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Press Release for Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Media Contact: Andrea Mestdagh, Specialist

Department of Public Relations

(904) 620-2192


Methodology Results Contact: Dr. Michael Binder

Public Opinion Research Lab Director

(904) 620-2784


Poll of Likely Florida Voters Shows that Rubio leads the Senate Race and Overwhelming Support for Constitutional Amendment 2

Jacksonville, Fla. - A new poll of likely voters in Florida by the Public Opinion Research Laboratory (PORL) at the University of North Florida shows that Marco Rubio leads the Senate race with 47 percent to Patrick Murphy's 41 percent, with 10 percent still undecided.


"Rubio is holding a solid seven point lead and appears to be on his way to re-election", said Dr. Michael Binder, faculty director of the Public Opinion Research Laboratory. "Rubio is seeing support from men, (52-38) but also has a slim lead among women as well (44-43). Rubio has done a better job of rallying his base (81 percent support among Republicans) than Patrick Murphy (69 percent support among Democrats). The most startling difference in this race is that 21 percent of voters have never heard of Patrick Murphy, while only 2 percent have not heard of Marco Rubio, and that is a big number for a US Senate candidate."


When asked about Florida Constitutional Amendment 2, which allows the medical use of marijuana, the overwhelming majority of likely Florida voters (77 percent) said they would vote for the amendment, while only 18 percent said they would vote against it.


"Huge majorities of likely voters support Florida Constitutional Amendment 2," said Binder. "Not only are Democrats wildly supportive, but even Republicans are above the 60 percent threshold required for passage. The strongest support comes from the voters 34 years old and younger, but even likely voters 65 and older are in favor of legalizing medical marijuana."


Respondents were also asked their viewpoint about marijuana legalization in general and 40 percent said marijuana should be legal for recreational use, 45 percent said marijuana should be legal for medicinal use and 15 percent it should not be legal at all.


"In 2014, a last minute opposition media campaign was credited with sinking a similar amendment causing it to narrowly fail," according to Binder. "However, it appears that this time around voters are on the verge of legalizing medicinal marijuana in the state of Florida."


The Florida statewide poll was conducted by the Public Opinion Research Laboratory Tuesday, Sep. 27, through Tuesday, Oct. 4, by live callers over the telephone. Samples were created through the voter file provided by Florida's Division of Elections September 2016 and selected through the use of randomization among likely voters. Interviews were conducted in English and Spanish, with 696 registered likely voters, 18 years of age or older.


Likely voters were considered people who had voted in a statewide election between November 2008 and March 2016 or were too young to vote in 2014 but are now eligible. In addition, to be considered a likely voter, the respondent indicated that they were "Almost Certain" or "Very Likely" to vote in November's general election.


The margin of error is +/- 3.8 percentage points. The breakdown of completed responses on a landline phone to a cell phone was 32 to 68 percent. The sample had quota for geography based on Florida media markets. This survey was sponsored by the Public Opinion Research Laboratory at the University of North Florida and is directed by associate professor of Political Science Dr. Michael Binder.


The PORL is a full-service survey research facility that provides tailored research to fulfill each client's individual needs from political, economic, social and cultural projects. The PORL opened in 2001 and is an independent, non-partisan center and a charter member of the American Association for Public Opinion Research Transparency Initiative. For more information about methodology, contact Binder at or at (904) 620-2784.

