Polling Institute Tests Floridians Views on Ballot Proposals

June 28, 2016

A June poll of Floridians by the Saint Leo University Polling Institute (http://www.polls.saintleo.edu) found voting residents leaning toward approving five ballot measures that would grant limited approval of use of medical marijuana, support of alternative energy sources, and property tax help for some residents.  Voters will encounter one of the measures on the ballot at the August 30 primary to determine major-party candidates for the U.S. Senate contest, and the other four on their ballots at the November 8 general election.

All the measures polled favorably, with support from more than half of the 500 statewide residents surveyed in the online poll, and from the even more telling cross-section of 459 likely voters. Still, sentiment could shift between now and the voting times, and there are significant pluralities of voters surveyed who said they were unsure, noted Frank Orlando, political scientist and institute director.  In the case of all the ballot proposals, 60 percent of the electorate have to vote in favor for the measure to pass.

The measure voters will consider first, on August 30, proposes creating tax breaks for businesses that install and use renewable energy devices, such as solar panels.  It would take effect in 2018 and last for 20 years. The proposal is coming before voters through the action of the state Legislature, which voted through joint resolution to have the public decide the matter.

The Saint Leo survey asked likely voters statewide to indicate their position and found:

Florida Ballot Measure for August 30

Support - %

Oppose - %

Unsure - %

Provides property tax exemptions for renewable energy devices – Amendment 4

68.2%

7.2%

24.6%

 

Orlando commented that the amendment is straightforward and faces little opposition.

Of the ballot measures voters will decide on November 8, two landed on the ballot as a result of citizen petition drives---the ones concerning solar energy equipment for personal use and the one permitting limited use of medical marijuana. The ones about property tax treatment for disabled first responders and for certain senior citizens were referred by the state Legislature.

 Florida Ballot Measures November 8

Support - %

Oppose - %

Unsure - %

Grants Florida residents the right to own or lease equipment that produces solar energy for personal use – Amendment 1

77.3%

6.8%

15.9%

Grants the right to use marijuana for the treatment of certain ailments when recommended by a physician – Amendment 2

65.1%

21.4%

13.5%

Provides property tax exemptions for first responders disabled in the line of duty –  Amendment 3

71.5%

9.8%

18.7%

Locks home values in place for senior citizens eligible for property tax breaks – Amendment 5

65.8%

10.2%

24.0%

 

Orlando said that the politics of Amendment 1 are “interesting because it is being supported by the large energy companies. Editorials have railed against the bill, but as of yet, opponents haven't mobilized to stop the measure.” 

He added that, “Both tax bills, for first responders injured in the line of duty (Amendment 3), and for senior citizens (Amendment 5), are flying under the radar and are unlikely to be rejected.”  In the case of Amendment 3, there is currently a tax relief measure in place only for surviving survivors of first responders, not the responders themselves, so the amendment expands the number of households that can benefit. Amendment 5 would provide a financial cushion to homeowners who have lived in their homes for the last 25 years if those residences are now valued at less than $250,000. The measure would allow them to keep existing tax exemptions they have for those homes, even if the actual market value of their homes rises to more than $250,000 in the future.

“​The most contentious ballot proposal, once again, will deal with medical marijuana, “ Orlando said. “The demographics for this proposal would seem to be more favorable than they were in 2014 (when a similar proposal was narrowly defeated), with a general election electorate usually trending a bit younger.  It just missed out last time, and it looks like there will be even more money spent supporting it this cycle. Given our results, it's better than even money to pass right now, but a lot can happen between now and November.”