Florida Governor’s Race Still Deadlocked

Republicans Bondi, Putnam, Atwater Lead Down Ballot Races
46% Floridians Concerned About Contracting Ebola
The Florida governor’s election between former Gov. Charlie Crist and incumbent Gov. Rick Scott is statistically tied, according to a new poll from the Saint Leo University Polling Institute.

With less than two weeks before the election, Crist leads, 43-40 percent, with Libertarian candidate Adrian Wyllie pulling 8 percent, and 9 percent of likely voters saying they are undecided. Crist’s lead is within the poll’s margin of error, and the race can be described as a statistical tie.

With speculation about what effect Libertarian Wyllie may have on the final outcome, Saint Leo University also asked voters to imagine Wyllie were not on the ballot. Given a choice of voting for only Scott or Crist, the two candidates deadlocked at 45 percent each, with 10 percent undecided. A majority of voters say they have either never heard of Wyllie (46 percent) or don’t know enough about him to offer an opinion (11 percent).

“It appears as though Charlie Crist’s attacks against Rick Scott are working, as the race has swung away from the incumbent in the last few months,” said Frank Orlando, instructor of political science at Saint Leo University. According to Orlando, Crist’s lead is still tenuous. “Pre-election polls tend to overstate support for third party candidates. When it comes time to cast their ballots, voters seem to settle on one of the two main parties for fear of ‘wasting’ their vote. It appears that Wyllie is drawing more support from Scott than Crist, and, if Wyllie is removed from the race, Scott gains 5 percent of the vote, while Crist only gains 2 percent and the poll is a dead heat,” stated Orlando.

Orlando also […]

By |October 22nd, 2014|Institute|0 Comments

Dolphins & Gators Lead Their Leagues in Popularity

People oppose paying college athletes by 3:1
The Miami Dolphins and the University of Florida Gators are the two most popular football teams in Florida, according to a new poll released by the Saint Leo University Polling Institute.

Five hundred Florida residents were asked to identify their favorite pro and college football teams. The Dolphins edged the Tampa Bay Buccaneers by a touchdown, with 36 percent of state residents saying the Dolphins are their favorite football team and 29 percent loyal to the Buccaneers. The Jacksonville Jaguars were selected by 9 percent as their favorite team.

In the college ranks, residents were asked to identify their favorite team from a list of eight schools. The University of Florida Gators were number one, according to 25 percent of residents. The Florida State Seminoles placed second, with 19 percent. The University of Miami Hurricanes are the top team for 14 percent of state residents.

University of Florida Gators

Florida State Seminoles

University of Miami Hurricanes

University of Central Florida Knights

University of South Florida Bulls

Florida Atlantic University Owls

Florida A&M University Rattlers

Florida International University Panthers

Some other Florida college football team

Don’t know / not sure


“Fans are very loyal to their teams, and these results reflect that,” said Dr. Dene Williamson, associate professor of sport business at Saint Leo University. “Whether it’s current (Florida State) or past success (UF and Miami), people support their teams through thick and thin. Unlike the Buccaneers and Jaguars, the Dolphins have a deeply rooted history in Florida.”

Saint Leo University also polled a national sample about whether college athletes should be paid. By a three-to-one margin, the public opposes paying college athletes. Respondents were asked which of two statements came closest to their view:

Thinking about college athletic programs … at many big-time colleges, […]

By |October 14th, 2014|Institute|0 Comments

American Dream Vacation: Sun, Sand, Waves, and Wi-Fi

Americans Having Trouble Unplugging – Even When They Say They Want To
Wanted: Vacation getaway within walking distance of the beach. Must have Wi-Fi because we’re not sure we really want to get away on our vacation.

Based on a new survey from the Saint Leo University Polling Institute, that seems to be what Americans are asking for when they leave the office.

Saint Leo University asked Americans what their preference is when it comes to being “plugged in” while on vacation. Most Americans want to be able to stay connected to email, social media, and the Internet.

Specifically, the survey asked:

Some people try to “unplug” from technology while on vacation. When you were on vacation in the past 12 months, which one of the following statements best describes how you chose to interact with technology while on vacation.

