About Frank Orlando

Frank Orlando is an instructor of political science at Saint Leo University. He a master’s degree in political science and government from Duke University, where he also completed further graduate studies in public choice policy. His research focuses on American federal institutions and elections, and specializes in Congressional procedure. He teaches courses on American government, Congress, the presidency, elections, and democracy. His work on the Senate has been published in the edited volume, Party and Procedure in the United States Congress, and he is a member of the American Political Science Association.

Survey: Florida Looks Like It Will Support Clinton for President

Trump Support Confined; Minority Voters Will Cast Ballots Against Him

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has a 14-point polling lead over GOP candidate Donald Trump among Florida’s likely voters, according to a new survey by the Saint Leo University Polling Institute (

The survey was conducted online from August 14 to 18 among 1,500 Florida adults, including 1,380 who said they will likely vote in the November election. When asked which presidential candidate they would support, or would lean toward supporting, if the election was the same day that they took the survey, respondents answered in these proportions:

Combined percent of supporters and those leaning toward support

Democrat Hillary Clinton
51.7% (decided supporters = 48.3%)

Republican Donald Trump
37.7 % (decided supporters = 33.8%)

Libertarian Gary Johnson
8.3 % (decided supporters = 6.4%)

Green Party candidate Jill Stein
2.4 % (decided supporters = 1.6%)


The margin of error for the findings is plus or minus 3 percentage points, meaning the results could be off by that much in either direction. If Clinton’s actual base of supporters turned out to be 3 points lower, and Trump’s were 3 points higher, the Democrat would still have the edge by 8 points.

Saint Leo University Polling Institute Director Frank Orlando said the results show that Clinton’s lead appears “very secure” in Florida. “She was winning by 14 points in Florida in our June poll, and she’s still winning by that margin after the conventions. The opportunities for Donald Trump to make up that distance are shrinking,” observed Orlando, who also teaches political science at Saint Leo University. “Absent an unprecedented movement toward Trump as a result of the debates, or more likely, an external shock to the system, she can safely put Florida in her column,” Orlando said.

Orlando delved further into the […]

By |August 23rd, 2016|Institute|0 Comments

More Than Two-Thirds of Americans Will Be Watching Rio 2016 Olympics

SAINT LEO, FL – A survey earlier this month from the Saint Leo University Polling Institute ( found that more than two-thirds of Americans plan to watch broadcasts of the 2016 Summer Olympic Games, being held from Friday, August 5, through Sunday, August 21, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

The institute’s online poll of 1,001 adults was conducted from June 10 through June 16, and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.

An impressive 69.2 percent said they plan to watch broadcasts of the 2016 Rio Olympics, as the games are more commonly called. Another 18.8 percent said they don’t plan to watch the games. Twelve percent were not sure if they would tune in to the broadcasts, which are airing on NBC, the Spanish-language partner Telemundo, and related cable networks in the NBCUniversal corporate family.

Men are slightly more apt than women to plan to watch, at 70.9 percent, compared to 67.7 percent. Among age groups, those 65 and older are the most committed to viewing, at 71.9 percent, exceeding by 4 percentage points the youngest grouping, ages 18 to 44.

Phil Hatlem, instructor of sport business at Saint Leo, said there is a reason for that little wrinkle in the demography. The viewing patterns of the older group were formed when the Olympics had much less competition from other sports events for viewers, and when the games could be watched only on television screens, not on tablets or phones.

The survey also asked those intending to watch which of the 28 sports they are most eager to see.

Well over one-half said they wanted to see swimming (69.7 percent) and gymnastics (63.7 percent).
The next most popular was basketball, at about one-third of respondents (34.6 […]

By |July 5th, 2016|Institute|0 Comments

New Poll Shows Catholics Favor Study on Allowing Female Deacons, And Priestly Pastoral Counseling to Divorced, Cohabitating, LGBT Members

 SAINT LEO, FL – A recent survey by the Saint Leo University Polling Institute gathered opinion on considering the role of women as deacons in the Catholic Church, whether priests should be allowed to use their own discretion in providing counseling, and the favorability of the pope.

More than three-quarters of Catholic Americans polled support the suggestion made in May by Pope Francis to create a commission to study whether Catholic women, in addition to men, may   become deacons. In the poll, conducted June 10 through June 16, 59.5 percent of Catholics said they strongly support the idea while 22.8 percent said they somewhat support the measure.

