Wal-Mart often suggests that only a “vocal minority” doesn’t want them around, but frequently, when asked, the minority turns out to be a majority. In Centerville, Utah, where residents have been actively challenging a Wal-Mart supercenter, a poll released last week found the majority of residents — 73 percent — don’t want the superstore. Wal-Mart is trying to build a superstore just over 200,000 s.f. on 19 acres at Parrish Lane, at the gateway to the city, and abutting a residential retirement development. A citizen’s group, Centerville Citizens First, raised the funds to retain Insight Research of Salt Lake City to interview 400 heads of households in Centerville about their opinions on the Wal-Mart proposal. “There’s no hidden agenda here,” Ray Briscoe of Insight Research told the Deseret News. The interviews with local residents asked negative and positive questions. Briscoe said he had never experienced such intense feelings from a survey. The poll, with an error margin of 4.7 percent, found that 96% of residents interviewed feel the Wal-Mart store is an important or very important issue. Only one in 50 residents want the store badly, while one in six believe the city ought to have a Wal-Mart. More than three out of four residents are opposed to it, and 48% are strongly against it.
Centerville Citizens First undertook the study knowing that the survey could have shown the opposite. But citizen’s group activist George Fisher said that if the study showed residents wanted a Wal-Mart, he would put his home on the market and leave town. Now that the study is done, Fisher can stick around, knowing that he’s in the mainstream of citizen opinion in Centerville. For a complete copy of the study, contact [email protected] For an earlier story on Centerville’s battle, search this database by the city’s name.