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March Poll Shows Clinton and Trump as Likely Winners in Florida Primary Races; Trends Working Favorably for Democrats Overall

In Florida, billionaire Donald Trump is maintaining his lead among GOP presidential candidates, getting the support of 41.4 percent of likely Republican primary voters surveyed earlier this week by the Saint Leo University Polling Institute. Florida’s own U.S. Senator Marco Rubio trailed behind, attracting just 22.8 percent of the respondents in the online poll of 500 Republicans.

The likely Florida GOP voters answered the survey on March 8 and 9—with only days left before both major parties hold their presidential primary contests on Tuesday, March 15.  As for the other GOP candidates, 12.4 percent of the Republican respondents favored U.S. Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, and 10.8 percent will vote for Ohio Governor John Kasich. Another 12.6 percent said they are undecided.

The Saint Leo University Polling Institute also polled 500 likely Florida Democratic voters during the same two days, and found U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton strongly in the lead with 59.4 percent selecting her over U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont. Sanders supporters amounted to 27 percent of those polled, meaning he was more than 32 points behind Clinton. The proportion of undecided Democrats was 13.6 percent.

Each poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.5 percentage points.

Candidates are still campaigning hard in the remaining days before the primary, including in the influential Interstate 4 corridor from Tampa to Orlando. The geographic area includes the main campus of Saint Leo University, whose faculty members guide the Saint Leo University Polling Institute and analyze results.

Republicans Futures Examined

Political science Instructor Frank Orlando said upon reviewing the GOP contest that the trailing Marco Rubio is under intense pressure in his home state. “If he loses Tuesday, he’s effectively done,” said Orlando. “Even if he wins, […]

By |March 11th, 2016|Institute|0 Comments

Religion Can Play a Role in Americans’ Political Acts, But its Influence is Hard to Pinpoint

Faculty experts:

Dr. Michael Anthony Novak, theology,

Frank Orlando, political scientist,

The Saint Leo University Polling Institute asked adults in both its national sample and its separate Florida sample several questions about their attitudes toward religion and the intersection of religion and their thoughts and decisions on current events. As a basis of comparison, the respondents were asked about the role of religion in general decision.

In looking at the results, it is useful to know that the institute also broke out the responses of Catholics nationally (21.2 percent) from the overall U.S. base, which leans more toward non-denominational Christians (29.4 percent), with 19.3 percent following a mainline Protestant denomination. Only 2.7 percent of the national respondents were Jewish. More than 17 percent expressed no religious preference.

Even so, Americans reported in the following proportions that they strongly or at least somewhat agreed with the following statements (which were asked in this order).

I use my religious belief in my everyday life: 64.9 percent of Americans nationally and 71.4 percent of Catholics.
I use my religious beliefs as I make voting decisions: 43.4 percent of Americans, 47.1 percent of Catholics.
Presidential candidate Ben Carson was right to suggest a Muslim presidential candidate should be asked to choose between the U.S. Constitution and the Koran which conflicts with the U.S. Constitution; 46.8 percent nationally and 50.5 percent of Catholics.
The pope was right to call for an end to the arms trade and sale of weapons to other nations: 62.5 percent of Americans nationally and 71.4 percent of Catholics.
The United States is a secular nation that has been historically Judeo-Christian: 51.1 percent nationally, and 54.9 percent of Catholics.
The United States is a Judeo-Christian nation with secular activities: 37.6 percent nationally, and 39.3 percent […]

By |December 17th, 2015|Institute|0 Comments

In Season of Giving, New National Poll Shows Americans Donating More to Charities

‘Francis Effect’ Prompts Increased Contributions
Americans said they increased their donations to charity in 2015, according to a new survey conducted by the Saint Leo University Polling Institute. And Pope Francis’ historic visit to the United States may have influenced their generosity.

While 14.1 percent surveyed said they do not donate to charities and 15.9 percent indicated they would give less in 2015 than in 2014, 61 percent said they are giving more or the same this year. And 24.3 percent of Catholics surveyed said they will donate more to charity.

