Most Florida voters say they feel better off than five years ago and trust local government more than any other level of government, a recent survey reveals. Though far from a majority, more voters surveyed offered up legalizing marijuana than any other issue as the top action they’d like to see the Legislature take. Those were the top findings of the Florida Breakthrough Research Survey – a monthly omnibus poll to take the pulse of Florida voters on a variety of issues.
Better off. More than half (55%) feel they are better off today than they were five years ago, including nearly 59% of millennials, 68% of those ages 35-54, and 48% of those ages 55 and older. Compared to their parents, 48% feel their financial situation is better than that of their parents at that age; about one-third (31%) say their financial situation is worse than their parents’ was at that age, and 21% say it is “about the same.”
Most trust for local government. Florida voters – Republicans, Democrats, and independents alike – trust their local governments the most when it comes to “doing the right thing most of the time.” Respondents who trust at least one level of government identified city and county governments (91% combined) most frequently, followed distantly by the Florida Legislature (33%) and the federal government (22%).
Legalized pot. In response to an open-ended question asking voters to name the one law they’d like the Legislature to pass this year, more (18%) cited legalizing marijuana than any other issue. Other issues cited by fewer voters surveyed included environmental protection, renewable energy, limited immigration, access to health care, education funding, and lower taxes.
Keep term limits. More than three-quarters (78%) support the current eight-year term limits for Florida lawmakers.
Taxes for infrastructure. Nearly one-third (31%) say they would support an increased gas tax and 16% would support an increased sales tax for funding transportation infrastructure in Florida. Nearly one in five (19%) would support more toll roads, while 8% would support paying per mile driven on state roads.
Satisfaction with home town. Most (74%) agree that they “like the town or city that I live in and wish to remain here for a while” – a sentiment felt by 80% of those age 35 and older but by just 56% of millennials – those ages 18-34.
Labor unions. A large majority (71%) – including 56% of Democrats and 86% of Republicans – believe public-sector labor unions should not be allowed to require workers to pay dues and fees even if the workers are not union members; 16% believe this should be permitted, and 13% are not sure.
No marriage for minors. Three-quarters of respondents (76%) are opposed to allowing children to get married, including 57% who believe minors should not be allowed to marry under any conditions and 19% who believe it should be approved only if the minor has been emancipated from his or her parents. Under current Florida law, children under 18 may get married with parental consent.
Talent pool. Three-quarters (74%) feel it is more difficult these days for employers to find employees with a strong work ethic, while 26% feel it is more difficult to find employees with strong skills.
Political divisions. Three-quarters (74%) believe that Republicans and Democrats “have extremely different goals,” while the remaining 26% believe the two parties “have common goals but different ideas about how to achieve these goals.” Millennials are the most likely to believe that partisans share common goals, at 36%.
GMOs. Respondents are fairly closely split on whether to avoid GMO foods (44%) or not (56%). Reported avoidance of GMO foods is greater among those who incorrectly believe organic foods are pesticide-free (49%) compared with those who are aware that organic foods do use pesticides (37%). Similarly, 45% of those who believe Florida crops (including strawberries, cucumbers, oranges, and tomatoes) are genetically modified avoid GMO foods, compared with 36% of those who realize these crops are NOT genetically engineered.
The survey of 1,162 Florida voters was conducted online on January 8 by Sachs Media’s Breakthrough Research Division, and has a margin of error of +/- 2.9% at the 95% confidence level.
To view the full data tables, click here.
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