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Favorite Christmas Movies, TV Shows Spotlighted in New Saint Leo University Poll

SAINT LEO, FL ­– Choosing a favorite Christmas movie or TV show can be a challenge. There is a movie about a department store Santa Claus who claims to be the real Santa. Or how about a holiday movie plot with a suicidal man who sacrificed his dreams for the good of his small town and is guided by a guardian angel to see that he made a difference. Then there is a classic cartoon featuring beloved characters who take a stand against the commercialization of Christmas and find the real meaning of the holiday.

A new survey released by the Saint Leo University Polling Institute ( shows Miracle on 34th Street claimed the top spot as a Christmas favorite among 18 choices. It garnered 39.8.percent. The online poll surveyed 1,001 adults in the United States from November 27 through November 30, 2016.

The majority of poll respondents, 90.1 percent, said they celebrate Christmas. Those who celebrate the holiday were asked to name their favorite Christmas movies and TV shows. Multiple responses were accepted.

In a poll of 501 Florida residents, Miracle on 34th Street also was the No. 1 pick with 43.3 percent. Perhaps those who flocked from the North to the South fondly remember Christmas shopping at Macy’s in New York City, where the movie is set.

Second place went to the classic movie It’s a Wonderful Life, which starred Jimmy Stewart as George Bailey. The USA network will air the movie on Friday, December 16, and it will air at 8 p.m., EST, Christmas Eve, on NBC. The movie, celebrating its 70th anniversary, earned second place in the national poll with 36.8 percent, while Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, a 1964 stop motion animated television special, placed […]

By |December 12th, 2016|Institute|0 Comments

Favorite Christmas Tunes Ranked by Saint Leo University Poll Respondents

SAINT LEO, FL – Do you run screaming into the street when you hear the first note of Alvin and the Chipmunks’ Christmas Don’t Be Late? Does the sound of dogs barking Jingle Bells give you a nervous twitch?

Rest assured that most folks select an old classic—a very old classic dating back to 1818—when naming their favorite Christmas song.

A new survey released by the Saint Leo University Polling Institute ( shows Silent Night comes in first among 47 choices for the top Christmas song pick. The online poll surveyed 1,001 adults in the United States from November 27 through November 30, 2016, as many radio stations began playing holiday tunes.

The majority of poll respondents, 90.1 percent, said they do celebrate Christmas. Those people were asked to name their favorite Christmas carols. Multiple responses were accepted.

Three religious songs, focusing on the birth of Christ, and five secular songs make up the Top 8 in Saint Leo’s poll. Silent Night earned the top spot with 50.4 percent listing it as a favorite. Next, is the classic White Christmas. The song written by Irving Berlin garnered 48 percent. Coming in third was Jingle Bells with 44.4 percent.

Rounding out the top spots are O, Come, All Ye Faithful; Joy to the World; I’ll Be Home for Christmas; Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas; and Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.

Saint Leo’s poll of 501 adults in Florida, shows even those in the sunny south are pining for the frozen stuff with White Christmas coming in third with 48.4 percent while Jingle Bells was No. 1 with 49.7 percent. Silent Night came in a close second with 49 percent.

When Dr. Cynthia Selph was involved in planning music for contemporary services, she said […]

By |December 12th, 2016|Institute|0 Comments

Not All Election Wounds Healed, New Saint Leo University Poll Shows

But More Say They Are Mending Fences With Family, Friends

SAINT LEO, FL – A combative election season has left some strife among friends and families, a new survey by the Saint Leo University Polling Institute ( shows.

Respondents were asked if the contentious election cycle put them at odds with family or friends. Almost one-quarter, 23.8 percent, suggest they did find themselves in conflict with family/friends.

The national online poll of 1,001 adults was conducted from November 27 through November 30, 2016, and has a plus or minus 3.0 percent margin of error. A poll of 501 adults in Florida was taken at the same time and has a plus or minus 4.5 percent margin of error.

