UNF students polling voters on city election

Who will you vote for and why in Jacksonville's upcoming election?

By Jim Piggott - Reporter

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - In less than a month, Jacksonville will be voting for its next mayor, sheriff and City Council members. And right now, a group of students at the University of North Florida is finding out how you plan to vote.

The students are polling for the upcoming election, and the results are usually a good indicator of the issues and who could be elected.

They will be polling for about a week, calling people in town to find out who they plan to vote for in the mayor and sheriff races. But they hope to find out much more than who you are voting for -- they are trying to learn why.

"The issues of the day. The things that are important to them," said UNF political science professor Mike Binder. "If there are certain issues. If they are willing for tax increases for this or that. We want to know what people are thinking."

Taxes, pension and the environment are all topics being surveyed. And the results not only help in finding out where we stand for the election but how people who live here feel about the direction Jacksonville is taking.

"Government is not a one-way street," Binder said. "Yes, we have an election in March and we will have runoffs in May. But that is not the end of the process. These folks are elected for four years while we give our option in March and May. They need to know what's on the city's mind."

Binder said it's early in the polling, but with seven candidates in the sheriff's race, it's hard for people to know them all. He said that will play a factor in the survey and, more importantly, in the election.

"It's too early to talk about surprises," Binder said. "We just had a day of calling. Once we get into this more we will have more trends and a better idea."

The polling is also a learning experience for the students involved. They are studying government and other related subjects, and the project gives them a chance to interact with the public.

Results will be out toward the end of next week, and News4Jax will report those when they're released.

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