Tax-cut amendment behind in poll
Published: Monday, January 21, 2008 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Monday, January 21, 2008 at 12:06 a.m.
Just 45 percent of likely Florida voters support a tax-relief proposal being pushed by Gov. Charlie Crist, a poll out Sunday found.
The level of support reflected in the survey conducted by the South Florida Sun-Sentinel and the Florida Times-Union is far below the threshold needed to pass the measure at the polls during the Jan. 29 presidential primary.
Amendment 1 requires 60 percent support among voters because it would change the state Constitution.
The phone poll of 500 likely voters was conducted by Maryland-based Research 2000 Monday through Wednesday last week. Although 45 percent of those questioned said they would likely vote for the plan, 34 percent said they likely would not and the remaining 21 percent said they were undecided.
The poll has a margin of error of 4.5 percent.
Lance DeHaven-Smith, a political science professor at Florida State University, said voters who are undecided about ballot initiatives are much more likely to vote no.
"When there are a lot of questions being raised, voters tend to decide not to take a chance and vote it down," DeHaven-Smith said. "They then say it wasn't that good of proposal anyway."
Organized opposition from local government officials, police officers, firefighters and teachers will also hurt the initiative, DeHaven-Smith said. And once an initiative goes down in the polls, as this amendment has, it seldom goes back up, he said.
The proposed amendment would double exemptions on primary homes to $50,000 except for school taxes. It would put a 10 percent assessment cap on other properties, such as businesses, rentals and second homes.
The amendment would also let homeowners take at least part of the benefits they get from the existing 3 percent assessment cap on primary homes when they move. And it would give businesses a $25,000 exemption for equipment and other property.
Crist disputed the poll results and said he has confidence that undecided voters will eventually favor reform.
"We are going to have to work hard, but at the end of the day when people go in and vote on the 29th, who isn't going to want to cut their property taxes?" Crist said.
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