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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.

Marco Rubio a Strong Favorite Among Florida GOP Voters for Senate Candidacy, Saint Leo University Polling Results Affirm

A special June survey conducted among Florida Republican likely voters by the Saint Leo University Polling Institute showed strong preference for returning former GOP presidential candidate Marco Rubio to the U.S. Senate to continue representing the Sunshine State, over one of the several other, lesser-known GOP candidates who have been running.

When Rubio entered the race for the GOP nomination for president, he said he would not seek re-election to his seat in the Senate. But now the South Florida Republican appears to be weighing a Senate run, and poll results from Saint Leo show voters undeniably favor him.

Saint Leo released these selected findings Friday from a more wide-ranging poll—still to be released starting next week—when one of the other GOP candidates for the U.S. Senate announced he was dropping out of the race at midday Friday. That candidate, U.S. Representative David Jolly of Florida’s St. Petersburg area, was selected by only 4 percent of the likely GOP voters as their choice among the slate of current candidates plus Rubio. By contrast, Rubio was selected by 52 percent.

And even when GOP poll respondents were asked their favorite among declared candidates—without Rubio—the other candidates fared poorly. More than half the respondents didn’t know whom they would select in the primary, which will be held August 30.

“These results clearly show that Marco Rubio starts in a strong position in his expected bid to win the GOP nomination,” said Frank Orlando, political scientist and director of the Saint Leo University Polling Institute. “Rubio’s name recognition is so much stronger than that of his competitors that they’d need to work extremely hard to close that gap.”

Specifically, here is how GOP respondents answered two relevant questions in the online poll, conducted […]

By |June 17th, 2016|Institute|0 Comments

Polling Topic Back in the News: A Political Scientist’s Commentary on the Pope’s Environmental Encyclical

Frank Orlando
Instructor of political science
Faculty expert on American politics

Pope Francis’ encyclical on the environment, Laudato Si, is winning plaudits for adhering to mainstream scientific belief on climate change and calling attention to its disproportionate effect on the poor. What effect will this have on the American political landscape? Pope Francis has maintained a high approval rating throughout his first two years as the Bishop of Rome. Parallels can be drawn between the way that President Obama used broad public support at the beginning of his term to pass the Affordable Care Act and the Holy Father’s attempt to influence the climate debate ahead of key meetings this year. While it is likely that Laudato Si will raise the salience of the issue for the American public, I believe that it will do more to change the pope’s approval ratings than alter opinions on climate change.

Despite the fact that Pope Francis has presented a cautious and complex document, most citizens will receive takeaway messages filtered through opinion leaders in a polarized context. Democrats will point to the pope as an example of the moral imperative of action on the issue. This may excite those who already believed something needed to be done and cause them to hold the pope in greater esteem, but the effect will be reversed for those who think the issue is overblown.

Voters are more closely tied to their party identification than religious affiliation. When these two identities are in opposition, they are more likely to dismiss the religious argument than their party’s platform.

At the margin, there will be some Catholic voters who shift their opinion on the issue, especially with the pope’s historic swing through the United States scheduled for […]

By |June 26th, 2015|Institute|0 Comments

The Florida Factor: Why the Sunshine Persists in National Politics

Opinion/Editorial by Frank Orlando, instructor of political science, Saint Leo University
The 2016 presidential election may be nearly three years away, but in Florida, the crown jewel of the electoral map, it’s never too early to start comparing the candidates vying for the country’s highest office.  Florida has been the most closely divided state in the Union in two of the past four elections, and figures to be just as close heading into the 2016 electoral cycle.

An often overlooked factor is the growing role that the state of Florida plays in deciding who will ultimately win the Republican and Democratic Party nominations.  Prior to the 2008 election, the Florida Legislature voted to move the Florida primary date up the calendar before Super Tuesday in order to increase the importance of the state in the nomination process.  In 2008 and 2012, Florida played a big role in John McCain and Mitt Romney securing the GOP nomination, respectively.  It seems likely that 2016 will follow that trend, as Florida looks to be heading toward a primary date early in March at the latest.

New polling from Saint Leo University shows us the relative strength of the candidates that are most likely to be competing for the top spot in the Sunshine State.  On the Democratic side, Hilary Clinton seems to be in a commanding position, should she decide to run.  89% of Florida Democrats believe that they could support the former Secretary of State for the Democratic nomination, while only 34% of likely Democratic voters could support the next highest Democrat on the list, Vice President Joe Biden.  Ms. Clinton’s strong support should come as no surprise to those who observed her comfortably carrying Florida in the 2008 Presidential […]

By |December 13th, 2013|Institute|0 Comments