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Press Release for Thursday, October 24, 2019

New UNF Poll Reveals Incredibly High Gubernatorial Ratings for DeSantis

Media Contact: Amanda Ennis

Public Relations Acting Director

(904) 620-2192

                    

Methodology Results Contact: Dr. Michael Binder

Public Opinion Research Lab Director

(904) 620-2784

 


New UNF Poll Reveals Incredibly High Gubernatorial Ratings for DeSantis

Majority Support Legalization of Recreational Marijuana

 

The Public Opinion Research Lab (PORL) at the University of North Florida has a new poll of Florida registered voters that shows a large majority approve of Governor Ron DeSantis. The survey also shows a majority support the legalization of recreational marijuana. The poll, comprised of registered voters in the state of Florida, shows 72% strongly or somewhat approve of the job DeSantis is doing as governor, with only 17% disapproving. Job approval is highest among Republicans at 91%, with 56% of Democrats approving as well. Overall, 11% didn't know.

 

"This is the highest gubernatorial approval in recent history. You'd have to go back to the early days of the Charlie Christ administration to see numbers this high," said Dr. Michael Binder, faculty director of the Public Opinion Research Lab at UNF. "Working on bipartisan issues and acting in a reasonable fashion during the recent hurricane season are contributing to his popularity in a state where the governor isn't historically popular across parties."

 

When asked about job approval for Florida's two senators, 48% approve of the job Marco Rubio is doing as senator and 49% approve of the job Rick Scott is doing. Rubio's disapproval is at 34%, making his approval net positive at 14, while Scott's disapproval is at 32%, giving him a net positive approval at 17. Unsurprisingly, Republicans are more likely to approve of Rubio and Scott at 76% and 77%, respectively. Only 26% of Democrats approve of Rubio, 28% approve of Scott, 18% indicated they don't know how they feel about Rubio's job approval and 19% don't know about Scott's. Nikki Fried's job approval is at 41%, with disapproval at 10%. However, 49% don't know how she's doing as Florida Commissioner of Agriculture. Democrats and Republicans approve of Fried at similar rates, with 41% and 44% approving, respectively.

 

"Rubio's approval levels are comparable to previous polls," Binder said. "But the real surprise findings are Fried's bipartisan approval; both Democrats and Republicans are approving of her in similar numbers."

 

In light of Florida's upcoming legislative session, respondents were asked whether they support or oppose select policy changes. Regarding recreational marijuana, 64% support legalization, while 33% oppose. The numbers are higher for Democrats, as 73% support the legalization of recreational marijuana, but 54% of Republicans support this change as well.

 

"Though it's very unlikely a Republican legislature will legalize recreational marijuana this session, it's fascinating that even a majority of Republicans support legalization," Binder noted.

 

There is strong support for requiring businesses to use a federal immigration database (E-Verify) to check workers' eligibility, with 71% supporting and 23% opposing. Among Democrats, 63% support the use of E-Verify, with 81% of Republicans supporting. Separately, 38% of respondents support allowing undocumented immigrants to obtain driver's licenses, while 59% oppose. When broken out by party, 61% of Democrats support the policy, while only 12% of Republicans support it.

 

"The bipartisan support for E-Verify could buoy this issue during session, but business interests are often opposed to state level action on immigration verification systems," Binder noted. "Republican opposition to allowing undocumented immigrants to obtain drivers licenses suggests this issue probably won't get addressed this session."

 

Respondents were also asked about Governor DeSantis' recent addition to Amendment Four, a ballot measure passed in 2018. When asked whether they support or oppose his additional requirement for felons to pay court-ordered fines, fees and restitution before being added back into the voting pool, 55% support his addition, with 32% opposing it. Among Democrats, 41% support the additional requirement and 74% of Republicans support it. To follow up, respondents were asked how they viewed the addition to the original ballot measure, 39% said they viewed the change as a necessary addition to an unclear ballot measure, while 35% said it's an unconstitutional addition that undermines voting rights and 25% didn't know how to view the change. Republicans were more likely to view the change as a necessary clarification at 57%, while Democrats said it's an unconstitutional addition at 54%. Along a similar vein, 47% of respondents said they personally know a convicted felon, while 51% said they don't.

 

"Amendment Four and the legislation passed earlier this year are currently in the courts, but a preliminary injunction issued recently suggests that SB 7066 might get revisited this session," said Binder.

 

For details about the methodology of the survey and additional crosstabs by partisanship, age, race, sex and education, visit the PORL website.

