Knight Blog

The blog of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

Survey: Most Miami-Dade residents want libraries funded — one way or another

July 10, 2014, 3 p.m., Posted by Knight Foundation

Fernand Amandi of Bendixen & Amandi International, Barry Johnson of the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce and Lilly Weinberg of Knight Foundation discuss the survey findings.

Sometimes, when researching public attitudes toward libraries, it’s important to read between the lines.

That was clear from a comprehensive survey of likely voters in Miami-Dade County commissioned by the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce with support from Knight Foundation that showed that 80 percent oppose a significant cut to the library budget, while 13 percent support it.

The survey, conducted by Bendixen Amandi International, was designed to delve deeper on results from an earlier survey by the same firm that focused solely on the question of whether the library portion of property taxes should be increased. The headline from that survey: A majority oppose raising taxes.

This survey included additional options: cut spending on other county services to preserve library funding, or reduce library services.

Even when told that the budget deficit could be up to $20 million, 67 percent of respondents wanted the county to find a solution that preserved library funding, either by increasing the library portion of the property tax (34 percent) or cutting spending for other county services (33 percent), while 22 percent favored cutting library services to cover the deficit and 11 percent offered no opinion.

Miami-Dade commissioners are readying to set a preliminary property-tax rate on July 15.

Bendixen-Amandi interviewed 5,200 likely registered voters400 in each of the commission districtsin English, Spanish and Haitian-Creole, for a comprehensive survey with a margin of error of just 1.36 percent. Opposition to budget cuts in individual districts ranged from 69 percent to 85 percent.