February 2022

Barcelo & Company Poll Shows Overwhelming

Support for Ocklawaha Restoration

Ocala, Florida - A highly regarded republican political consultant and public opinion researcher, Barcelo & Company, just released a scientific poll assessing the attitudes of likely voters in Putnam and Marion counties regarding their understanding and support for restoring the flow of the Ocklawaha River by breaching the Rodman/Kirkpatrick Dam. The firm polled 604 respondents with a margin of error of +4.0 percent with a 95% confidence factor.

Key Poll Findings

.1 Responders demonstrate a solid understanding of challenges facing the Ocklawaha and St. Johns rivers.

2. The initial survey question shows 77% general approval of restoring the flow of the Ocklawaha River. Those against was only 6% and no opinion 17%.

3, Responders ranked six statements regarding what would make them more or less likely to support restoration of the flow of the Ocklawaha River. Scores were high at 84%-76%.

  • Aging locks and dam result in catastrophic downstream flooding– 84%
  • Reduce herbicide spraying, muck build-up, and weed blockages– 82%
  • Benefit submerged grasses, improve water quality and fish habitat – 80%
  • Access to the Ocklawaha and Silver Springs for manatees – 79%
  • Provide essential habitat for manatees and historic fish populations – 78%
  • Expand recreation and tourism and improve economy – 76%
4. After benefits messages were ranked, responders’ general approval of restoring the flow of the Ocklawaha River rose from 77% to 81%.

The results come on the heels of a St. Johns River Water Management District fall survey where more than 85% of the nearly 10,000 state and national survey participants supported restoration of the Ocklawaha River by breaching the Rodman/Kirkpatrick Dam when asked - “What would you like to see happen with the Rodman Reservoir and Kirkpatrick Dam moving forward?” Only 5.9% were clearly in favor of retaining the Kirkpatrick Dam and Rodman Reservoir.

“Barcelo & Company’s findings provide a scientific poll that demonstrates wide-spread, bi-partisan support for one of the most significant restoration projects in Florida today. Where else do you see 77% agreement on any issue facing Floridians?”

Margaret Spontak, Chair,
Free the Ocklawaha River Coalition for Everyone

Note: Those responding to the poll include 54% Republicans, 34% Democrats and 11% no party affiliation.
For a copy of the report go to https://www.freetheocklawaha.com/pollfinal/

The Barcelo scientific poll validated the SJRWMD survey results and demonstrates that a majority of likely voters in Marion and Putnam counties, who have the most at stake, support restoration. Marion and Putnam counties, support a free-flowing Ocklawaha River. The Barcelo Ocklawaha Restoration Benchmark Poll was funded by The River Branch Foundation on behalf of the Free the Ocklawaha River Coalition for Everyone.

Free The Ocklawaha Coalition. For a list of our members click here .
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For more information go to Freetheocklawaha.com