 

Survey Results

Do you approve or disapprove of the way that Ron DeSantis is handling his job as Governor of Florida?
Answer Options Florida Voters n=658
Strongly Approve 36%
Somewhat Approve 36%
Somewhat Disapprove 8%
Strongly Disapprove 9%
Don't Know 11%

 

By Party
Answer Options Democratic Voters n=241 Republican Voters n=234 NPA Voters n=183
Strongly Approve 20% 58% 31%
Somewhat Approve 36% 33% 38%
Somewhat Disapprove 16% 3% 6%
Strongly Disapprove 17% 2% 7%
Don't Know 11% 4% 19%

 

Do you approve or disapprove of the way that Marco Rubio is handling his job as United States Senator?
Answer Options Florida Voters n=650
Strongly Approve 20%
Somewhat Approve 28%
Somewhat Disapprove 15%
Strongly Disapprove 19%
Don't Know 18%

 

By Party
Answer Options Democratic Voters n=241 Republican Voters n=230 NPA Voters n=180
Strongly Approve 8% 37% 15%
Somewhat Approve 18% 39% 27%
Somewhat Disapprove 24% 10% 9%
Strongly Disapprove 31% 6% 22%
Don't Know 20% 10% 27%

 

Do you approve or disapprove of the way that Rick Scott is handling his job as United States Senator?
Answer Options Florida Voters n=657
Strongly Approve 21%
Somewhat Approve 28%
Somewhat Disapprove 11%
Strongly Disapprove 21%
Don't Know 19%

 

By Party
Answer Options Democratic Voters n=241 Republican Voters n=232 NPA Voters n=181
Strongly Approve 10% 39% 14%
Somewhat Approve 18% 38% 28%
Somewhat Disapprove 17% 5% 11%
Strongly Disapprove 39% 6% 18%
Don't Know 17% 13% 29%

 

Do you approve or disapprove of the way that Nikki Fried is handling her job as Florida Commissioner of Agriculture?
Answer Options Florida Voters n=645
Strongly Approve 15%
Somewhat Approve 26%
Somewhat Disapprove 6%
Strongly Disapprove 4%
Don't Know 49%

 

By Party
Answer Options Democratic Voters n=239 Republican Voters n=228 NPA Voters n=181
Strongly Approve 14% 15% 16%
Somewhat Approve 27% 29% 22%
Somewhat Disapprove 6% 8% 4%
Strongly Disapprove 4% 4% 4%
Don't Know 48% 45% 54%

Soon, Florida's legislative session will begin. Please tell me whether you support or oppose the following policy changes in Florida.

Allowing adults in Florida to legally possess small amounts of marijuana for recreational use?
Answer Options Florida Voters n=664
Strongly Support 44%
Somewhat Support 20%
Somewhat Oppose 9%
Strongly Oppose 24%
Don't Know 3%

 

By Party
Answer Options Democratic Voters n=246 Republican Voters n=232 NPA Voters n=188
Strongly Support 54% 32% 46%
Somewhat Support 19% 22% 18%
Somewhat Oppose 10% 11% 6%
Strongly Oppose 15% 31% 26%
Don't Know 1% 5% 4%

 

Requiring businesses in Florida to use a federal immigration database, E-Verify, to check whether their workers are eligible for employment?
Answer Options Florida Voters n=663
Strongly Support 49%
Somewhat Support 22%
Somewhat Oppose 10%
Strongly Oppose 13%
Don't Know 5%

 

By Party
Answer Options Democratic Voters n=242 Republican Voters n=235 NPA Voters n=185
Strongly Support 37% 66% 44%
Somewhat Support 26% 15% 26%
Somewhat Oppose 14% 6% 10%
Strongly Oppose 17% 9% 12%
Don't Know 6% 3% 8%

 

Allowing undocumented immigrants to obtain driver's licenses in Florida?
Answer Options Florida Voters n=664
Strongly Support 20%
Somewhat Support 18%
Somewhat Oppose 14%
Strongly Oppose 45%
Don't Know 4%

 

By Party
Answer Options Democratic Voters n=243 Republican Voters n=234 NPA Voters n=186
Strongly Support 34% 6% 22%
Somewhat Support 27% 6% 20%
Somewhat Oppose 14% 14% 12%
Strongly Oppose 22% 73% 38%
Don't Know 4% 1% 8%

 

