UNF poll: Most Jacksonville voters want Confederate statues to stay


JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Just over half of all registered voters in Duval County oppose removing Confederate statutes from public spaces, while a majority of Democratic and black voters favor their removal, according to a new poll by the University of North Florida's Public Opinion Research Laboratory.

The political divide is steep, with the research finding 83 percent of Republican voters oppose removing the statues, while 56 percent of registered Democrats said they want the statues moved.

A similar split is found along racial lines, with 68 percent of white voters opposing removal, while 62 percent of black voters wanting them gone.

“With these sizable partisan and racial differences on this issue, I just hope that emotions stay in check and ultimately we come to a resolution that everybody can live with,” faculty director Dr. Michael Binder wrote in a release accompanying the UNF poll results.

Other issues covered by the poll include job approval ratings for Jacksonville local leaders and City Council, as well as issues of local crime and homelessness.

Mayor Lenny Curry continues his strong job approval number since he’s been in office, as 69 percent of voters strongly or somewhat approve of the job he’s doing. Even Jacksonville City Council has high approval numbers: 50 percent approve and only 26 percent disapprove.

When asked about Sheriff Mike Williams' approval rate, 67 percent of Duval County registered voters strongly or somewhat approve of how he’s performing his job. Like the mayor, the sheriff’s job approval crosses partisan lines as Republicans have 82 percent overall approval, while Democrats aren’t that far behind with 60 percent approval.

State Attorney Melissa Nelson shows a 55 percent job approval almost a year into her first term, with only 13 percent disapproval, as almost a third of registered voters didn't offer an opinion. Public Defender Charlie Cofer has only 36 percent approval and 14 percent disapproval rate, however, 50 percent of the voters didn't offer an opinion.

“All of Duval’s political leaders have extremely high job approval numbers,” Binder said. “Contrast this level of satisfaction with what’s happening in Washington right now, and downtown looks like a political paradise.”

For the third consecutive year, Jacksonville residents -- 40 percent of registered voters -- view crime as the most important problem facing the city. Women are more likely than men to believe crime is the most important problem facing Jacksonville. Fully half of the women in the sample see crime as the most important problem, whereas only 28 percent of men in the sample feel the same.

Regarding the homeless population in Jacksonville, 65 percent of registered voters in Duval County believe the city is doing too little to reduce homelessness. Another topic of interest concerning the City Council is funding a public pool at UNF. Support for committing city funds to build a public pool at the University is at 72 percent of the overall sample.

Click for detailed poll methodology and crosstabs by party registration, gender, education and race.