The political cycle overlapped this year with another set of topics that Saint Leo regularly explores. As a Catholic institution, Saint Leo University regularly polls on the impact of Pope Francis and his personal popularity. In the November poll, the pope continues to have a high favorability rating of 62.6 percent.

The post-election survey also asked about the Jubilee Year of Mercy, which was opened by Pope Francis in 2015, and which officially ended on November 20. Pope Francis called for continuing the year’s essence as a time of forgiveness and reconciliation. But those surveyed may not be ready to forgive.

Of those poll respondents who said they were estranged from friends and family because of the election, 40.6 percent say they have not forgiven those they are at odds with, 35.5 percent say they are working on forgiveness, 15.8 percent say they have forgiven some family and friends, and another 8.1 percent say they are unsure.

In Florida, more respondents say they have forgiven some folks—23.8 percent—and more say they are working on […]

By |December 7th, 2016|Institute|0 Comments

New Saint Leo University Poll Shows Opinion of Pope Remains High

SAINT LEO, FL – Pope Francis continues to post a high favorability rating, according to a new Saint Leo University Polling Institute ( survey. Poll respondents were asked if their opinion of the pope is strongly favorable, somewhat favorable, somewhat unfavorable, or not at all favorable.

While his popularity dipped slightly to 62.6 percent overall, the poll shows among Catholics, 85.8 percent favorability, which is up slightly from 84.2 in September 2016, but down from 87.5 percent in the June 2016 poll.

In the time between polls, Pope Francis ended the Jubilee Year of Mercy, which began on the feast of the Immaculate Conception, December 8, 2015. “The attention given to its closing at the end of November may have drawn more attention to Pope Francis and positively affected his favorability rating among Catholics,” said Dr. Marc Pugliese, Saint Leo University assistant professor of theology and religion.

According to Saint Leo’s most recent poll, among 1,001 respondents, 62.6 percent hold a very or somewhat favorable opinion of Pope Francis. The September poll showed his favorability at 65.4 percent. In June 2016, it was 68.9 percent. The highest percentage 75.8 percent, which Pope Francis received in Saint Leo’s poll conducted in September 2015 after his visit to the United States.

“The pope has not been as ‘publicly active’ since September 2016 as he had been the year before in September,” Pugliese said, and this could account for a slight decline in Pope Francis’ favorability rating among the general population.

On September 4, 2016, he canonized Mother Teresa of Calcutta. “Many people—not just Catholics and religious people in general, but even those who are not religious—had great respect and admiration for Mother Teresa.”

The second factor contributing to the slight dip could be […]

By |December 7th, 2016|Institute|0 Comments

Confidence in Law Enforcement Continues, But Viewpoints Vary by Race

SAINT LEO, FL ­– Despite issues of shooting deaths at the hands of police and attacks on police officers, a new nationwide survey by the Saint Leo University Polling Institute ( found that trust and confidence in law enforcement officers, police departments, and the judicial system is steady or slightly increasing.

In tracking questions from the polling institute’s October 2015 survey, ratings of policing overall have improved during the last year. The overall positive rating of community police departments increased from 54.3 percent last year to 60.7 percent this year in a national poll, a result that is statistically significant. Likewise, 60.9 percent of the 1,103 adults polled say they have a favorable opinion of the police officers in their community. Last year, 53.6 percent rated officers in their community as “good.”

In Florida ratings held in the same range. In Saint Leo’s online poll of 502 state residents, the positive rating for community police department was 57.4 percent in October 2015, compared to 53.3 percent in September 2016—not a statistically significant decrease. The percentage of Florida residents who rated their community’s policing agency as “poor” in this year’s poll was 22.6 percent, compared to as 18.7 percent in 2015.

Still, Dr. Eloy L. Nuñez, associate professor in the Department of Public Safety Administration at Saint Leo University, said that “a favorability rating in the 50-percent-to-60-percent range is a fairly good one, and compares favorably with almost all other government services.”

