Ballot Measure: Proposition Z

August 21, 2019
Prop Z rhinoceros

Proposition Z was a ballot initiative passed in St. Louis County in November 2018. It was a 1/8th of 1% sales tax to provide sustainable funding for the Saint Louis Zoo. Proposition Z not only contributed to the operation of the Saint Louis Zoo’s campus in Forest Park, but its expansion into St. Louis County. The multimillion-dollar investment in a new facility in north county will include a conservation and animal science center with a public safari park and outdoor family adventures. 

Our team was engaged to manage the two-phase process. The first phase in the process was conducting a baseline assessment poll. The baseline survey served as a blueprint for the campaign providing a measure of support for the initiative, dictating how we would discuss the proposition in paid and earned media, and providing the guidance necessary to assemble and mobilize a strong coalition to achieve victory.  

With the polling data in hand, we worked with the Zoo team to develop and implement a strategy to pass legislation at the St. Louis County Council. The strategy proved effective and the council voted to place Proposition Z on the November ballot. Once the measure was placed on the ballot, phase two began with the implementation of the voter outreach and education program. 

Driven by polling, our team developed and executed a campaign plan that included grassroots outreach and education, digital communications and advertising, direct mail, earned and paid media, and television advertising. In a midterm election year where the electorate is traditionally less supportive of tax increases, and in a county where voters defeated a transportation tax to improve roads and bridges 53% to 47% in the same election, Proposition Z passed by a vote of 61% to 39%.