Did the so-called “Francis Effect,” based on the pope’s visit in September 2015, prompt increased giving? In fact, 14.9 percent said they were motivated to give the same or more by Pope Francis. The pope’s popularity remained high, as 70 percent of those polled said they had a very or somewhat favorable opinion of the pope. In a September Saint Leo poll, favorable opinion of Pope Francis was 75.8 percent. That poll was timed to coincide with the pope’s visit to the United States. His popularity dipped in Saint Leo’s October poll with 66.4 percent saying they had a favorable opinion, but increased with the December poll.

“Clearly, the pope had the most influence on Catholics,” said Dr. Marc Pugliese, Saint Leo University assistant professor of religion and theology in Virginia. “And Catholics already give; it is natural to their religion. And they were most influenced by the pope.”

More than 1,000 people were surveyed online from November 29 through December 3, 2015. The poll has a plus or minus 3 percent margin of error. Within that group, the answers were sorted by specific religious groups with non-Catholic Americans as well.

In the overall poll, respondents indicated whether Pope Francis’ […]

By |December 15th, 2015|Institute|0 Comments

Technology and You: Drone Concerns [Infographic]

By |December 15th, 2015|Institute|0 Comments

Technology and You: Interest in Owning a Drone [Infographic]

By |December 15th, 2015|Institute|0 Comments

More Than One-Third of Americans Say They’d Like to Have a Drone

Some See Drones as a Fun Hobby, Others Consider Them Intrusive or Hazardous
More than one-third of Americans surveyed nationally by the Saint Leo University Polling Institute—35.1 percent—say they would like someday to have an unmanned aerial mechanism or vehicle of their very own. The gadgets are more commonly known as drones.

Saint Leo ( asked people what they know and think about drones in an online survey completed by 1,007 adults between November 29 and December 3, 2015. Among respondents from all over the country, the term “drone” is commonly recognized: 78.4 percent said they are very aware or somewhat aware of the mechanisms.

Of those who were interested in having a drone, the leading reason cited was that they see it as “a fun hobby—more advanced than a model airplane.” In fact, 73.2 percent were drawn to the hobby idea. Respondents were allowed to choose more than one motive from a list of possibilities, but the others did not appeal as strongly. About one-third, 32.7 percent, said they want to see their “own property from heights.” The next most common answer was “safety/security interests,” chosen by 28.3 percent. And 11.7 percent admitted wanting “to observe my neighbors.”

Still, the majority of respondents don’t necessarily like the notion of drones becoming prevalent: 73.1 percent said they are somewhat concerned or very concerned about drones in U.S. airspace. That is almost as many people who said they know what a drone is. The top concerns articulated—respondents were allowed to select multiple reasons from a list—include these potential or feared scenarios:

personal privacy issues, among 64.4 percent;
potentially dangerous interference with airplanes, 57.8 percent;
weaponized domestic drones, 56.4 percent;
spying by the government on citizens, 50.7 percent;
devices susceptible to hacking, 50.3 percent.

In answer to […]

By |December 14th, 2015|Institute|0 Comments

Spending on Pets this Holiday Season [Infographic]

On the most recent Saint Leo University Polling Institute national and Florida surveys, respondents were asked: If you own pets, please think about and indicate how much you plan to spend or have spent on holiday gifts for your pets this season?

Nationally, the average for holiday pet spending in 2015 was $98.97 while statewide was greater at $121.38.


By |December 10th, 2015|Institute|0 Comments

Florida Mirrors Nation in Persistent Affinity for Trump or Clinton, Plus Growing Concern for Security

Strategic U.S. Senate Seat Not Yet Registering in Minds of Voters

Republican billionaire Donald Trump and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton continue to hold strong leads in their respective party presidential campaigns among likely voters in Florida, the most recent survey conducted by the Saint Leo University Polling Institute shows.

Response patterns from likely voters in Florida concerning national political candidates turned out to be very similar to results gathered from likely voters in a separate, broader national sample (see In state primary races for a U.S. Senate seat, many voters are still unfamiliar with those seeking or possibly seeking office.

In all, the institute polled 531 Floridians from November 29 to December 3, 2015; a national survey of 1,007 adults was conducted in parallel during the same time frame. As the Saint Leo Polling Institute conducts surveys of this type quarterly, some results from December were worth comparing to responses gathered in a survey conducted from October 17 to October 22, 2015.

