Support for referendum to ‘Stop the Lens’ drops significantly in latest poll

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While it’s place on an upcoming ballot looks increasingly secure, a referendum to cancel the contract for the design of ‘The Lens’ has lost significant momentum from a month ago, while still commanding a majority of voters’ support.

The new numbers are part of a new survey from St. Pete Polls commissioned by this blog.

When asked if the city “should terminate the contract with Michael Maltzan Architecture for design and construction services for the new Pier”, 53% of respondents agreed. That’s down from fourteen points from a similar poll taken on May 1 when 67% of respondents said they would “vote yes to terminate the Lens Pier project.”

Support for “The Lens” remained constant from the last survey, with approximately 28% of city voters expressing support for the project in both polls.

While opposition to “The Lens” remains strong, opponents of the project may have to question why support for their referendum has dropped so rapidly in such a short period of time. If anything, one would think support for the “Stop the Lens” initiative would have stabilized now that the issue appears likely to be on the August 27 ballot.

Yet, these survey results indicate that support for the referendum is headed in the opposite direction. This is what I’ve argued (mostly in private to pro-Lens folks) would happen all along. Opposition to “The Lens” was comprised of several factions, including those simply wanted to “save” the current Pier. Now that that is no longer an option, the “savers” have to decide if they now want to be “stoppers”.

So far, enough “savers” have aligned with the “stoppers” to make it increasingly likely “The Lens” will not be built. But how will “savers” and the rest of undecided voters cast their ballot once they come to terms with the idea that a “Yes” vote on the referendum means there won’t be any Pier for years more than if the city moves forward with building “The Lens.” 

Is any pier — even once as controversial as “The Lens” — better than no pier at all?

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including,,, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.