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UNF Poll: Most Are Against RNC In Jacksonville But Support School Sales Tax

Downtown Jacksonville and the VyStar Memorial Veterans Arena, where part of the RNC will be held, are pictured.
Downtown Jacksonville and the VyStar Memorial Veterans Arena, where part of the RNC will be held, are pictured.

Some city leaders may be ecstatic that Jacksonville will host part of the Republican National Convention in August, but the majority of residents are less than thrilled by the idea, according to a new University of North Florida public opinion poll, which touched on a wide array of topics.

The poll, released Wednesday, found 58% of those surveyed do not support bringing the RNC to Jacksonville.

Poll director Michael Binder told WJCT News the opposition to the convention spans all political stripes.

Among registered Republicans polled, 19% were either somewhat or strongly opposed to Jacksonville's hosting the Republican National Convention.

"And Democrats, unsurprisingly, are extraordinarily opposed. But also independents – you know, NPAs and the others – they are very much opposed to this as well," Binder said.

When voters were asked whether they’re concerned about the spread of COVID-19 during the convention, 71% said they are, although two-thirds of those polled said it will have a positive impact on Jacksonville’s economy.


Among those surveyed, 45% approved of Mayor Lenny Curry's job performance, while 49% said they disapproved of the job he’s doing.
The poll also asked voters for their opinions on a number of local issues, including whether they are for or against the half-cent sales tax to increase support for public schools. 70% were for the tax, with 30% against. The question will be on the local ballot in November.

“The half-cent sales surtax for local schools is receiving a tremendous amount of support,” Binder said. “It also bodes well for the prospect of passing that the support levels for registered voters is nearly identical to the likely voter estimates.”

The poll also found support for non-violent protests and demonstrations in Jacksonville is high, with 82% strongly or somewhat supporting them. That support drops dramatically when asked about violent protests in Jacksonville, with just 17% supporting.

Local voters were also asked about the job performance of several elected officials, the biggest issue facing Jacksonville, race relations, Confederate statues and the upcoming presidential election. Complete poll results are available here.

The polling sample was made up of 2,524 registered Duval County voters and has a margin of error of +/-1.95%, according to UNF.

Bill Bortzfield can be reached at or on Twitter at @BortzInJax. Contact reporter Cyd Hoskinson at, 904-358-6351 and on Twitter at @cydwjctnews.

Cyd Hoskinson began working at WJCT on Valentine’s Day 2011.
Bill joined WJCT News in September of 2017 from The Florida Times-Union, where he served in a variety of multimedia journalism positions.