Change a few words, and opposition to "The Lens" shrinks considerably. Saintpetersblog.com discovered that by commissioning Stpetepolls.org to rephrase a question asked before in robocalls to St. Petersburg registered voters.
The Lens is the proposed replacement to the existing St. Petersburg Pier. Earlier polls showed 67 percent support if the question is whether to "Stop the Lens."
But that shrinks to 52 percent support if the question is whether to terminate the architectural contract with Michael Maltzan, the creator of the Lens.
"Maybe people aren't familiar with who Michael Maltzan is," pollster Matt Florell told FOX 13 News, adding the shrinkage went to the "undecided" column.
Support for the Lens remained unchanged, regardless of how the question is worded.
"Incredibly stable at around 30 percent or just under 30 percent," Florell said. "Hasn't really moved in a year."
A group called Concerned Citizens of St. Petersburg has collected more than 20,000 signatures of registered voters on a petition calling for a referendum.
"The Stop the Lens group has had the word ‘Lens' in everything that they do -- all of their marketing, the outreach, the T-shirts, the buttons -- everything is Stop the Lens," Florell said.
However, those words will not appear in any actual ballot language. The ballot question will be whether to cancel the contract with Michael Maltzan.
By Wednesday evening, the Supervisor of Elections Office had verified 13,225 petition signatures. 15,652 valid signatures will require the city council to either approve the proposed city ordinance or place the question on the city's August 27th primary ballot.
That number should be reached by Friday at the latest.
Thursday, the city council will consider adding other straw poll questions to the same ballot, but those suggested by Mayor Bill Foster did not appeal to respondents of the latest poll.
The city plans to demolish it later this year.
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