16 %
I unplugged entirely – did not connect to the internet, check my email, text, or use social media

9 %
I used the Internet and social media but did not check email

14 %
I checked my personal email but did not check my work email

18 %
I went online or checked my email, but not more than once a day

18 %
I cut back on going online, checking email, and using social media, but stayed mostly plugged in

13 %
I stayed as plugged in as I usually am and did not cut back or unplug at all

12 %
Don’t know / not sure


“What people want and what they actually do, are two different things,” said Ioannis Pantzalis, associate professor of international business at Saint Leo University. “The other interesting thing was that there really wasn’t any difference among the age groups. In today’s high-tech world, it’s really hard to remain truly ‘unplugged’ for an extended period of […]

By |October 14th, 2014|Institute|0 Comments

Isolationist? Interventionist? Both, Say Americans

Middle East Spikes as Major Worry; Little Consensus About How to Act
The American people are vexed and uncertain about what role, if any, the United States should play in the renewed conflicts in the Middle East, according to a new national survey by the Saint Leo University Polling Institute.

Homeland security and anti-terror policy has spiked as a concern of the American people, with 17 percent of Americans now citing those issues as the most important facing the country. That’s up from 4 percent in June. An additional 5 percent of Americans cite foreign affairs as the most important issue. To put this in context, jobs and economy remain the number one issue on people’s minds.

“The number of respondents who list national security, terrorism, and foreign affairs as their largest concerns going into the November election has quadrupled since June,” said Frank Orlando, instructor of political science at Saint Leo University. “This may advantage candidates who have experience in dealing with foreign policy and security. Still, voters remain divided over what steps the government should take around the world.”

Orlando noted that “President Obama appears to be hewing closely to public opinion by promising that the U.S. will not put boots on the ground to stop the ISIS threat. As far as when we should intervene, it’s clear that the closer the threat hits home, the more support for intervention exists, as we would expect. After the bombings in the Gaza Strip over the summer, a majority of Americans still favor action if Israel is attacked,” Orlando noted.

And yet, it is also true that the survey shows a large minority of 42 percent say that the Middle East needs to solve its own problems.

The survey approached the […]

By |October 13th, 2014|Institute|0 Comments

Curbelo Leads Garcia, 46-42, in South Florida

Congressional Race is a Dead Heat
Republican Carlos Curbelo holds a slight lead over Democratic incumbent U.S. Rep. Joe Garcia of Florida, 46-42, in the South Florida congressional district 26, according to a new survey conducted by the Saint Leo University Polling Institute. The result falls within the poll’s margin of error and the race should be considered a dead heat.

Of the 435 U.S. House of Representatives’ contests in this year’s mid-term elections, there only about 30 that are hotly contested for control of the chamber, and the Curbelo-Garcia race in South Florida is one of them.

“Congressman Garcia is in a weaker position than he may have hoped for with less than a month to go in the campaign,” said Frank Orlando, political science instructor at Saint Leo University. “Curbelo, the Republican challenger, can take satisfaction in knowing that over twice as many voters view him as strongly favorable than strongly unfavorable,” stated Orlando.

The 26th U.S. congressional district is heavily Hispanic and both candidates are of Hispanic descent. Interviews were conducted online and by telephone sample were conducted in both English and Spanish.

Democrat Garcia leads among voters who identify themselves as white, 52-38 percent, but Republican Curbelo leads among the majority of voters who identify themselves as Hispanic, 52-37 percent.

“There’s still time for Garcia to make a move, but he must court independent voters. Although demographics and a gradual shift in Cuban political identity are making the district more Democratic, Garcia must also win a greater share of Republican votes, a hallmark of his successful 2012 campaign,” noted Orlando.

