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Press Release for Tuesday, October 24, 2017

New UNF Poll Finds Razor Thin Lead for Nelson in Upcoming Senatorial Election

Media Contact: Joanna Norris, Director
Department of Public Relations
(904) 620-2102

 PDF Format

A new poll of registered voters in Florida shows those that indicated they will vote in 2018, 37 percent say they plan to vote for Sen. Bill Nelson, the Democratic candidate in the upcoming election for U.S. Senate, while 36 percent plan to vote for Gov. Rick Scott, the Republican and 20 percent don’t know who their choice will be.

 

Registered Democrats in the sample intended to vote for Nelson at 66 percent, while 68 percent of registered Republicans plan to vote for Scott. Interestingly, nonparty affiliates and other partisans are leaning toward Nelson at 32 percent, compared to the 28 percent that plan to vote for Scott. 

 

When asked about Scott’s job approval, 59 percent strongly or somewhat approve of his job as governor, with 82 percent of registered Republicans approving of Scott and 40 percent of registered Democrats approving. Nelson, however, has a 35 percent overall job approval rate and only 15 percent disapprove. Surprisingly, 49 percent don’t know how he’s handling his job as senator.

 

“Like most statewide races in Florida, the senate race between Nelson and Scott is going to be too close to call all the way until Election Day,” said Michael Binder, faculty director of the Public Opinion Research Lab at UNF. “The one major concern for Democrats has to be the public’s lack of awareness of Nelson. When a three-term sitting U.S. senator has almost half of the sample unable to assess his job approval, you have a problem.”  

 

When asked about President Donald Trump’s job approval rating, 59 percent of the overall sample strongly or somewhat disapprove of how he’s handling his job, with only 37 percent approving. A vast amount of registered Democrats—91 percent—disapprove of Trump, while only 23 percent of registered Republicans disapprove. On the flip side, there is 72 percent job approval for Trump among registered Republicans, compared to only 33 percent for nonparty affiliates and other party registrants and a measly 6 percent job approval among registered Democrats.

 

“Donald Trump is just as divisive in Florida as he is across the rest of the country, but as long as he maintains support from Republicans, I wouldn’t expect any major changes in his administration,” Binder noted.  

 

Another issue sharply divided by partisanship is what to do about Confederate statues. Overall, 40 percent of respondents believe they should remain in place, while 47 percent believe they should be moved to museums and another 9 percent believe they should be removed entirely. However, 66 percent of registered Republicans believe they should stay, while 76 percent of registered Democrats believe they should be moved to museums or removed completely.

 

“As Tallahassee contends with newly introduced House Bill 235 dealing with Confederate statues, Floridians should take note of the partisan divisions on this issue,” said Binder. “Republicans dominate the legislature, and the Republican voters don’t want the statues moved; this presents a real dilemma for legislators facing public pressure to do something about this issue.”  

 

Regarding income taxes, a large majority of registered voters in Florida—67 percent—prefer a progressive tax rate to a flat-tax rate. Only 29 percent prefer a flat federal income rate. When asked about the role of government and the private sector providing insurance, 41 percent thought that the government should insure most people or everyone. Only 24 percent believe private insurance should insure most or everyone.

 

“In the wake of Bernie Sanders’ presidential run and the struggles with Obamacare, there appears to be support for government to take on a larger role in providing health insurance to Floridians,” Binder commented.

 

The poll also shows very few Floridians want to reduce legal immigration, as 30 percent of registered voters want to see legal immigration increased and 42 percent want to keep immigration at present levels. “For all of the debate about illegal immigration and undocumented immigrants, Florida is very supportive of legal immigration,” Binder said.

 

For crosstabs by partisanship, sex, age, race, and education click here.

Survey Results 

If the 2018 election for U.S. Senator from Florida were being held today, how would you vote if the candidates were…

 Answer Options

 

October 2017

Florida Registered Voters n=706*

February 2017

Florida Registered Voters

n=957

Bill Nelson, the Democrat

37%

44%

Rick Scott, the Republican

36%

38%

Someone else

7%

3%

Don’t Know

20%

12%

Refusal

-

-


*Only respondents that indicated that they would vote in the upcoming senatorial election were included

 

Answer Options

 

Democrats

Republicans

NPA/Others

Bill Nelson, the Democrat

66%

10%

32%

Rick Scott, the Republican

12%

68%

28%

Someone else

7%

5%

9%

Don’t Know

15%

17%

31%

Refusal

-

-

-

 

Do you approve or disapprove of the way that Donald Trump is handling his job as President of the United States?


 

Answer Options

 

October 2017

Florida Registered Voters n=834

February 2017

Florida Registered Voters

n=957

Strongly Approve

19%

28%

Somewhat Approve

18%

16%

Somewhat Disapprove

9%

7%

Strongly Disapprove

50%

44%

Don’t Know

2%

4%

Refusal

1%

-

 

 

Answer Options

 

Democrats

Republicans

NPA/Others

Strongly Approve

1%

43%

13%

Somewhat Approve

5%

30%

20%

Somewhat Disapprove

8%

12%

12%

Strongly Disapprove

84%

14%

51%

Don’t Know

1%

4%

3%

Refusal

1%

1%

2%

 

 

Do you approve or disapprove of the way that Rick Scott is handling his job as Governor of Florida?

