Institute

Polls Suggest Floridians Want Direct Market Access to Solar Power from Neighboring Consumers and Businesses

Proposal circulating would leave big utilities out of such transactions
As consumer groups, political organizations ranging across the spectrum of philosophies from liberal to conservative, utilities, and others consider whether the energy marketplace system in Florida should be changed to allow consumers and businesses to sell excess solar-generated power directly to buyers, the most recent Saint Leo University Polling Institute Florida survey finds most respondents in favor of the idea.

A single question on the politics of solar power sales was included in the online survey conducted with 535 respondents in the period from May 25 to 31. The margin of error for the results is plus or minus 4.5 percentage points.

The full question and responses generated are as follows:

A proposed Florida constitutional amendment would allow businesses and individuals to   generate and sell solar power to other consumers without having to sell the power to utility companies. Do you favor or oppose allowing businesses and individuals to sell solar power directly to other consumers?

28%
Strongly support

50%
Somewhat support

9%
Somewhat oppose

4%
Strongly oppose

9%
Don’t know / unsure

 

If the proposed amendment is allowed to move forward—its opponents are challenging this in court—then voters would see on their 2016 election ballots a question asking whether they want the amendment or not. The wording of the proposed amendment specifies parameters to “a constitutional right to produce up to two megawatts of solar power and sell that power directly to others at the same or contiguous property.” According to the Solar Energy Industries Association (a trade group), a megawatt of solar energy can power, on average in America, 164 homes, with that sum varying from state to state depending upon factors including the amount of sunshine available, temperature, wind, and average household energy consumption.

Upon reviewing the […]

By |June 12th, 2015|Institute|0 Comments

Freedom of Expression Reigns Supreme, Except in Cases of Threats

New poll shows how Americans think about topics before the U.S. Supreme Court
Currently facing the Supreme Court is a rash of issues that deal with freedom of expression. For example, if someone makes threatening remarks via social media, does that constitute the same thing as making threatening remarks face to face? Can states ban license plates with offensive materials? Can towns allow large temporary political signs but restrict the size of signage for other purposes?

In a national sample of 1,022 adults, results of the Saint Leo University Polling Institute poll believe that freedom of speech is protected except in cases where threatening remarks are being made. Not every respondent answered each question.

A man who posted song lyrics on Facebook such as, “There’s one way to love you but a thousand ways to kill you. I’m not going to rest until your body is a mess, soaked in blood and dying from all the little cuts,” was arrested, convicted, and jailed on charges of threatening his estranged wife. Did his social media post of song lyrics rise to the level of a criminal threat?

50%
Yes, he threatened her criminally

29%
No, his threats did not rise to a crime

22%
Don’t know / unsure

 

A majority of respondents said the Facebook post constituted a threat. Frank Orlando, instructor of political science at Saint Leo University, says that this result shows changing views of social media’s role in society.

“The proliferation of social media has caused us to become less naïve on social media,” Orlando said. “Online communications are monitored by friends, law enforcement, etc., and people know that the stuff they post is in the public domain.”

One cause of this shift is that, as online communication becomes more prevalent, we are starting to […]

By |June 12th, 2015|Institute|0 Comments

Americans Mostly Approving of Expanded Trade with Cuba, Pleased Pope Francis Is Traveling There

They may wait and see before making personal travel plans
A majority of Americans, 61 percent, approve of the Obama administration’s new policy of relaxing trade policies with communist-controlled Cuba, at either a gradual and selective pace or in a broad and accelerated fashion, a new survey from the Saint Leo University Polling Institute shows.

Americans are supportive also of Pope Francis’ plans to visit Cuba in September, and a majority registered agreement (either strong or qualified) with the pontiff’s decision to meet at the Vatican with Cuban leader Raul Castro on May 10.

The SLU Polling Institute found similar sentiments in a slightly longer series of questions in Florida. (See http://polls.saintleo.edu) The national survey base was not presented with questions on potential ferry or cruise ship travel­­ to Cuba, a topic that is of higher local interest in Florida.) All the data was collected in an online survey of more than 1,000 individuals (voters and non-voters) during the period between May 25 and 31. The survey has a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.