Survey Results

Q6. If the 2016 election for US Senator from Florida were held today, how would you vote if the candidates were…
Candidate Likely Florida Voters n=667
Patrick Murphy, the Democrat 41%
Marco Rubio, the Republican 48%
Someone else 1%
Don't Know 10%


Next, we'd like to get your overall opinion of some people in the news. As I read each name, please say if you have a favorable or unfavorable opinion of these people -- or if you have never heard of them
Candidate Florida Likely Voters n=662
Patrick Murphy
Florida Likely Voters n=663
Marco Rubio
Favorable 35% 49%
Unfavorable 29% 43%
Never heard of him 21% 2%
Don't Know 15% 7%


Q7. As you may know, there is state Constitutional Amendment #2 on the November 2016 ballot, it reads, "Allows medical use of marijuana for individuals with debilitating medical conditions as determined by a licensed Florida physician. Allows caregivers to assist patients' medical use of marijuana. The Department of Health shall register and regulate centers that produce and distribute marijuana for medical purposes and shall issue identification cards to patients and caregivers. Applies only to Florida law. Does not immunize violations of federal law or any non‐medical use, possession or production of marijuana." Do you think that you will vote for or against this amendment?
Answer Options Likely Florida Voters n=668
For 77%
Against 18%
Don't Know 4%


Q23. Which comes closest to your view on the use of marijuana by adults?
Answer Options Florida Likely Voters n=612
It should be legal for recreational use 40%
It should be legal only for medicinal use 45%
It should not be legal 15%


Race Florida Likely Voters n= 696
White (not Hispanic) 68%
Black (not Hispanic) 13%
Hispanic 14%
Other 5%


Gender Florida Likely Voters n= 696
Men 45%
Women 55%


Party Registration
Party Registration Florida Likely Voters n= 696
Republican 40%
Democrat 40%
NPA and other 20%


Age Florida Likely Voters n= 696
18-24 6%
25-34 13%
35-44 9%
45-55 14%
56-64 20%
65 and older 38%


Phone Type
Telephone Florida Likely Voters n= 615
Landline 32%
Cell phone 68%


Vote Choice by Gender Florida (Likely Voters n= 667)
Candidate Men Women
Patrick Murphy, the Democrat 38% 43%
Marco Rubio, the Republican 52% 44%
Someone else 2% 1%
Don't Know 7% 12%


Vote Choice by Education (Florida Likely Voters n= 573)
Candidate College Degree No College Degree
Patrick Murphy, the Democrat 45% 40%
Marco Rubio, the Republican 45% 51%
Someone else 1% 2%
Don't Know 10% 8%


Vote Choice and Party Reg (Florida Likely Voters n= 667)
Candidate Democrat Republican NPA and other
Patrick Murphy, the Democrat 69% 11% 45%
Marco Rubio, the Republican 18% 81% 41%
Someone else 1% 1% 2%
Don't Know 12% 7% 12%


Vote Choice and Race (Florida Likely Voters n= 667)
Candidate White Black Hispanic Other
Patrick Murphy, the Democrat 35% 72% 43% 30%
Marco Rubio, the Republican 55% 13% 48% 50%
Someone else 1% - 2% -
Don't Know 9% 16% 7% 20%


Vote Choice and Age (Florida Likely Voters n= 583)
Candidate >18-24 >25-34 >35-44 >45-55 >56-65 65 and older
Patrick Murphy, the Democrat 44% 55% 40% 47% 38% 39%
Marco Rubio, the Republican 42% 40% 45% 37% 54% 52%
Someone else 3% - 4% 1% 1% <1%
Don't Know 11% 5% 10% 15% 7% 9%


Senate Vote Choice and Presidential Vote Choice (Republican Florida Likely Voters n=266)
Candidate Hillary Clinton Donald Trump
Patrick Murphy, the Democrat 50% 5%
Marco Rubio, the Republican 42% 88%


Constitutional Amendment 2 and Party Registration (Florida Likely Voters n= 668)
Opinion Democrat Republican NPA and others
For 87% 65% 83%
Against 10% 28% 16%
Don't Know 3% 7% 2%


Constitutional Amendment 2 and Age (Florida Likely Voters n= 594)
Opinion >18-24 >25-34 >35-44 >45-55 >56-65 65 and older
For 97% 98% 81% 85% 75% 70%
Against - 6% 15% 13% 22% 24%
Don't Know 3% 5% 4% 2% 3% 6%