The Saint Leo University Polling Institute also asked those responding to think about their own trust and confidence in police officers, police departments, and the judicial system. They were asked to rate the following based on their belief that they would be treated in a fair, impartial, and […]

By |September 21st, 2016|Institute|0 Comments

Saint Leo Poll Finds Americans Wary of Refugee Situation

Many Polled Seem to See Other Immigrants to U.S. Differently

SAINT LEO, FL – While President Barack Obama has been making the case that the United States and other nations should take in more refugees, a new Saint Leo University Polling Institute ( survey shows that Americans may be reluctant. Less than half agree that the United States “has an obligation to accommodate refugees when possible.”

Earlier this month, the Obama administration announced a plan to increase the overall number of refugees accepted into the United States to 110,000 in a one-year period beginning October 1 because of the crisis in Syria and the Mideast. And this (Tuesday) morning at the United Nations, President Obama told fellow world leaders: “We must now open our hearts and do more to help refugees who are in desperate need of a home.”

Within domestic political circles in the United States, some Republicans oppose the expansion idea on security grounds. Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has said he wants to stop the entry of more Syrian refugees specifically for fears of admitting terrorists. The Hillary Clinton campaign favors refugee resettlement and an overhaul of the immigration system.

The Saint Leo University Polling Institute, in a mid-September survey of political attitudes nationally and in Florida, included four questions on immigration topics. The online respondents to the polls—1,103 nationally and a separate sample of 502 just from Florida—were presented with a series of statements, and asked to indicate whether they agree strongly, agree somewhat, disagree somewhat, or disagree strongly. They were also allowed to say they didn’t know.

When the responses for strongly and somewhat agreeing to the four statements were combined, the results were as shown in this table.

Immigration Statements
U.S. –  % strongly and somewhat […]

By |September 20th, 2016|Institute|0 Comments

Zika Concerns Grow, New Saint Leo University Poll Shows

More than three-quarters of Floridians now feel some level of unease

Concern about the Zika virus continues to grow in Florida, a new Saint Leo University Polling Institute survey shows.

The online poll, conducted August 14 to August 18, surveyed 1,500 adults in Florida, and polling ended a day before Governor Rick Scott announced that mosquitos are spreading the virus in the Miami area. Today (August 23), Scott announced a non-travel related case of Zika was found in Pinellas County.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control describes the ailment as being caused by the Zika virus, which is spread mainly through the bite of an infected mosquito (Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus).

The virus can be passed from an infected pregnant woman to her fetus. The CDC also confirmed that the virus is responsible for severe defects, including microcephaly, in unborn children. When delivered, such babies have abnormally small heads and often, brain defects.

In addition, the disease also can be spread through sexual contact, according to the CDC.

Saint Leo University’s poll ( shows 79.3 percent of respondents say they are “very” or “somewhat” concerned about the virus. The polling institute’s June survey of 500 adults in Florida provided a similar response with 71.2 percent expressing concern.

The August poll states 11.1 percent say they are “somewhat unconcerned,” 7.5 percent indicate they are “not at all concerned,” and 2.1 percent say they are unsure or do not know enough to answer.

In general, people who are healthy and are not thinking of having children anytime soon have little to nothing to worry about from Zika, said Dr. Cheryl Clauson, Saint Leo University assistant professor of biology.

Many of those infected with the virus have no symptoms or only mild symptoms, according to the […]

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

Saint Leo Survey Finds Water Contamination Cases and Supply Questions Worry the Public, Nationally and in Florida

SAINT LEO, FL – After hearing about contaminated public drinking water supplies in Flint, Mich., and a handful of other communities, more than half of respondents in a national poll say they are very or somewhat concerned about the safety of their own hometown’s water supply, the Saint Leo University Polling Institute ( found.

The new national survey also reveals that more than three-quarters of those polled were at least somewhat aware of the contamination that has occurred in various states and communities and was reported nationally in news media. The online poll contacted 1,001 adults nationally from June 10 through June 16. A parallel sample of 500 adults was polled during the same time period in Florida, the home state of Saint Leo University.

