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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

New Poll Shows Americans Remain Conflicted on Issues of Firearms

SAINT LEO, FL – A new poll released by the Saint Leo University Polling Institute (  shows that 60 percent of those surveyed nationally say they think some new, additional limited licensing or permitting, and some restrictions on certain firearms such as assault weapons are necessary. Of the remaining balance of the 1,015 adults polled online March 13 through March 17, 2016, 24.9 percent said there should be no new, additional regulations or control of firearms for any reason. And 7.6 percent of respondents indicate they believed that firearms should not be owned privately.

More than three-quarters (78.3 percent) of Americans surveyed report the issue of gun control/gun rights will be very (49.3 percent) or somewhat important (29 percent) to them in the November 2016 elections. The Saint Leo poll showed 35.1 percent said they were more likely to support a candidate in November 2016, who opposes any new, additional controls on firearms. But a broader group supports candidates who favor some ownership control.

A parallel online poll of 540 residents in Florida generated similar findings.

“There is always a tension,” said Dr. Douglas Astolfi, Saint Leo history professor and polling institute expert. “People seem willing to live with curtailment of assault rifles, but don’t want to give up firearms they own.”

The Saint Leo poll shows 82.8 percent strongly and somewhat agree that active duty military should allowed to carry their firearms on U.S. military bases within the United States. The high figure indicates that respondents may be concerned following high profile, mass shootings at Fort Hood, Texas, and at the Navy Yard in Washington, DC, as well as attacks on recruiting and reserve stations in Chattanooga, TN.

Support for so-called open-carry laws was high as 55.1 percent said […]

By |March 29th, 2016|Institute|0 Comments

New Book by Pope Francis May Enhance His Popularity

SAINT LEO, FL – A new national poll by the Saint Leo University Polling Institute shows the popularity of Pope Francis continues to increase and one in five Americans are aware of his new book.

Nationally, 68.4 percent of the 1,015 adult respondents view him favorably and among Catholics, 88.1 percent. Also, about one in five Americans are aware of his new book, the first published since he became pontiff. His new work, The Name of God is Mercy, may be contributing to his approval rating. The book was published in January.

“The fact that among Catholics nationally, the pope’s current favorable opinion is higher now (88.1 percent) than it was in December 2015 (84.5 percent in Saint Leo’s December poll) could very well be due to the release of his new book,” said Dr. Marc Pugliese, Saint Leo assistant professor of theology and religion.

Some people say they are reading the book in groups at their churches or book clubs. “I’m not surprised that so many people have said they are or will be reading the pope’s book, and that there are so many who will be reading the book in groups,” Pugliese said. “Pope Francis seems to connect with people—and not just Catholics—in ways that other recent popes might not have. When I was in Philadelphia for the pope’s visit there, I passed a Presbyterian church that had a sign saying it is a ‘Pope Francis Church’ and that they were studying the pope’s environmental encyclical.”

Pugliese read the book and found it inspirational, and of potential interest to a broad range of Americans. It “contains themes that would resonate with both conservatives and liberals,” he said.

Saint Leo’s poll analysis examined the responses by various demographic groups. […]

By |March 29th, 2016|Institute|0 Comments