UNF poll: Floridians are most concerned about housing costs, economy; support amendments on abortion and recreational marijuana

Favorability ratings for Gov. Ron DeSantis and former President Donald Trump were each slightly under 50%, while only 34% of respondents reported a favorable opinion of President Joe Biden.

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  • | 3:00 p.m. November 30, 2023
The Florida Capitol. Photo from Adobe Stock
The Florida Capitol. Photo from Adobe Stock
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A new poll from the University of North Florida’s Public Opinion Research Lab shows that Floridians are concerned about housing costs and the economy and supportive of proposed amendments on abortion and recreational marijuana.

The poll included telephone and web surveys conducted from Nov. 6-26. A total of 716 registered voters completed surveys, with 277 doing so by telephone and 439 online.

The poll asked respondents what they think is the most important problem facing Florida today, according to a news release from UNF PORL. The top response was housing costs, with 26%, followed by the economy, jobs and inflation, with 25%. Respondents identified education and immigration as the third most important problems, with 9% each. 

Asked who or what they think is most responsible for the state of property insurance in Florida, 30% said they believe insurance companies bear the greatest responsibility, followed by individuals and lawyers defrauding or exploiting insurance companies, with 15%, while Gov. Ron DeSantis and an increase in natural disasters each garnered 13%, and 12% said the Florida Legislature is to blame.

“In the last year, housing costs, and now property insurance, have emerged as pressing issues to Floridians,” PORL faculty director and professor of political science Dr. Michael Binder said, according to the news release. “Insurance companies are most responsible in the minds of these Florida voters, but there seems to be plenty of blame to go around.”

Asked how they would vote on a proposed state constitutional amendment that would prohibit any law banning abortion before viability or to protect the life of the patient, 62% said they would vote yes, 29% said they would vote no, and 9% said they don’t know or refused to answer.

“If this amendment does make it on the ballot, initiatives like this one need a supermajority of 60% in order to pass, and it looks like the proposed abortion amendment is right at that threshold among these respondents,” Binder said. “Even among registered Republicans, 53% would vote to protect abortion rights in Florida, with just 39% voting no.”

The poll also asked if respondents would vote yes or no on a proposed constitutional amendment that would let Florida adults buy and possess small amounts of marijuana for personal use. Sixty-seven percent said they would vote yes, and 28% said they would vote no. 

In spring 2023, 70% of respondents said they would support recreational marijuana in Florida, either strongly or somewhat, and 76% said they supported it in the spring of 2022, according to the news release.

“Unlike previous surveys, when we simply asked if folks support or oppose legalization of recreational marijuana, this time we gave respondents the specifics of this proposed amendment,” said Binder. “Yet again, it looks like it has a good chance of passing, if the measure makes it through the courts, and that is a very big ‘if.’”

Another series of questions asked respondents if they have a favorable or unfavorable opinion of several public officials. 

Forty-eight percent of respondents said they have a favorable opinion of Gov. Ron DeSantis, while 48% said unfavorable. Former President Donald Trump had responses of 48% favorable and 49% unfavorable. For Senator Rick Scott, 39% reported a favorable opinion, and 49% unfavorable. Thirty-four percent reported a favorable opinion of President Joe Biden (either very favorable or somewhat favorable), and 62% reported an unfavorable opinion.

Asked about former U.S. Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell, who will be running for Democratic nominee against Rick Scott for U.S. Senate in 2024, 22% said they have a favorable opinion, 30% said unfavorable, and 48% said they don’t know or refused to answer.

“No one fared particularly well in favorability, DeSantis being the only one treading water with equal favorable and unfavorable, while Biden is well underwater with a majority of respondents and the lowest favorability among the bunch,” Binder said. “A lot of folks aren’t familiar with Mucarsel-Powell this early in the campaign, but we can expect that to change as we get closer to election day.”


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