St. Johns County poll shows support for school-related sales tax hike

charter schools 2 (Large)

A new Susquehanna Polling and Research poll of 322 registered St. Johns County voters indicates a general consensus that St. Johns County is on the “right track,” that SJC residents are happy with their school system, and that they are willing to incur an additional half-cent sales tax, via referendum, to maintain the quality of the system.

Of those polled, a staggering 65% said that SJC is headed in the right direction, as opposed to just 21% who believe the county is on the wrong track.

Poll respondents also said that, among a panoply of possible priorities, that education is the number two issue facing the county today, behind transportation and growth, the latter of which is seen as a potential threat to the school system’s recent success.

Resounding majorities, of over 80% in both cases, rated St. Johns County education as “good” or “excellent,” and in fact of a superior quality to that in surrounding counties.

Out of a list of possible taxes, including property and gasoline taxes, a plurality of respondents indicated they would be most comfortable with a sales tax hike.

Strong majorities of respondents (64% to 19% and 69% to 8% respectively) indicated approval of the jobs that the St. Johns County Commission and School Board are doing.

As well, the vast majority (71%) of respondents was aware of the November 3rd “county-wide ballot referendum asking voters to either vote “yes” or “no” to raise the county sales tax by one-half cent to raise new revenue exclusively to fund new construction, reconstruction and improvement of school facilities, including safety and security improvements and technology upgrades.”

76% of voters are “extremely intent” on voting, and as of now, approval for the referendum stands at 53%, with 40% currently opposed to the ballot measure.

The most compelling arguments for the measure, which is estimated to cost the average SJC resident $92 a year, include ensuring the district’s superiority to other districts in the region, as a mechanism to attract good jobs.

The poll also market tested a variety of potential slogans for the ballot initiative. The resounding favorite of poll respondents:  Better Schools. Better Economy. Brighter Future.

Regarding respondents to the poll, a full 67% were Republican, and 54% self-identified as Conservative.

79% were “4X” voters, and the margin of error of the poll is 5%.


A.G. Gancarski

A.G. Gancarski has been a correspondent for since 2014. In 2018, he was a finalist for an Association of Alternative Newsweeklies "best political column." He can be reached at [email protected]


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