While the thought of ordination of women as priests has been controversial, there is a historic basis for women serving as deacons, said Dr. Marc Pugliese, Saint Leo assistant professor of theology and religion. But that, too has been heated. There were women ministers called “deacons” in the Church historically, Pugliese said. The disputed question is whether those women received sacramental ordination (holy orders). “Deaconesses” were first referred to in Romans 16.

Today, the issue is ordination, one of the seven sacraments of the Catholic Church. Now, both priests and deacons receive holy orders, but priests receive the “priestly degree” and deacons receive the “servant degree,” Pugliese said.

“The key question today is whether women as deacons can receive sacramental ordination,” Pugliese said.

Saint Leo University’s poll shows support for a commission to study the possibility of women becoming deacons was strong among the overall sample of Americans, including non-Catholics, with 66.5 percent saying they strongly or somewhat support such a study.

In most U.S. parishes, “lay people are participating in various ministries,” Pugliese said. “Women are participating already.”

Current deacons are open to women […]

By |July 1st, 2016|Institute|0 Comments

Floridians Lean in Favor of Medical Marijuana, Alternative-Energy Measures, and Tax Relief for Some, New Poll Reveals

SAINT LEO –  A June poll of Floridians by the Saint Leo University Polling Institute found residents leaning toward approving five ballot measures that would grant limited approval of use of medical marijuana, support of alternative energy sources, and property tax help for some residents.  Voters will encounter one of the measures on the ballot at the August 30 primary to determine major-party candidates for the U.S. Senate contest, and the other four on their ballots at the November 8 general election.

All the measures polled favorably, with support from more than half of the 500 statewide residents surveyed in the online poll, and from the even more telling cross-section of 459 likely voters. Still, sentiment could shift between now and the voting times, and there are significant pluralities of voters surveyed who said they were unsure, noted Frank Orlando, political scientist and director of the Saint Leo University Polling Institute. In the case of all the ballot proposals, 60 percent of the electorate have to vote in favor for the measure to pass.

The measure voters will consider first, on August 30, proposes creating tax breaks for businesses that install and use renewable energy devices, such as solar panels.  It would take effect in 2018 and last for 20 years. The proposal is coming before voters through the action of the state Legislature, which voted through join resolution to have the public decide the matter.

The Saint Leo survey asked likely voters statewide to indicate their position and found:

Florida Ballot Measure for August 30
Support – %
Oppose – %
Unsure – %

Provides property tax exemptions for renewable energy devices – Amendment 4


Orlando commented that the amendment is straightforward and faces little opposition.

Of the ballot measures voters will decide on […]

By |June 28th, 2016|Institute|0 Comments

New Saint Leo University Poll Shows Zika Virus Raises Concern Across the U.S., and in Florida

SAINT LEO, FL – U.S. and Florida residents say they are concerned about the Zika virus, according to a new Saint Leo University Poll conducted online June 10 through June 16.

In April, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control announced the Zika virus, which is spread through the bite of an infected Aedes species of mosquito, was found in 30 states. The virus can also be passed from a pregnant woman to her fetus. The CDC confirmed, and it has been widely reported, that the virus is responsible for severe defects, including microcephaly, in unborn children. When delivered, such babies have abnormally small heads and often have brain defects.

The Saint Leo poll asked: “How concerned would you say you are about the virus?” Nearly three-quarters, or 73 percent of the 1,001 U.S. respondents, say they are “very” or “somewhat” concerned about the virus.

In Florida, among 500 surveyed, 71.2 percent agree with that level of concern. On June 24, the confirmed travel-related Zika virus cases in Florida rose to 220 with seven new cases reported by the Florida Department of Health.

The CDC also reports that men infected with the virus people can pass it along through sexual contact.

“There is a lot of ‘I don’t know,’ and ‘I’m not sure,’ with this virus,” said Dr. Cheryl Clauson, Saint Leo University assistant professor of biology.

Consequently, there is concern about athletes and fans traveling to the Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro in Brazil, which has seen people infected through mosquito bites. There is confusion as to the safety of travel, as well.