Amendment Four was passed in Florida by ballot initiative in 2018, restoring the voting rights of Floridians with felony convictions after they complete all terms of their sentence. In early 2019, Governor DeSantis signed a bill redefining the qualifications for restorations to include payment of court-ordered fines, fees and restitution. Do you support or oppose this change to the original ballot measure?
Answer Options Florida Voters n=653
Strongly Support 35%
Somewhat Support 20%
Somewhat Oppose 7%
Strongly Oppose 25%
Don't Know 13%

 

By Party
Answer Options Democratic Voters n=240 Republican Voters n=228 NPA Voters n=29%
Strongly Support 23% 51% 29%
Somewhat Support 18% 23% 21%
Somewhat Oppose 10% 7% 4%
Strongly Oppose 38% 10% 27%
Don't Know 12% 9% 20%

 

How do you view this change to the original ballot measure? Is it: (Choices Rotated)
Answer Options Florida Voters n=636
A necessary change to an unclear ballot measure 39%
An unconstitutional addition that undermines voting rights 35%
Don't Know 25%

 

By Party
Answer Options Democratic Voters n=235 Republican Voters n=222 NPA Voters n=179
A necessary change to an unclear ballot measure 24% 57% 37%
An unconstitutional addition that undermines voting rights 54% 18% 32%
Don't Know 22% 25% 30%

 

Do you know anyone who has been convicted of a felony?
Answer Options Florida Voters n=660
Yes 47%
No 51%
Don't Know 2%

 

By Party
Answer Options Democratic Voters n=243 Republican Voters n=229 NPA Voters n=182
Yes 44% 51% 46%
No 54% 47% 54%
Don't Know 2% 2% -

 

Survey Demographics

Party
Party Registration Florida Voters n=669
Republican 37%
Democrat 35%
NPA and other 28%

 

Age
Age Florida Voters n=669
18 to 24 10%
25 to 34 16%
35 to 44 15%
45 to 55 16%
56 to 64 18%
65 and older 27%

 

Race
Race Florida Voters n=669
White (not Hispanic) 63%
Black (not Hispanic) 13%
Hispanic 17%
Other 7%

 

Sex
Sex Florida Voters n=669
Male 46%
Female 54%

 

Phone Type
Telephone Florida Voters n=660
Landline 23%
Cell phone 77%
Refusal <1%

 

Methodology

The UNF Florida statewide poll was conducted and sponsored by the Public Opinion Research Lab at the University of North Florida, from Monday, Oct. 14, 2019, through Sunday, Oct. 20, 2019, by live callers via the telephone from 5 to 9 p.m. during the week and noon to 9 p.m. on the weekends with a maximum of five callbacks attempted. UNF undergraduate students and employees conducted interviews in English and Spanish. Data collection took place at the PORL facility with its 27-station Computer Assisted Telephone Interviewing (CATI) system. The phone numbers used for this survey were sourced from the Tuesday, Sept. 10, 2019, update of the Florida Voter File. The sample frame was comprised of registered Florida voters. Overall, there were 669 completed surveys of Florida registered voters, 18 years of age or older.

 

The margin of sampling error for the total sample is +/- 3.8 percentage points. The breakdown of completed responses on a landline phone to a cell phone was 23% to 77%, with less than 1% unidentified. Through hand dialing, an interviewer upon reaching the individual as specified in the voter file asked that respondent to participate, regardless of landline telephone or cell phone. Data were then weighted by partisan registration, age, race, sex and education. Education weights were created from the 2017 American Community Survey (ACS). Partisan registration, sex, race and age weights were created from the Tuesday, Sept. 10, 2019, update of the Florida Voter File to match the active registered voters in Florida. These demographic characteristics were pulled from the voter file list.

All weighted demographic variables were applied using the SPSS version 25 rake weighting function, which won't assign a weight if one of the demographics being weighted on is missing. In this case, respondents missing a response for education were given a weight of 1. There were no statistical adjustments made due to design effects. This study had a 27.5% response rate. The American Association of Public Opinion Research (AAPOR) Response Rate 3 (RR3) calculation was used which consists of an estimate of what proportion of cases of unknown eligibility are truly eligible. This survey was sponsored by the UNF PORL and directed by Dr. Michael Binder, UNF associate professor of political science.

 

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, a charter member of the American Association for Public Opinion Research Transparency Initiative and a member of the Association of Academic Survey Research Organization. As members of AAPOR, the PORL's goal is to support sound and ethical practices in the conduct of survey and public opinion research. For more information about methodology, contact Binder at porl@unf.edu or at (904) 620-2784.

 

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.

 

-UNF-