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Polling shows voters support solar Amendment 1, without understanding what it does

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Most Floridians say they are backing a solar amendment on the ballot this November, even though they may not be entirely sure what it will do.

POLITICO Florida is reporting on a new St. Leo University poll that voters are strongly behind the solar ballot initiative Amendment 1, which claims to give Florida residents the right to own solar devices, while barring utilities from subsidizing those who own those devices.

“Despite the lack of knowledge about what the amendment would actually do, it looks poised for success,” St. Leo University Polling Institute Director Frank Orlando said in a statement. “Support for the amendment continues to climb.”

Pollsters found support for the measure jumped to 84 percent on Sept. 10-16, up from 77 percent in June. Amendment 1 will need 60 percent approval to pass.

Amendment 1 had considerable support from utilities, which contributed $16.4 million to the campaign. Environmental groups have opposed the proposal, calling it “misleading” and actually would inhibit the use of solar energy.

“The utility companies have spent the money to wage a very successful campaign presenting the issue to the public,” Orlando’s statement said, adding that pro alternative-energy groups “have had a much more difficult time marshaling the opposition.”

POLITICO notes a similar poll by the Florida Chamber Political Institute poll shows Amendment 1 getting 66 percent support, although 18 percent of respondents say they were undecided.

Miami Mayor Tomás Regalado held a workshop on “resilience strategies” Thursday to address several environmental issues, including sea level rise, during which he praised the renewable energy ballot initiative that was approved Aug. 30, while warning not to vote for Amendment 1 in November.

Nevertheless, supporters insist the measure does indeed encourage rooftop solar.

“A plain reading of it proves Amendment 1 doesn’t prohibit any approach to solar in Florida,” spokesperson Sarah Bascom told POLITICO.

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