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Trench War for Amendment 4 Votes Continues Across Florida

BRADENTON -- A new Mason Dixon Poll does not bode well for Amendment 4 passage, though a change in language from previous polls raises questions to its validity. The only certainty seems to be that voters still do not fully understand the proposal, a landmark ballot initiative that could change the face of local governments across Florida.

The new poll added a question regarding the financial impact of the proposed amendment which seems to echo the main component of the argument raided by the "No on 4" campaign. Whether the data is reflective of the success of that campaign or a bias in the phrasing is unclear. It does seem clear that the developer backed "No on 4" campaign is making a very strong late-game push and executing a powerful, well-coordinated campaign.

Hometown Democracy, the group who sponsored the initiative, is discounting the poll, saying in a statement, "It is unfortunate that Mason-Dixon admits to changing the wording of the poll question regarding Amendment 4 from previous polling, making it impossible to compare this poll result to previous results and weighting the poll against Amendment 4. The pollster acknowledges adding language that mirrors language being used by opponents to Amendment 4, and we do not see how this can produce a fair result."

Hometown Democracy is trying to use the recent statements by gubernatorial candidate Rick Scott and incoming House speaker Dean Cannon, regarding their aim to dismantle the DCA as further cause to rally the troops. They've also launched a campaign to educate voters on the intended process of deciding the comp plan changes at the next regularly scheduled election, rather than a specially convened one to quell misconceptions to the expenses the amendment would or wouldn't create if passed.

The new poll shows 44% of likely voters favoring its passage, which is down 4 points since the last poll. 20% remain undecided. Because an amendment needs 60% voter support to pass, the undecided votes will obviously decide the success or failure. It is clear that pro-Amendment 4 forces will have to regain the momentum if they are to secure such a large majority of undecided voters amid the obvious lack of understanding that surrounds the proposed measure, not to mention the powerful campaign that is aimed at keeping that from happening.

An interesting side note from my personal observations, when searching Google for information on "Amendment 4", the "No on 4" campaign came up first, while the "Hometown Democracy" page was positioned near the bottom of the page in the number 10 slot. When searching "Amendment 4 Florida," "Hometown Democracy" comes up second, while "No on 4" comes up third. The message of each leaves visitors with VERY different impressions of what the amendment would mean to Floridians if passed, giving the impression that where undecided voters gather their information may be the greatest indication of who wins the battle.


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