UNF poll shows strong opposition for funding of new Jags stadium, voters split on property tax increase

Lauren Fox, Managing Editor

A new poll of likely primary voters in Duval County released Wednesday by the University of North Florida (UNF) Public Opinion Research Lab (PORL) showed a split among party lines regarding a proposed property tax increase to fund Duval County schools.

The poll was made of a random sample of 491 registered Duval voters, asking about a proposed property tax increase, Jacksonville’s upcoming election for sheriff, Jacksonville’s 2023 mayoral race and a proposal for Jacksonville to split the cost of a new Jaguars stadium.

Property tax increase for schools

The August 23 primary election will include a referendum asking voters if they are for or against increasing property taxes to fund Duval County schools. The find would go toward increasing teacher pay and program improvements.

The poll showed a significant split among party lines, with 71% of Democrats supporting the proposal, and 63% of Republicans opposing it. 

Jacksonville, Florida
Jacksonville, Florida. (Lance Asper/Unsplash)

Overall, 51% percent of respondents said they would vote in favor of the millage increase, with 45% indicating a vote against it.

“I thought it would be polling higher, but it’s not entirely surprising to see a partisan split here, especially since public education has become so politicized the last couple years,” commented Dr. Michael Binder, PORL faculty director and UNF professor of political science in a press release. 

Election for Sheriff

When asked who they planned to vote for in the upcoming special election for a new Jacksonville Sheriff, 41% of respondents planned to vote for TK Waters (R) followed by Lakesha Burton (D) 39%. 

Democratic Candidates Ken Jefferson was the choice for 8% of respondents, followed by Tony Cummings with 5% and Wayne Clark with 4%. 

“With TK Waters and Lakesha Burton neck-in-neck in a crowded field, there’s a good chance this race will go to a runoff in November,” Binder said in the prepared statement. “If that happens, it will add a very competitive local race to the midterm elections.”

2023 Mayoral race

Donna Deegan (D) was the most popular choice, with 31% of respondent support. Daniel Davis (R) came in second with 11% and Audrey Gibson with 10%. Twenty percent of respondents said they don’t know or refused to answer.

Respondents were asked to choose from a list of candidates who have either already filed to run for mayor or have publicly expressed that they intend to. 

“We’re still seven months out and this list of candidates will undoubtedly change as we get closer to the mayoral race in 2023,” said Binder. “For now, at least, Donna Deegan is the clear frontrunner with a 20-point lead.”

Jaguars stadium

Most respondents opposed spending $850 million of public funds on a new stadium for the Jacksonville Jaguars, with 80% of people saying they were against it and 19% for it.

The poll also asked about voter feelings on spending $375 million of public funds on a new roof for the current stadium, to which 32% of respondents said they supported.

Trevor Lawrence in a red uniform and black helmet gets ready to throw a football
Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence #16 running through some drills at training camp in Jacksonville, Florida.

“Not much has changed since the last time we polled on this issue in February when most Duval voters opposed splitting the $1 billion cost of a new stadium,” Binder wrote in the UNF press release. “Folks seem slightly more open to spending taxpayer dollars on a new roof but still a wide majority are opposed. Although a few more wins by the Jags could certainly change these numbers a little.”


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