The first high-profile public poll on the 1 cent sales tax for transportation in Hillsborough County was published Saturday morning, and it shows the controversial measure winning, 51%-39%, with 10% still undecided.
The poll was was produced for the St. Petersburg Times/Bay News 9. and conducted by American Directions Group, a research company out of Washington D.C., which has a local office in Lakeland.
Broken down, the survey shows solid support among the black community (where the promise of enhanced bus service has been a strong selling point),with 69% of African-Americans in support. 57% of Democrats support it, 56% independents, and 42% of Republicans.
But it shouldn't be overlooked that the poll shows the referendum barely passing with the required 50% majority, with enough undecideds to still make it difficult to predict.
John Hendrix with No Tax For Tracks says that in a traditional election between two candidates, the undecideds usually vote against the incumbent come Election Day, and he's hoping that same theory holds with the transit tax.
"My opinion is that the more informed people are as to fiscal irresponsibilities of the light rail measure, the less likely they'll be inclined to support it," he says.