Underlying the tight race is the balanced political nature of the district. According to the poll, President Obama’s approval rating in the district […]

By |October 10th, 2014|Institute|0 Comments

America Catholics Reveal Their Views on Marriage and Other Important Social Issues in Wide-Ranging Survey

Pope Francis’s Favorability Remains High Among Catholics
As Catholic bishops from around the world convene in Rome for a special synod (conference) on family and marriage, American Catholics favor inclusivity in a number of situations, as responses to a new national survey by the Saint Leo University Polling Institute show.

Catholics expressed strong support for allowing divorced or remarried Catholics to receive the sacrament of Communion (68 to 18 percent). By a 3-to-1 margin, Catholics say the Church should drop its opposition to contraception (66 to 21 percent). A smaller majority supports dropping opposition to pre-marital sex and cohabitation (50 to 33 percent). A narrow plurality says the Church should recognize same-sex marriages (42 to 40 percent).

Specifically, the survey asked:

Should Catholics who are divorced and/or remarried, but who have not had their previous marriage annulled, be able to receive the sacrament of Communion?

Entire Base



Don’t know/unsure


Michael Anthony Novak, assistant professor of theology and religion at Saint Leo University, found some of the responses to be somewhat surprising. “Catholics take marriage, the family, and the sacraments seriously. But these results seem to verify that there is a frustration with the Church’s pastoral policies regarding divorce and remarriage,” Dr. Novak noted. Among non-Catholics, there were three times as many respondents who didn’t know or were unsure about their beliefs, which he found interesting. “Few Catholics want to exclude their divorced or remarried friends from participating in the Church, including receiving sacraments, and yet there is likely uncertainty about how, at the same time try, we to promote a serious vision of marriage within the Church. That tension will be keenly felt at the Synod on the Family,” Novak added.

The survey asked:

Should the Catholic Church drop its opposition to pre-marital sex […]

By |October 9th, 2014|Institute|0 Comments

Hillary Clinton Continues to Maintain Lead in 2016 Field

Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio top choices of Republicans
A year before the 2016 presidential nomination contests formally begin, Hillary Clinton continues to hold substantial leads over all prospective challengers, both for the Democratic presidential nomination and in prospective general election matchups. This is according to a new national survey conducted by the Saint Leo University Polling Institute.

A full 70 percent of likely voter Democrats name Clinton as their first choice for nominee. Vice President Joe Biden, at 8 percent, comes in second. A dozen other prospective Democratic candidates get trace mentions.

“Clinton is still in strong shape nationwide with strong polling numbers against fellow Democrats in the primary and against her presumptive Republican challengers,” said Frank Orlando, instructor of political science at Saint Leo University. “It’s important to note that her opponents have not started attacking her, but once we see the campaign truly start, her polling numbers will fade and favorability decline. Still, according to our numbers, she is starting from such a position of strength that it will be quite a task to topple her given the current political climate,” Orlando stated.

The Republican nomination remains up for grabs, however, with no candidate breaking away from the pack of potential candidates. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie (15 percent) and former Florida Governor Jeb Bush (13 percent) are the names mentioned most often. U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida (8 percent), U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas (7), U.S. Sen. Rand Paul (7) of Kentucky, and U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin (7) have relatively small national followings at this point.

“Chris Christie has edged ahead of Jeb Bush in our nationwide polling, showing that the negative publicity that he absorbed due to ‘Bridgegate’ has […]

By |October 8th, 2014|Institute|0 Comments

America’s Global Prestige Worse Under Obama, Majority of Americans Say

Voters Split on Benghazi, Divide Along Partisan Lines
Most Americans believe America’s standing, prestige, and image in the world has declined since Barack Obama became president, according to a new national survey conducted by the Saint Leo University Polling Institute.

A majority of 55 percent think America’s international image is “a lot” (34 percent) or “somewhat” (21 percent) worse under the Obama administration. A minority of 39 percent think it is “somewhat” (29 percent) or “a lot” (10 percent) better since Obama became president.

Not surprisingly, 87 percent of Republicans say America’s standing has declined under Obama, but so do 57 percent of Independents. Two-thirds of Democrats (66 percent) say America’s standing is better under Obama.