The following questions and responses dealt with trade, commerce, and employment sectors, and show that 39 percent feel trade should be opened gradually and selectively, while another 22 percent favor faster expansion of trade, for a combined 61 percent favoring an expansion of trade over the current levels.

Some businesses are interested in exploring more trade with Cuba, while some legislators oppose the idea of regular trade with the communist nation. American companies are allowed to sell food and medicine to Cuba. Which of the following statements comes closest to your view?

 15%
The current trade restrictions should be left in place

39%
Trade should be opened gradually to selected goods and services, but not […]

By |June 11th, 2015|Institute|0 Comments

Floridians Mostly Approving of Expanded Trade with Cuba, Pleased Pope Francis Is Traveling There

They may wait and see before making personal travel plans
A majority of Floridians, 63 percent, approve of the Obama administration’s new policy of relaxing trade policies with communist-controlled Cuba, and 58 percent are at least somewhat supportive of having direct ferry or cruise ship service from U.S. ports to the island nation, a new survey from the Saint Leo University Polling Institute shows.

Floridians are even more approving of Pope Francis’ plans to visit Cuba in September, and more than half registered strong or partial agreement of the pontiff’s decision to meet at the Vatican with Cuban leader Raul Castro on May 10.

The SLU Polling Institute found similar sentiments nationally. (See http://polls.saintleo.edu)

The national survey base was not presented with questions on ferry or cruise ship travel­­, as that topic is of natural geographic interest to Floridians in particular.) All the data was collected in an online survey of 535 individuals (voters and non-voters) during the period between May 25 and 31. The statewide survey has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.5 percentage points.

The following questions and responses dealt with trade, commerce, and employment sectors, and show that 43 percent feel trade should be opened gradually and selectively, while another 20 percent favor faster expansion of trade, for a combined 63 percent favoring an expansion of trade over the current levels.

Some businesses are interested in exploring more trade with Cuba, while some legislators oppose the idea of regular trade with the communist nation. American companies are allowed to sell food and medicine to Cuba. Which of the following statements comes closest to your view?

 16%
The current trade restrictions should be left in place

43%
Trade should be opened gradually to selected goods and services, but not opened […]

By |June 11th, 2015|Institute|0 Comments

Floridians Seem to Want Medicaid to Cover More People, But Support May Waver

The Saint Leo University Polling Institute found that as of late May, 68 percent of statewide residents polled said they either strongly support or somewhat support using federal money to expand the Medicaid government health program to cover more people in Florida. By contrast, 28 percent either strongly oppose or somewhat oppose the idea. Still, answers to another question on the topic show Floridians as more evenly divided on whether or not they like the idea of a Medicaid expansion in Florida.

The issue has sharply divided the state legislature, too, which has been called back to a special session this month to pass a budget after failing to do in its regular spring session. The lawmakers could not agree on a budget because they could not come to terms on the question of handling health care, so the findings of the Saint Leo University Polling Institute survey are particularly timely.

The state survey was conducted online among 535 adults between May 25-31 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.5 percentage points.

Regarding Medicaid, the survey specifically asked the question this way, with these results:

Medicaid is a government health care program for poor people and the disabled that is funded using both federal and state tax money. Some states are expanding Medicaid programs by making more people eligible for health insurance through Medicaid and are using federal tax dollars to pay for it through the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. Do you support or oppose expanding the Medicaid program using federal money to cover more people in Florida?

Republican
Independent
Democrat

Total
Possible responses
 
R
I
D

39%
Strongly support

25%
41%
50%

29%
Somewhat support

23%
24%
35%

11%
Somewhat oppose

19%
6%
7%

17%
Strongly oppose

30%
23%
5%

4%
Don’t know / unsure

4%
6%
3%

Number responding from each population

146
80
166

 

The survey next asked about the topic in terms of the state’s […]

By |June 11th, 2015|Institute|0 Comments

Florida Senate Race Is a Toss-Up

“Undecided” Is Clear Winner in Race to Succeed Rubio
If the election for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Marco Rubio were held today, “undecided” would be easily elected.