Results were markedly similar in the national and state surveys, revealing widespread unease about water supplies. Saint Leo science faculty commenters said that because of the provisions of the federal Safe Drinking Water Act (first passed in 1974 with subsequent updates) to protect drinking water and its public sources, for the most part, the United States provides safe drinking water from the tap—a benefit that many places in the world do not enjoy. Still, recent cases have raised fears, and the public appears to have serious questions about water resources.

The polling institute’s June survey included questions to gauge public perceptions of water quality, of the reliability of the infrastructure, and attitudes about regulation, among other issues.

The survey started asking about confidence in water supplies with these questions:
Water safety has been in the news lately.  Contaminants such as lead has been found in public water supplies in Flint, Michigan; Sebring, Ohio; Washington, D.C.; Durham, North Carolina; Columbia, South Carolina, and many other communities. […]

By |July 6th, 2016|Institute|0 Comments

Three Out of Four Americans Register Concern Over Global Climate Change

More Than Half Note Warmer Temperatures, and More Floridians Are Watching Seacoasts

SAINT LEO, FL – Three-quarters of Americans are either very concerned or somewhat concerned about global climate change, remaining at the same level as last year, according to the latest national online survey from the Saint Leo University Polling Institute ( The percentage level of concern reported in 2016 was 75.1 percent, compared to 73 percent last year, which is essentially a statistical tie.

Strikingly, in peninsular Florida, a parallel survey of residents found that 81.3 percent were very concerned or somewhat concerned, a marked increase from last year’s poll around the same time when 67 percent felt that way. There was particularly sharp upward movement in the percentage of those who said they were very concerned, from 28 percent last year to 45.9 percent this year. Meanwhile, other percentage levels shrank. Those who reported they were only somewhat concerned fell to 7.6 percent from 18 percent in 2015, and those who said they were not at all concerned declined this year to 8.3 percent compared to 14 percent last year.

Few people surveyed said they don’t believe climate change is occurring: 4.1 percent nationally and 3.7 percent in Florida this year, versus 4 percent nationally and 8 percent in Florida last year.

“I think what these numbers are telling us is that awareness of global climate change is growing,” said Leo Ondrovic, PhD, a Saint Leo science faculty member and consultant to the polling institute.

The national survey was conducted from March 13 to March 17, 2016, nationally, among 1,015 adult respondents, resulting in a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points. (The results can vary by that many points in either direction.) During […]

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

Survey Finds Wide Support in Florida for Broader Access to Medical Marijuana, and Support for Consumer Solar Sales

SAINT LEO, FL – The Saint Leo University Polling Institute found considerable support in its March survey of Floridians for allowing state residents to use marijuana for medical reasons, and for allowing sales of surplus solar power by consumers with solar panels through new laws.

The polling institute anticipates continued high interest in the topics—even after the conclusion of the Florida Legislature’s session on March 11—and so measured public sentiment on the matters in its online poll of 540 Florida residents, conducted from March 13 to March 17, 2016.

In fact, Florida voters will be asked on their ballots in the general election in November 2016 whether the state constitution should be altered to allow residents to legally use marijuana for certain medical ailments. It would take 60 percent of the voters to approve for the measure to be enacted.

Governor Rick Scott on March 25 did sign a bill passed during the session that allows terminally ill patients to use marijuana to ease physical suffering, but the parameters for legal use under the new statute are much more limited than the broader ballot measure that voters will consider. The current survey indicates popular sentiment in favor of the spirit of the ballot measure.

Issue Statements PresentedTo Survey Respondents
Strongly Agree –       %
Somewhat Agree –      %
Total Strongly & Somewhat Agree – %
Strongly & SomewhatDisagree – %
Don’t Know –     %

The Florida Legislature should approve medical marijuana for Florida resident use

Florida residents, with solar panels or other means to collect electricity, should be permitted by new laws to sell surplus electricity to the grid or electric companies
9.5(6.7 + 2.8)


In spite of that support, opponents can be expected to advocate for the continued restrictions on marijuana use as the election draws closer, said Frank Orlando, […]

By |March 30th, 2016|Institute|0 Comments