Gas tax, mayoral race and Jaguars analyzed in new UNF poll

The UNF Poll shows that residents are opposed to paying more at the pump, but would support individual projects within the mayor’s proposed gas tax.

The UNF Public Opinion Research Lab released the results of a new poll conducted from May 11 to May 16, 2021. The poll, which was released on May 18, asked respondents about the gas tax, local officials, the 2023 mayoral race and the Jaguars.

The poll shows that 58% of respondents opposed the Mayor’s proposed gas tax, which would be used to fund infrastructure projects across the city. However, respondents favored some of the infrastructure projects without the tax, most notably septic tank phase out, with 68% approval.

JTA’s skyway improvements, which if fully funded would utilize $390 million of gas tax revenue, were poorly received by the public, with 34% of respondents saying no money should be spent on the project, the emerald trail landed somewhat better, with 54% of the public agreeing with spending $150 million on the project.

 “An enormous majority, 87%, think that less money should be allocated to the Skyway than the original proposal, many of whom think the number should be zero,” said Binder, the faculty director of the UNF Public Opinion Research Lab. “The Emerald Trail fared somewhat better, but voters aren’t terribly excited about spending money on either project.” 

In a showdown that could lead to one of the most competitive mayoral elections since Mayor Curry was elected in 2013, the poll showed Democrat Donna Deegan besting Republican Matt Carlucci by 1% in a hypothetical match up. While Carlucci has already announced, Deegan has been theorized to be thinking of a run.

“Although it’s still very far out from the election, it is interesting to see a relatively even split between Democrat Donna Deegan and Republican Matt Carlucci,” Binder commented. “It will be even more interesting to see how these numbers change over the next two years, as more candidates throw their hats into the ring.” 

Other hypothetical candidates included former Mayor Alvin Brown at 14%, Jax Chamber President Daniel Davis at 6% and Joyce Morgan at 5%. 20% of respondents said they would vote for someone else and 13% said they didn’t know.

Respondents were also asked about the Jacksonville Jaguars, with Shad Khan receiving a 48% approval rating. As discussions loom on the future of the stadium and Lot J, look for these numbers to become more important.

The poll included 1,263 registered voters in Duval County and has a margin of error of 2.8 percentage points.

The full report can be accessed here.