A new survey by the Saint Leo University Polling Institute confirms the race is a pure toss-up with no candidate having much of an advantage.

In a generic election, an unnamed Democrat leads a generic Republican by a statistically meaningless three points, 42 to 39 percent:

In the 2016 election for United States Senate in Florida, will you probably vote for the Republican candidate or for the Democratic candidate?

39 %
Probably vote for the Republican candidate

42 %
Probably vote for the Democratic candidate

5 %
Probably vote for some other candidate

14 %
Don’t know / not sure

 

Among likely Democratic voters, U.S. Congressman Patrick Murphy has a statistically meaningless lead over fellow U.S. Congressman Alan Grayson, 27 to 24 percent, but both candidates trail respondents who don’t know or are not sure at 39 percent:

Which of the following potential candidates would you support for the Democratic nomination if they ran for United States Senate in 2016?

27 %
Congressman Patrick Murphy

24 %
Congressman Alan Grayson

10 %
Some other candidate

39 %
Don’t know / not sure

 

The Republican primary is not much clearer, with former state Attorney General Bill McCollum leading a crowded field of potential candidates with just 16 percent of the vote; 43 percent say they are undecided.

Which of the following potential candidates would you support for the Republican nomination for United States Senate in 2016?

16 %
Former Attorney General Bill McCollum

    8 %
U.S. Congressman Jeff Miller

7 %
Lieutenant Governor Carlos Lopez-Cantera

    6 %
U.S. Congressman Ron DeSantis

    6 %
U.S. Congressman David Jolly

4 %
State Senator Don Gaetz

    3 %
Former U.S. Senator George LeMieux

43 %
Don’t know / […]

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

Rubio Surges Among Florida Republicans

Nearly even with Bush in the Sunshine State
Do Florida Republicans have a new favorite son? According to a new survey by the Saint Leo University Polling Institute, Senator Marco Rubio has pulled even with former Governor Jeb Bush as the top choice of Florida Republicans for president of the United States.

By several measures, support for Rubio has surged since he officially declared his presidential candidacy earlier this spring, while Bush’s support has plateaued. Presented with a long list of candidates, Bush remains the top choice of Florida Republicans:

We know it’s early, but thinking about the presidential election in 2016 … here is a list of potential candidates who may run for the Republican nomination. If the Republican primary for president were held today, which one of the following would you support for the Republican nomination?

March

June
Candidate

31 %

30 %
Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush

16 %

24 %
U.S. Senator Marco Rubio of Florida

10 %

7 %
Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker

9 %

7 %
Dr. Ben Carson

7 %

7 %
U.S. Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky

4 %

6 %
Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee

 

However, Rubio’s support rose by eight points since a March survey by Saint Leo University, while Bush’s support stayed flat. Rubio also saw an eight-point increase in the number of voters naming him as their second choice. Combining the first and second place votes, Rubio has overtaken Bush. Rubio combines for 53 percent first- and second-choice votes, whereas Bush receives 42 percent.

And who would be your second choice?

March

June
                     Candidate

21 %

29 %
U.S. Senator Marco Rubio of Florida

13 %

12 %
Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush

7 %

8 %
Dr. Ben Carson

6 %

7 %
Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker

5 %

7 %
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie

5 %

6 %
U.S. Senator Ted Cruz of Texas

5 %

6 %
Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee

 

When given a choice of […]

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

Two-Thirds of Floridians Express Concern About Global Climate Change

Sunshine State Residents Also Polled on Their Own Ecological Observations, Household Choices
A new survey of Florida residents by the Saint Leo University Polling Institute found that 67 percent of those polled said they were very concerned or somewhat concerned about global climate change. The margin of error for the Florida survey, which collected answers from 522 online respondents between March 15 and March 21, was plus or minus 4 percentage points.

Thirty-two percent of Floridians polled were either somewhat unconcerned (18 percent) or not at all concerned (14) about global climate change, and 2 percent were not sure or didn’t know.

