UNF's #1 Student-Run News Source

UNF Spinnaker

UNF's #1 Student-Run News Source

UNF Spinnaker

UNF's #1 Student-Run News Source

UNF Spinnaker

How Duval voters feel about public funding for Jaguars stadium renovations

The University of North Florida’s Public Opinion Research Lab released results from its Jax Speaks Poll last Tuesday.

The poll was conducted from May 21 to May 23. PORL asked 667 Duval County registered voters whether they support or oppose the investment of tax dollars in downtown development, including a $775 million public investment in EverBank Stadium renovations.

PORL asked survey respondents how they’d feel about spending tax dollars to improve downtown Jacksonville, and 39% said investing in downtown was crucial to the city’s growth and development. 

Only 14% said they are firmly against spending public funds on downtown development. 

Although they see the potential benefits, 28% of respondents said they had some reservations about the spending and 19% felt there are better alternative uses for public funds. 

UNF political science professor and PORL Director Michael Binder said he was surprised by the support for downtown spending. 

“In a city where 70% of its residents either never go downtown or do so only a few times per year for leisure, I’m stunned that so many people are committed to downtown investment,” he said.

PORL also asked the respondents if they supported or opposed the $775 million of tax dollars going into stadium construction costs. 58% said they opposed it, 41% expressed support and 1% didn’t know or refused to answer. 

In a hypothetical question, respondents chose between spending $775 million on stadium renovations to keep the Jaguars in Jacksonville or investing that money in other city developments, such as infrastructure improvements, paying off the pension debt and a new county jail. 

Rendering of the new Jaguars stadium (Photo courtesy of the City of Jacksonville)

Most people, 58%, said they’d rather spend the money on other initiatives, while 39% said they’d still want the money to go to stadium renovations. 

“When it really comes down to it, if they had their way, most people would rather spend their tax money on something else besides the stadium,” Binder said. 

Bethley Luctama is a senior UNF student double majoring in English and political science who has worked at PORL since 2022. She was one of the interviewers who collected data for the poll and talked about who usually answered the phone. 

“Based on prior surveys, I’ll tell you this: usually, people who answer are older because they kind of see the importance of gathering the research and conducting research like this,” she said. “Younger people don’t usually have that same compassion to stay on the phone and answer the surveys.”

Luctama’s impression accurately matched the age range of survey respondents. According to the poll’s demographic data, only 9% of respondents were 18-24—the only single-digit percentage of the age groups—while 22% were 65 or older. 

Although survey respondents were older overall, she said there wasn’t much correlation between age and support for the stadium funding. She said people’s opinions depended more on whether they were Jaguars fans.

“I feel like it’s not really dependent on the age group of people. It’s more dependent on whether or not that individual is a Jags fan,” she said. “It’s really interesting reading over it. You kind of see the people who routinely attend the football games—they’re more in support of having those renovations done.”

According to the survey results, 53% of people who support the city’s stadium renovation agreement are Jaguars fans, and 79% of people who oppose the agreement are not.

Luctama initially opposed the spending because she is not a big sports fan, but after learning more about the agreement’s nuances, she changed her mind.

“I think prior to me actually like looking at what was gonna be happening with the renovations. I was against it because I was just like, you know, I’m not an avid football watcher,” she said.

Luctama said she saw things differently after talking to UNF Assistant Vice President of Government Relations Raymond Walker. He pointed out that the city has other goals downtown besides stadium improvements.

“He actually told me it’s more than just that. It would also be pouring into the community,” she said. “They want the funding to also be used for different communities either near the Jags stadium or communities across the county.”

“We can’t deny that having an NFL team has brought … Jacksonville on the map. It’s helped overall with businesses, and it’s helped get our name out there,” Luctama said.

For more information about the poll’s methodology, contact Binder at (904) 620-2784.


For more information or news tips, or if you see an error in this story or have any compliments or concerns, contact [email protected].

Leave a Comment
More to Discover
About the Contributor
Madelyn Schneider
Madelyn Schneider, News Editor

Comments (0)

Spinnaker intends for this area to be used to foster healthy, thought-provoking discussion. Comments are expected to adhere to our standards and to be respectful and constructive. As such, we do not permit the use of profanity, foul language, personal attacks, slurs, defamation, or the use of language that might be interpreted as libelous. Comments are reviewed and will be removed if they do not adhere to these standards. Spinnaker does not allow anonymous comments, and Spinnaker requires a valid email address. The email address will not be displayed but will be used to confirm your comments.
All UNF Spinnaker Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *