UNF Poll: Voters Favor Sales Tax To Repair, Replace Duval Public Schools

Jun 21, 2019

A UNF poll released Friday finds strong support among surveyed voters to implement a half-cent sales tax to repair or replace aging Duval County public schools.

According to the survey, about 75% of voters support the increase, with 86% of Democrats indicating they would approve the measure and 60% of Republicans favoring it.

“No matter how you slice it, Duval voters are very supportive of the half-cent sales tax increase,” said UNF Public Opinion Research Lab Director Michael Binder in an email to WJCT News.


Duval County Public Schools Superintendent Diana Greene has lobbied for a November special election on the proposed referendum.

"Cities that have decided to invest in public education to support their local public education are cites that are flourishing, cities that are successful," Greene said Thursday on First Coast Connect with Melissa Ross.

But the measure appears likely to be pushed back to the 2020 election. On Tuesday the City Council’s Finance Committee unanimously backed an amendment to put the question before voters in the fall of 2020. 

Meanwhile, the Rules Committee voted 5-2 to defer making a decision on the referendum to next month, which is when the recently elected City Council takes office.

Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry has also gone on record as being against a November special election. He said last month, "The people of Jacksonville need to see more details. I do not support a special election for one referendum."

The UNF Jax Speaks Poll of 1,226 registered voters also looked at a variety of issues beyond the sales tax. Crime was considered the most important issue in Jacksonville for the fifth year in a row, for 45% of respondents.

That was followed by education at 16% and downtown redevelopment at 13%.

The poll’s sampling error rate is plus or minus 2.8%.

Bill Bortzfield can be reached at bbortzfield@wjct.org, 904-358-6349 or on Twitter at @BortzInJax.