And when asked about their beliefs about the causes of global climate change:

16 percent said it is caused entirely by human activity
14 percent said global climate change is caused entirely by nature
57 percent said it is caused by a combination of human activity and nature
8 percent responded that they do not believe global climate change is occurring,
5 percent said they don’t know or are unsure

The survey showed a gratifying level of concern on the part of the public, as well as opportunities for scientists and educators to explain more about global climate change, said Dr. Leo Ondrovic, associate professor of biology and physics at Saint Leo University. Dr. Ondrovic also developed an undergraduate course for non-science majors called Evaluating the Predictions of Global Warming, which helps students understand the topic, and gives them an appreciation of the scientific method to help increase their overall scientific literacy.

“It is encouraging news that more than half show some level of concern,” said Dr. Ondrovic. Still, he found respondents’ beliefs about the causes of global climate change indicate a possible misperception among the public. “Global climate change theory predicts changes […]

By |April 6th, 2015|Institute|0 Comments

More Than 70 Percent of U.S. Adults Concerned About Global Climate Change

Survey Touches on Leadership, Household Choices, Pope Francis
A first-of-its-kind survey from the Saint Leo University Polling Institute shows that 73 percent of adult Americans responding are concerned about global climate change. Thirty percent reported being very concerned, and 43 percent said they were somewhat concerned.

The survey base included 1,016 respondents nationally, including voters and non-voters. The margin of error for the survey is plus or minus 3 percent, meaning the percentage answers could be off by that amount in either direction. This is the first time the Saint Leo University Polling Institute has asked members of the public questions about their attitudes about global climate change, their thoughts on public policy ramifications, their sources of information on the topic, their own ecological practices, and their reactions to Pope Francis’ ecological views.

“It is encouraging news that more than half show some level of concern,” said Dr. Leo Ondrovic, a Saint Leo University science faculty member who tracks global climate change research. Dr. Ondrovic also developed an undergraduate course for non-science majors called Evaluating the Predictions of Global Warming, which helps students understand the topic, and gives them an appreciation of the scientific method to help increase their overall scientific literacy.

Survey respondents who feel relatively little or no concern about global climate change are still a sizable population, though in the minority. Fifteen percent said they are somewhat unconcerned about global climate change, and 11 percent said they are not at all concerned, leading to a combined base of 26 percent. Only 1 percent said they don’t know or are unsure about the issue.

Dr. Ondrovic said the answers to another question on the source of global climate change

indicate a possible misperception among the general public, though. The […]

By |April 2nd, 2015|Institute|0 Comments

Poll Finds More than Half of Floridians Oppose Guns at Campuses of State Universities

New Legislation Would Allow Concealed Firearms at Campuses for Permit Holders
In a recent Saint Leo University Polling Institute survey of 522 Florida adults, 56 percent were opposed to allowing individuals with concealed firearms licenses to carry guns at state campuses. Thirty-two percent supported proposed new legislation that would reverse a current firearms ban, and allow individuals who are 21 and older and who hold concealed firearms licenses, to bring the weapons onto state campuses. Florida has both state colleges and state universities.

Twelve percent said they don’t know what the correct position is or are not sure.

Democrats surveyed were more likely to oppose the measure than Republicans. The margin of error for the results showing political party affiliation (which are drawn from the 433 likely voters who took the survey) was plus or minus 5 percent, while the margin of error for the overall base of 522 people, and for the results according to gender, is plus or minus 4 percentage points. The full question and results are as follows:

A bill being considered by the Florida Legislature would reverse a ban on firearms and allow students 21 and over to carry concealed weapons on all 12 of Florida’s public universities. Do you support or oppose this legislation?

All

Republicans
Independents
Democrats

Male
Female

32%
Support

48%
27%
20%

34%
26%

56%
Oppose

40%
58%
69%

54%
60%

12%
Don’t know / not sure

12%
15%
11%

12%
15%

 

The State House and Senate measures currently under discussion have been heard in initial committees. The proposal received backing in the House Criminal Justice Subcommittee in January and narrowly­­­ passed the Senate Criminal Justice Committee in February.

The proposed legislation stems from an incident in November 2014 when a gunman opened fire at Florida State University’s library. The incident refueled a debate about guns on college campuses. Supporters say the proposal could help prevent tragedies such as […]

By |March 30th, 2015|Institute|0 Comments