Pinellas County voters may be giving thumbs up to the Greenlight Pinellas transit referendum — by a three-point margin of 48-45% — according to the latest StPetePolls survey, but compared to a similar survey in April, support for the proposal seems to be sagging.
On June 4, StPetePolls asked 755 registered Pinellas County voters their feelings on the Greenlight Pinellas Plan, which seeks to improve public transportation with expanded bus service, local passenger rail and regional connections, paid for with county sales tax increases of one percent.
Nearly half of respondents — 48% — said yes to the 1% sales surtax; with just under 45% saying no; 7% are unsure.
However, a StPetePolls survey conducted on April 24 had nearly seven in 10 (68%) likely Pinellas County voters agreeing the area needs better transportation options; only 20% said it does not and 11% were unsure.
Asked if they were willing to pay more in taxes for transit options, voter support dropped to just 42%; more than half of respondents (51%) said no.
Then they were questioned if they “support or oppose the proposed referendum to increase the sales tax by one cent to build a light rail system and expand bus service in Pinellas County.”
When it was put that way, more than 53% said yes, 40% said no and 7% were undecided.
In the June survey, opinions on Greenlight Pinellas fall roughly along partisan lines, with nearly 60% of Republicans opposed, up from 41% disapproval in April. And while over 61% of Democrats support the proposal this time, in the previous poll, it was more than 72%.
Independents are now somewhat split on the idea, with 47% approving and 45% against it; 8% are undecided. Last time, it was 63% approve and 27% opposed.
In November, voters will be asked to approve an additional one-percent sales tax, raising it from 7 to 8 percent, to be used for upgraded bus service countywide and the construction of a light-rail corridor from St. Petersburg to Clearwater Beach.
The poll of likely voters, commissioned by SaintPetersBlog.com with a margin of error 3.6% at 95% confidence level.