It is also worth noting that the most recent surveying effort—November 29 to December 3—was a period when the November 3 terrorist attacks in Paris were fresh in the minds of the public. The data collection, though, was largely completed by the time of the December 2 murders in San Bernardino, CA, and so did not reflect sentiments possibly stemming from that event.

When Republican likely voters in the Florida survey (who numbered 147 of the 531 Sunshine State respondents) were asked to name the candidate they would support if the Republican primary “was held today”:

Donald Trump gathered 30.6 percent, compared to 25.8 percent in the October survey.
S. Senator Marco Rubio of Florida was selected by 15 percent, compared to 21.5 percent in October.
Former Florida […]

By |December 9th, 2015|Institute|0 Comments

Trump Gains While Carson Declines in New Saint Leo University National Political Poll

Clinton and Trump Each Appeal to Voters as Strong on Security
Billionaire businessman Donald Trump has held steady as the leading presidential candidate among likely Republican voters surveyed nationally by the Saint Leo University Polling Institute. Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton continues to outrun significantly her lingering challengers in the party with the nation’s likely Democratic voters, and appears poised to lock the Democratic nomination, the poll suggests.

The two also ranked highest among likely voters of both parties when asked about the candidates likely to be most effective at keeping people safe from terror.

The poll was conducted November 29 to December 3, 2015, starting three weeks after the terrorist attacks in Paris. The sampling was largely completed by the time of the December 2 mass shooting in San Bernardino, CA, and so sentiments stemming from that event, now considered a terrorist attack, are not reflected in the poll results. More than 1,000 adults participated in this quarterly poll, and responses from likely voters among that base were examined for the best political insights. Some results below are compared to the analogous results gathered in the poll conducted October 17 to October 22, 2015, by the Saint Leo University Polling Institute.

Trump, Rubio, Bush, and Cruz Gain Support; Carson Declines

When Republican likely voters in the national the survey (who numbered 220 of the 1,007 respondents) were asked to name the candidate they would support if the Republican primary was held today:

Donald Trump gathered 29.1 percent, compared to 22.7 percent in the October survey.
Ben Carson’s support of 13.6 percent was a decline from the October political survey, when it was 22.2 percent.
S. Senator Marco Rubio of Florida was selected by 11.4 percent, about the same as the […]

By |December 9th, 2015|Institute|0 Comments

New Saint Leo University Poll Shows Yearning for Safeguards After Paris Attacks

Faculty experts: Professor Douglas Astolfi, historian, (352) 588-8386, or; Instructor Frank Orlando, political scientist, (352) 588-8414 or

A new survey from the Saint Leo University Polling Institute—conducted since the Paris terrorist attacks—shows Americans now think of terrorism as the second-leading issue the nation faces. Americans are also personally concerned about attending large public events and about the adequacy of security measures generally.

The national online poll of more than 1,000 adults was conducted by the Saint Leo University Polling Institute between November 29 and December 3. The attacks in Paris occurred on November 3. The results were almost all collected by the time of the December 2 murders in San Bernardino, CA, (now considered terror-related) and so did not reflect feelings stemming from that event. The margin of error for these findings is plus or minus 3 percentage points.

Questions and responses from this wide-ranging poll that deal with terrorism in one way or another follow.

When asked “what do you think is the most important issue facing the country today?”

The response “jobs and the economy” continued to hold the top spot, but the response level declined to 25.8 percent, compared to 32.4 percent in October. Meanwhile, the generalized response “terrorism” shot up more than 10 percentage points to 16.9 percent from 5.6 percent in October 2015, putting the issue in second place. The third-place issue was “homeland security and anti-terror policy,” (more domestic than global) at 15.1 percent, compared to 4.5 percent in October. Issues such as government spending and healthcare ranked higher in the fall.

When respondents were asked to indicate whether they strongly agree, somewhat agree, somewhat disagree, strongly disagree, or were unsure about policies and opinions in the news, these findings emerged:

More than three-quarters, […]

By |December 8th, 2015|Institute|0 Comments