“WHO says the Olympics will be fine,” Clauson said. “A hundred prominent physicians said that they disagreed in their open letter to the WHO.”

While the […]

By |June 28th, 2016|Institute|0 Comments

Saint Leo University Poll Tracks Plans for Summer Travel Abroad, Interest in Cuba, and Appetite for Domestic Road Travel

SAINT LEO, FL ­­– Only a small cross-section of Americans say they will change their summer plans to travel outside of the United States because of fears of terrorism, health concerns, or financial or family issues. According to a new survey by the Saint Leo University Polling Institute, 3 percent of respondents changed their vacation plans, but 22.7 percent said they still have plans to travel out of the country in the summer or fall. Most polled, 67.8 percent, say they had no plans for international travel.

The online poll was conducted June 10 through June 16, and had 1,001 respondents nationally.

Of those who cancelled travel abroad, about one in five said concern about health safety, such as the Zika virus, prompted canceling or changing travel plans (21.3 percent).  “The biggest change is for Latin America and the Caribbean because of the Zika virus,” said John Heather, Saint Leo instructor of international tourism and hospitality management.  In light of cancellations, destinations in those areas are offering deep discounts to try to lure tourists back, Heather said.

Other reasons cited for changing or canceling plans, according to the Saint Leo poll, were concern over terrorism (36.2 percent); plans simply changed (38.3 percent); and financial/family or personal issues (29.8 percent). Another 2.1 percent said they were “unsure” of why they changed plans.

Among those who say they were not planning on traveling abroad, the largest group, 48.9 percent, cited financial reasons.

Fears about terrorism were given as a reason by 23.9 percent. Following terrorist attacks in Paris (November 2015) and Belgium (March 2016), attempts are being made to drive tourism. “Europe is offering some deals now,” Heather commented. “And the dollar is very strong.”


On another topic, interest in travel to Cuba […]

By |June 28th, 2016|Institute|0 Comments

Few Americans Believe News Media Reporting, Saint Leo University Poll Shows

SAINT LEO, FL – Few Americans say they believe news reporting to be credible, according to a new survey released by the Saint Leo University Polling Institute. Of those surveyed, 22.4 percent say they believe “all or most” print, broadcast, or online stories. Out of 1,001 adults, only 2.9 percent say they believe “all” reporting.

The Saint Leo poll, conducted online June 10 through June 16, looked at views of news media as well as the coverage of the 2016 election cycle.

A large percentage of Americans polled—86.4 percent—say the news media have their own political and policy positions and attempts to influence public opinion. Just under one-half, 49.7 percent, rate the media’s coverage of the 2016 presidential election cycle as “good or very good,” while another 43.7 percent said it was “poor or very poor.”  There were 6.7 percent surveyed who said they were “unsure.”

While traditional news outlets struggle with ratings, circulation, and viewership, many people are receiving their news via social media platforms.

“Most people are getting their political news from Facebook,” said Dr. Kenny Embry, Saint Leo University associate professor of communication management. “And people are looking at the Twitter battle between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.”

Embry described some Americans as “accidental political consumers” on social media sites. “They do not go looking for political news on Facebook, but they can get caught up in friends’ conversations about political issues.”

The Saint Leo communications educator commented that the Internet is like an “echo chamber.” For example, Facebook algorithms will find people with similar points of view and their items will post in users’ newsfeeds. This can reduce exposure to different viewpoints and ideas, Embry pointed out.

Poll results indicate likely voters consider the rise and success of […]

By |June 24th, 2016|Institute|0 Comments

More Than Half Of Americans Polled Want Senators to Hear SCOTUS Nominee

SAINT LEO, FL – Earlier this month, the Saint Leo University Polling Institute ( asked Americans about the current vacancy on the U.S. Supreme Court – a topic addressed by President Barack Obama today – and more than half think Senate Republicans should give Obama’s nominee a hearing before the November presidential election.

In the June 10 -16 online poll of 1,001 adults, respondents answered this question:

In order to fill the vacancy caused by the death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, the President has nominated Judge Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court. Which of the following two approaches to the vacancy best reflects your own view?


The Senate Republicans should allow hearings and vote on President Obama’s nominee; or

The Senate Republican leaders should delay consideration of any nominee until after the next President is elected in November 2016.

