Press Release for Friday, November 21, 2003

Poll finds strong support for mayor and president

Jacksonville Mayor John Peyton, the City Council, the Better Jacksonville Plan and President Bush got high approval ratings in a poll released today at the University of North Florida.

Conducted through a grant from the Florida Center for Public Policy, 50 students in two political research methods classes and a sociology class asked a series of questions regarding city politics and the satisfaction with the Better Jacksonville Plan. More than 500 Duval County registered voters who voted in the mayor’s race were called using the Center’s Public Opinion Research Laboratory. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.5 percent. The students designed the questions and this study is part of their semester projects for Dr. Matt Corrigan’s research class.

The poll found that Mayor Peyton, the Jacksonville City Council and President Bush all got an approval rating of about 60 percent.

An even greater percentage approved of implementation of the Greater Jacksonville Plan. Nearly 80 percent of respondents said they have recognized improvements in the city as a result of the plan.

About 8 out of every 10 respondents also said they were somewhat or very confident that the Better Jacksonville Plan will result in a better city 20 years from now. Sixty five percent said the improvements in the Better Jacksonville Plan had affected them in a positive way.

The Better Jacksonville Plan was started after voters approved a half cent sales tax increase in 2000. In the poll, voters were reminded that some projects such as the Baseball Grounds and the Arena have been completed on time and on budget. They were also reminded that other projects such as the county courthouse are over budget and not on time. However, overall, 70 percent of voters said they were very or somewhat satisfied with the implementation of the plan.

When the poll results were cross referenced by selected demographics, certain differences were evident.. For example, a racial division was evident when voters were asked about George W. Bush. Nearly three quarters of whites approved of the job he is doing while only one-quarter of blacks held the same opinion of the president.

Both whites and blacks had relatively strong approval ratings of the Jacksonville City Council and the Better Jacksonville Plan.

Predictably, sharp divisions were evident among members of political parties with 89 percent of Republicans approving of the job Bush is doing. Only 37 percent of Democrats held the same opinion. Mayor John Peyton received a somewhat lower approval rating than the president among Republicans (74%) but a somewhat higher approval rating than the president among Democrats ( 52%).

The poll was taken between Nov. 17 and Nov. 19. The full results can be found on the Florida Center web page at


Dr. Matt Corrigan is available for media interviews today by calling the Office of News&Publications at 620-2140