on the ballot," Bevacqua said.
Student leaders at UNC also emphasized at a meeting Tuesday night that they must continue to inform students about the bond - especially those who are undecided.
At the beginning of the meeting, Chris McClure, chairman of the group, mentioned the recent poll but said despite the favorable results, the group will not change its campaign strategy.
"It looks like the numbers are great but we're not going to let up any," McClure said.
During the meeting, the members of the group planned various activities to foster support for the bond, including flier distribution at various campus events, a table in the Pit, signs posted at various locations across Chapel Hill and perhaps a "bond cart" that will transport students from the Pit to the Morehead Planetarium voting site.
McClure added that at this point the campaign will focus mostly on students who have not heard about the bond.
"We're really targeting the undecided and the uniformed voters," McClure said. "Most people that have heard about the bond know how they will vote."
McClure added that he thinks the most recent polls were most representative of the true attitudes of the state's voters.
But even in light of polls, Bevacqua said the push for the bond will continue until the election on Nov. 7.
"I never count on any poll until the final one - Election Day."
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