Answer Options

 

October 2017

Florida Registered Voters n=834

February 2017

Florida Registered Voters

n=957

Strongly Approve

26%

17%

Somewhat Approve

33%

29%

Somewhat Disapprove

15%

14%

Strongly Disapprove

13%

26%

Don’t Know

11%

14%

Refusal

1%

-



 

Answer Options

 

Democrats

Republicans

NPA/Others

Strongly Approve

13%

49%

15%

Somewhat Approve

27%

33%

41%

Somewhat Disapprove

25%

6%

15%

Strongly Disapprove

24%

3%

13%

Don’t Know

10%

9%

15%

Refusal

1%

1%

2%

 

Do you approve or disapprove of the way that Bill Nelson is handling his job as United States Senator?

Answer Options

 

October 2017

Florida Registered Voters n=834

February 2017

Florida Registered Voters

n=945

Strongly Approve

12%

13%

Somewhat Approve

23%

29%

Somewhat Disapprove

9%

16%

Strongly Disapprove

6%

12%

Don’t Know

49%

29%

Refusal

1%

-


 

Answer Options

 

Democrats

Republicans

NPA/Others

Strongly Approve

21%

5%

7%

Somewhat Approve

26%

21%

22%

Somewhat Disapprove

7%

12%

9%

Strongly Disapprove

3%

11%

3%

Don’t Know

43%

49%

58%

Refusal

1%

1%

1%

 

 

Do you approve or disapprove of the way that Marco Rubio is handling his job as United States Senator?

Answer Options

 

October 2017

Florida Registered Voters n=834

February 2017

Florida Registered Voters

n=956

Strongly Approve

13%

15%

Somewhat Approve

29%

25%

Somewhat Disapprove

18%

17%

Strongly Disapprove

19%

31%

Don’t Know

20%

12%

Refusal

1%

-

 

There is much concern about the rapid rise in medical and hospital costs. Some people feel there should be a government insurance plan which would cover all medical and hospital expenses for everyone. Others feel that all medical expenses should be paid by individuals through private insurance plans like Blue Cross or other company paid plans. Which statement comes closest to YOUR position on this issue?

Answer Options

 

Florida Registered Voters n=834

Government should insure everyone.

28%

Government should insure most people.

13%

Government and private insurance should have about equal roles.

31%

Private insurance should insure most people.

13%

Private insurance should insure everyone.

11%

Don’t Know

2%

Refusal

1%

 

In your opinion, should LEGAL immigration into the United States be kept at its present level, increased, or decreased?

Answer Options

 

Florida Registered Voters n=834

Present level

42%

Increased

30%

Decreased

20%

Don’t Know

7%

Refusal

<1%

 

Do you think that statues honoring leaders of the Confederacy should…?

Answer Options

 

Florida Registered Voters n=834

Remain in public places as reminders of Southern heritage

40%

Be moved to museums where they can be viewed in historical context

47%

Be removed completely because they are symbol of slavery

9%

Don’t Know

3%

Refusal

1%

 

Answer Options

 

Democrats

Republicans

NPA/Others

Remain in public places

20%

67%

34%

Be moved to museums

60%

28%

54%

Be removed completely

16%

3%

8%

Don’t Know

4%

2%

4%

Refusal

<1%

1%

1%

 

Now, I have a question about income taxes. Some people think that everyone should have the same tax rate, regardless of income, while others think that those with higher income should pay a higher tax rate. If you had a choice, which of these two options would you prefer?

Answer Options

 

Florida Registered Voters n=834

Progressive tax ^

67%

Flat tax *

29%

Don’t Know

2%

Refusal

1%

 ^The poor would pay a very low percentage of their income in federal taxes, the middle class would pay a little higher percentage, and the rich would pay an even higher percentage.

  * Everybody, regardless of income, would pay about the same percentage of their income in federal taxes.  

 

 

Survey Demographics

Party Registration

Florida Registered Voters n=834

Republican

35%

Democrat

38%

NPA and other

27%

 

Age

Florida Registered Voters n=834

18 to 24

9%

25 to 34

15%

35 to 44

14%

45 to 55

16%

56 to 64

18%

65 and older

28%

 

Race

Florida Registered Voters n=834

White (not Hispanic)

64%

Black (not Hispanic)

13%

Hispanic

16%

Other

7%

 

 

Sex

Florida Registered Voters n=834

Male

46%

Female

54%

 

Telephone

Florida Registered Voters n=834

Landline

14%

Cell phone

85%

Don’t Know

-

Refusal

1%

 

What is the highest grade in school or year of college you have completed?

Education

Florida Registered Voters n=834

Less than high school

3%

High school graduate

14%

Some college

51%

College graduate

19%

Post graduate degree

13%

Don’t Know

-

Refusal

-

 

What is your annual household income?

Income

Florida Registered Voters n=834

Less than $25,000

11%

$25,000 to $50,000

21%

$50,000 to $75,000

21%

$75,000 to $100,000

13%

Above $100,000

21%

Don’t Know

5%

Refusal

9%

 

What language was this survey completed in?

Survey language completed in…

Florida Registered Voters n=834

English

98%

Spanish

2%

UNF, a nationally ranked university located on an environmentally beautiful campus, offers students who are dedicated to enriching the lives of others the opportunity to build their own futures through a well-rounded education.

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