And the survey says ...


And the survey says ...


Date: August 19, 2009
by: Kurt Schultheis | City Editor


A phone survey conducted in June for The Longboat Key Club and Resort reveals that one in four registered voters surveyed living outside of the club’s gates, which makes up 90% of the island’s voters, oppose the club’s $400 million Islandside renovation project.

The survey, performed by Tallahassee-based Kerr & Downs Research, also reported that three out of four registered voters surveyed that live within Islandside, which make up 10% of the island’s registered voters, oppose the project.

The objective of the survey, which surveyed 400 out of 6,433 registered Key voters, was to assess residents’ perception of the club’s pending $400 million Islandside renovation application on file at the town’s Planning, Zoning and Building Department.

Conducted June 11 through June 20, the phone survey’s methodology included questions written by Kerr & Downs senior partner Phillip Downs and his associates.

“Support for renovations to the Longboat Key Club and Resort is much greater among all other voters than it is among voters who live behind the (resort’s) gates,” Downs said.

The survey reports that NIMBY, an acronym that stands for Not in My Backyard, greatly impacts reactions to the project.

The survey reports that 47% of island voters who don’t live within Islandside think the project will have a positive impact on Longboat Key, compared to 34% who disagree. By comparison, 62% of voters polled that live in Islandside disagreed; 21% agreed.

Survey results also show that all voters polled equally supported other recent condominium projects such as Positano and Grand Mariner; those behind the gates only oppose the project that will be close to their homes.

And, 64% of Islandside voters polled disagree that renovations are necessary to keep Longboat Key a vibrant resort community, while all other voters surveyed agreed by a 54% to 38% margin that the renovations are necessary to keep Longboat Key vibrant.

The most popular cited reasons for opposing the project, according to the survey, were increased traffic, too much construction noise and a project that’s too massive.

Those who support the project said the renovations to the resort would help other businesses on the Key survive year-round, assist in attracting homebuyers and visitors and enhance the character of the island.
Downs, also a professor of marketing at Florida State University, said his company had complete control over the creation of the questions and the phone survey.

“When we are dealing with a project where we may have to testify and make comments to the public, our clients have to agree to our questions,” Downs said. “Once it became clear to me this was a typical development project with some opposition, I recommended a telephone survey methodology because, in my market research, telephone surveys are still the gold standard for data collection and a sampling survey.”

Downs said his company acquired 90% of the telephone numbers for all the registered voters on Longboat Key and attempted to reach each resident at least twice.

“We completed 400 interviews out of a list of 6,433 registered voters,” said Downs, who explained that the results are within five percentage points of accuracy. “Anyone consuming the results of this study can be confident the results reflect the mood of the community.”

The kinds of questions developed, Downs said, presented two sides to the issue “and were painstakingly created to make them objective and fair.”

When the survey was performed in June, The Longboat Observer received at least five calls or voicemail messages from residents who called the survey’s questions “biased.”

Despite his efforts, Downs admits that in his experience as a consulting project director for more than 1,000 research projects, opponents of a project will never support the data or the questions presented in a survey.

To the right is a sample list of the questions asked and responses given, broken up by those surveyed who live within Islandside and those who live outside of the resort grounds.


The Longboat Key Club and Resort hired Tallahassee-based Kerr & Downs Research to perform its telephone survey earlier this summer. The company’s founding partner, Phillip Downs, has worked with Fortune 500 firms, national and international associations, governments and non-profit organizations for more than 25 years. Downs has conducted more than 1,000 studies in three continents in six languages for various clients and associations.


• Do you agree or disagree that tourism is a critical part of the economy of Longboat Key?
Agree — 86% rest of voters, 55% behind the gates
Disagree — 9% rest of voters, 24% behind the gates

• Do you agree or disagree that renovations to existing properties and new development will help Longboat Key compete with other world-class destinations for homebuyers and visitors?
Agree — 70% rest of voters, 31% behind the gates
Disagree — 16% rest of voters, 38% behind the gates

• Do you support or oppose planned renovations of The Longboat Key Club and Resort or does it matter to you?
Support — 41% rest of voters, 21% behind the gates
Oppose — 25% rest of voters, 74% behind the gates

• Do you agree or disagree that renovations to the Longboat Key Club and Resort will help keep Longboat, Longboat, by enhancing the club’s facilities and adding new upscale properties to the community?
Agree — 47% rest of voters, 21% behind the gates
Disagree — 34% rest of voters, 62% behind the gates

• All things considered, do you support or oppose renovations to Longboat Key Club and Resort?
Support — 50% rest of voters, 14% behind the gates
Oppose — 39% rest of voters, 71% behind the gates

• How many months a year do you live on Longboat Key?
Less than 12 months per year — 20% rest of voters, 38% behind the gates
12 months per year — 80% rest of voters, 62% behind the gates

• Do you agree or disagree that developments such as L’Ambiance, Grand Mariner, Positano, etc. have helped “Keep Longboat, Longboat” by adding new, upscale properties to the community?
Agree — 58% rest of voters, 62% behind the gates
Disagree — 20% rest of voters, 19% behind the gates


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Currently 4 Responses

  • 1.
  • I live behind the gates, I strongly oppose the the Key Club's proposed expansion for many reasons; traffic, congestion, density ,infra structure overload, changing the beauty and ambiance of the Island.
    Martin Rich
  • Martin Rich
    Tue 25th Aug 2009
    at 1:25pm
  • 2.
  • The survey is not biased and I am an owner of a condo behind the gates and next door to LBK Club. Our family believes it is good for all of LBK: increased tax revenues, more people spending money on the island at St Armands and in Sarasota, more cars rented, more use of SRQ. It will increase property values all over the island. We should help shovel dirt not stand in the way. Yes, there will be more traffic sometimes but a lot of that will be off season for meetings and conferences. But even if we are inconvienced a little and it takes a little longer to get around, just think of all the new friends we can make, if we welcome them to beautiful LBK. Moreover, maybe we'll become more green by riding the trolley rather than taking a car. Maybe we'll be a little healthier by walking or riding a bike to the store.

    We believe this is good thing, no a great thing for every property owner and business on LBK.
  • jack brown
    Thu 20th Aug 2009
    at 8:40pm
  • 3.
  • The Islandside improvements planned by the Longboat Key Club would be a huge injection of financial stimulus to an Island (Longboat Key) sorely in need of it. The myopia of the residents behind the Islandside gates is stupefying. Here's a resort wishing to inject up to $400 million into a rather small economy that is in desperate need of new life and the fools say "not in my back yard." Amazing. So too for the roadblocks put up by the Town.
  • Milan Adrian
    Thu 20th Aug 2009
    at 6:22pm
  • 4.
  • I have to give the Club credit for releasing the results of this highly biased survey which nonetheless confirms what we have said all along, that despite the Club's contention that only a few of the Islandside residents opposed their plan and that the Islandside Coalition was like "the man behind the curtain in the Wizard of OZ", the overwhelming majority of Islandside residents oppose the plan that they insist on pressing forward. The answer to their survey question below says it all. (Note that the question characterizes the massive expansion as a 'renovation".)

    • Do you support or oppose planned renovations of The Longboat Key Club and Resort or does it matter to you?
    Support — 41% rest of voters, 21% behind the gates
    Oppose — 25% rest of voters, 74% behind the gates

    It is interesting to note that despite the slanted questions, less than half of Longboat residents outside of Islandside said they support the project.

    NIMBY? No, it's reality! Time for rethinking.

    Bob White, Chairman
    Islandside Property Owners Coalition
  • Bob White
    Wed 19th Aug 2009
    at 11:31pm
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