“The fact that a majority of Americans believe that our standing in the world has declined in the sixth year of the Obama presidency follows a pattern we see with most other presidents,” said Frank Orlando, instructor of political science at Saint Leo University. Orlando continued: “While members of the opposing party are quick to believe status is shrinking under a president they did not vote for, we often see members of the president’s own party becoming dissatisfied with a failure to reach expectations they had at this stage of their second term. The lack of resolution on issues like Guantanamo and the continuing tribulations of Iraq and Afghanistan are likely parts of this calculus.”
Votes split on the administration’s handling of the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, which is the subject of congressional hearings, with 43 percent of voters concluding the administration deliberately misled the American people and 37 percent saying it did not. There is a clear partisan divide on this issue.

“It’s not surprising that Republicans and Democrats can […]

By |June 19th, 2014|Institute|0 Comments

American Catholics Render Opinions on Priesthood, Pope Francis, and Newest Saints in Latest Survey

A new survey by the Saint Leo University Polling Institute reveals that many American Catholics say they would favor change in church policy to allow priests to marry, and to permit women to become priests. At the same time, American Catholics continue to give high approval ratings to Pope Francis, and to the late Pope John Paul II (1920-2005) and the late Pope John XXIII (1881-1963), both of whom were installed as Catholic saints on April 27.

The responses were collected as part of a national online survey conducted from May 28 to June 4. The survey allowed the 1,016 respondents to identify themselves as Catholics (249) or non-Catholics (753), with a handful not fitting into either group. The survey delved into American public sentiment regarding the practices of the Roman Catholic Church, and the public’s views of Church leadership.

It turns out that Catholics, by 60 percent, said the Catholic Church should allow priests to marry. American Catholics responding this way were only 6 percentage points below non-Catholics, at 66 percent, and 4 percent below the blended general population, at 64 percent. Nearly a quarter of American Catholics said priests should not be allowed to marry, however, and 16 percent were unsure or didn’t know.

Specifically, the survey asked:

Should the Catholic Church allow priests to get married, or not?

Entire Base



Don’t know / not sure


More than half of American Catholics polled also said they favor ordaining women as priests, at 58 percent. Those Catholics who said the Catholic Church should not ordain women accounted for 26 percent of respondents, with 16 percent unsure.

The survey asked:

Should the Catholic Church allow women to become priests, or not?

Entire Base



Don’t know/unsure


Michael Anthony Novak, assistant professor of theology and religion at Saint Leo […]

By |June 17th, 2014|Institute|0 Comments

Many Americans View High Court Decision Making With Some Skepticism

Americans Conflicted on Cases Involving Religion
As the U.S. Supreme Court wraps up its annual session, a survey conducted by the Saint Leo University Polling Institute revealed that many Americans doubt whether the court decides cases based strictly on the U.S. Constitution. Further, Americans revealed divided opinions on high-profile Supreme Court cases involving the intersection of religion and governance.

A majority of those surveyed say the U.S. Supreme Court is influenced by political considerations when it hears and decides cases, according to an online national survey. Only 30 percent say the court decides cases strictly on its interpretation of the Constitution. The survey base of more than 1,000 was narrowed to the 802 respondents who identified themselves as “likely voters” for questions specifically about the Supreme Court.

Likely voters were asked: “Which comes closest to your view about how the United States Supreme Court hears and decides cases?”

Possible Responses

30 %
The Supreme Court hears and decides cases based strictly on its interpretation of the Constitution and is not influenced by political considerations.

53 %
The Supreme Court is influenced by political considerations when it hears and decides cases.

17 %
Don’t know / not sure

Independents (I) were the most likely to believe the court is affected by politics, at 63 percent. A majority of Republicans (R) at 53 percent and a plurality of Democrats (D) at 43 percent agreed.

Voters were asked their opinions about specific issues before the court this term, including two cases touching on religion and governance.

The first case involved civic meetings and opening prayers. Earlier this year, in the case involving the Town of Greece (NY) v. Galloway, the court upheld the constitutionality of allowing government bodies to open meetings with a prayer, a point of view that a majority […]

By |June 12th, 2014|Institute|0 Comments