Unsure / Don’t know


Margin of error: +/- 3.0%

Media contacts: Jo-Ann Johnston, Saint Leo University, University Communications by email at or (352) 588-8237 or (352) 467-0843 (cell/text) or Mary McCoy, Saint Leo University, University Communications or (352) 588-7118 or (813) 610-8416 (cell/text)


More About Our Research

METHODOLOGY: All surveys were conducted using an online survey instrument. The national poll of 1,001 adults has a plus or minus margin of error of 3.0 percent.

The Saint Leo University Polling Institute conducts its surveys using cutting-edge online methodology, which is rapidly transforming the field of survey research. The sample is drawn from large online panels, which allow for random selections that reflect accurate cross-sections of all demographic groups. Online methodology has the additional advantage of allowing participants to respond to the survey at a time, place, and speed that is convenient to them, which may result in more thoughtful answers. The Saint Leo […]

By |June 23rd, 2016|Institute|0 Comments

Clinton So Far the Preference in National Polling Results

SAINT LEO, FL – A new June survey on presidential candidates conducted by the Saint Leo University Polling Institute ( ( found Democrat Hillary Clinton leading Republican opponent Donald Trump by 44.9 percent to 37 percent among likely voters in a presumed two-candidate race with another 18.1 percent undecided.

The poll specifically asked respondents what they would do if the election were held the same day they took the online poll.

The survey was conducted with 1,001 adults—including 930 likely voters—-and was conducted June 10 through June 16. That was right after the California state primary that secured Clinton’s position as presumptive Democratic nominee. The mass shooting in Orlando, FL, was June 12.

During the same time period, the Saint Leo University Polling Institute also polled another 500 adults in Florida , including 459 likely voters, to gauge sentiments in the influential state. Florida likely voters also favored Clinton over Trump, by 50.1 percent to 35.3 percent for the businessman.

Political scientist Frank Orlando, director of the Saint Leo University Polling Institute, said the results point to success for Clinton, “unless something drastic happens.”

It’s not that survey respondents necessarily like Clinton, responses to other questions show. But more people dislike Trump. The survey base found that 62.6 percent of likely voters nationally attached unfavorable ratings to Trump, compared to the 54.7 percent who felt unfavorably about Clinton. The Florida voters followed the same pattern: 66 percent of likely voters felt unfavorably about Trump, compared to 53.4 percent who are unfavorable about Clinton.

“For sure, they are both not liked,” said Orlando. “Trump is liked even less. Likely voters are holding their noses for both.”

Clinton’s national favorable ratings came from 43.6 percent of likely voters polled, while Trump was favored by […]

By |June 22nd, 2016|Institute|0 Comments

Voters Ascribe Faults Including Racism to Trump in Significant Numbers

SAINT LEO, FL  – A new national poll by the Saint Leo University Polling Institute found that three out of four likely voters think that Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is arrogant and uncivil, and more than half even consider him to be a racist because of remarks he has made. He gets about the same reviews from likely voters in Florida, where the presumptive Republican nominee owns a home and resort property.

Respondents were asked their opinions about Trump in a section of a poll that also asked about the presidential campaign, national issues, and other topics. The online poll was conducted June 10 through June 16, and had 1,001 respondents nationally, including 930 likely voters. Opinions were gathered from a parallel sample 500 adults in Florida, including 459 likely voters, to gauge sentiments in the Sunshine State.

In the “Donald Trump” portion of the poll, respondents were presented with statements that either sum up a common criticism of Trump, a compliment about Trump, or a significant policy point from the Trump campaign. The respondents were asked whether they strongly agree, somewhat agree, somewhat disagree, or strongly disagree with each statement.

Likely voters registered agreement­—meaning strongly agree responses and somewhat agree responses were added together­—at the percentage levels shown for each statement.

National likely voters –percent
Florida likely voters –percent

Donald Trump is arrogant, uncivil and ego-driven

 The rise and success of Donald Trump is mostly a media phenomenon

Donald Trump has demonstrated, in his comments, that he is sexist

Donald Trump has demonstrated, in his comments, that he is a racist

Donald Trump is just as he describes himself – successful, a leader and intelligent

I support Donald Trump’s positions on immigration

Donald Trump has the temperament to be President of the United States

Donald Trump […]

By |June 22nd, 2016|Institute|0 Comments