Saint Leo Survey Finds Little Change in Gun Ownership Levels and Attitudes on Rights or Registration

Respondents Continue to Favor Increased Focus on Mental Health and Treatment

SAINT LEO, FL – The most recent Saint Leo University Polling Institute ( survey including questions on gun ownership and related sentiments found that more than 60 percent of individuals—nationally and in Florida—do not own any firearms.

This replicates the findings of the 2015 survey, completed around the same time of year. Saint Leo included questions on guns and public policy in a parallel survey conducted online nationally and in Florida from September 10 to September 16. The national survey attracted 1,103 responses, so the findings have a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points. The Florida survey attracted 502 responses and so has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.5 percentage points.

The survey asked individuals what firearms, if any, they own, and allowed for multiple responses. Handguns were most frequently cited among those who own firearms.

Firearms owned         and type
2015 National
2016 National
2015 Florida  
2016 Florida 





Assault weapon(s)



There is not enough movement from year-to-year in any of the results to be statistically significant. Similarly, there was little change in people’s beliefs on gun control. People were asked which of three statements is closest to their own belief. The results are shown in descending order.


Position on gun controls –

Indicate which statement

best reflects your position 
2015 National             
2016 National 
2015 Florida  
2016 Florida 

There should be some limited licensing, permitting or some restrictions on certain arms such as assault weapons

There should be no regulations or controls on any firearms

Firearms should not be owned privately



Responses were more splintered when people were asked about their “own personal position toward gun ownership and gun regulation” given “the number of mass shootings nationwide.” No one […]

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

Voters Find a Level of Satisfaction with Their Own Decision-Making, But Not Necessarily Their Circumstances or Other Voters

Some of the Public Harbor Suspicions about Voter Fraud and Voter Suppression

SAINT LEO, FL – While American voters don’t give the major presidential candidates high marks for likeability, a new Saint Leo University Polling Institute survey ( shows 65.5 percent of all likely voters are very or somewhat satisfied with their respective political party’s presidential nominee. Among likely voters in Florida, 72 percent said they were satisfied with their party’s nominee for president.

The same survey finds that nationally, only 38.7 percent cumulatively rated Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump somewhat or very favorably (39.4 percent in Florida) and 40.1 percent rated Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton somewhat or very favorably (45.9 percent in Florida). The Saint Leo University Polling Institute conducted the online survey September 10 through September 16, 2016, with 1,005 likely voters responding across the United States and 475 in Florida.

“These candidates continue to be the least liked in history,” said Frank Orlando, director of the Saint Leo University Polling Institute and political scientist at the university. “Still, as the election draws near, opinions of the candidates are starting to slowly rise as voters try to justify their eventual vote choice.”

The poll also tested the notion that some likely voters are switching political parties for their presidential preference. Yet the largest segment of respondents, 69.7 percent, say they have not changed their minds from their original choice. Hillary Clinton, the Democratic nominee, and Donald Trump, the Republican nominee, have lost support to third-party candidates in only low percentage levels, 2.7 percent and 2.3 percent respectively, the Saint Leo poll shows.

But more than half the poll respondents would apparently like the opportunity to hear the third-party candidates debate Clinton and Trump. Questions revealed that 60.3 percent […]

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

Concern About Zika Virus Remains, New Saint Leo University Poll Shows

SAINT LEO, FL – Concerns among Floridians about the Zika virus were constant for more than 70 percent of the population from August to September, according to a new survey by the Saint Leo University Polling Institute (

The online poll, conducted online September 10 – September 16, shows concern about the Zika virus (very or somewhat concerned), at 77.4 percent is similar to 79.3 percent from the August 2016 poll. However, alarm about the virus has increased since Saint Leo’s poll in June 2016 (71.3 percent).

In a new development, a federal travel advisory was downgraded Monday, September 19, for a Miami-Dade County neighborhood. The Wynwood area of Miami-Dade had no new cases of the virus reported for 45 days so it met the Centers for Disease Control’s requirement to be declared “Zika free.” The state is approaching 100 locally transmitted cases of the mosquito-borne virus, according to the governor’s office.

“I thought that it was interesting that the percentage of Floridians concerned about Zika did not change in the last month,” said Dr. Cheryl Clauson, Saint Leo University assistant professor of biology. “Zika is still present in Miami Beach , even if the Wynwood area of Miami has seemingly been cleared.”

The Florida Department of Health said there were nine new travel-related cases on Wednesday, September 21, with two in Broward, two in Miami-Dade, two in Orange, and one in Brevard counties, and two involving pregnant women. On August 23, the day the last Saint Leo University Polling Institute survey was released, Gov. Rick Scott announced a non-travel related case of Zika was found in Pinellas County.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control states that Zika virus, which is spread through the […]

By |September 22nd, 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

New Saint Leo Survey Shows Presidential Race between Clinton and Trump Narrowing in Florida and Across U.S.

GOP Incumbent Rubio Has Advantage over Democrat Challenger in Election for Senate Seat        

SAINT LEO, FL – Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton has a small lead over GOP opponent Donald Trump, with Clinton attracting the support of 42 percent of likely voters nationally compared to 36.5 percent favoring Trump, according to the latest poll from the Saint Leo University Polling Institute ( Meanwhile, 11.5 percent of the voters said they were unsure. The survey was conducted September 10 to 16.

The results from a separate, concurrent sample of likely voters in the important state of Florida showed similar results. Clinton was ahead with 44.6 percent compared to 39.6 percent for Trump, and 10.7 percent unsure.

The survey followed up with uncertain, but likely, voters to ask which candidate they were leaning toward. When those responses were added to the tabulations for likely voters who had made their decisions, the trends followed the same general pattern, as shown in this table.

Combined support – national

Voters leaning toward support and decided supporters
Combined support – FL

Voters leaning toward support and decided supporters

Democrat –  Clinton
46.2% (decided voters = 42%)
49.4% (decided voters = 44.6%)

Republican – Trump
41% (decided voters = 36.5%)
43.6% (decided voters = 39.6%)

Libertarian – Johnson
9.3% (decided voters = 7.6%)
5.7% (decided voters = 4%)

Green – Stein
3.6% (decided voters = 2.5%)
1.7% (decided voters =1.5%)


“This is a 9-point swing away from Clinton since our August poll findings” said Frank Orlando, director of the Saint Leo University Polling Institute and a political scientist on the university faculty ( Clinton’s post-convention “bounce” has dissipated, Orlando said, and it appears reports about her health concerns, continued criticisms of email handling, and the perception of dishonesty around her campaign are wearing down her previous lead.

“This is probably a much […]

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

Survey Finds Medical Pot and Other Upcoming Florida Ballot Measures Viewed Favorably by State’s Voters

A survey from the Saint Leo University Polling Institute ( found broad support for five ballot initiatives that Florida voters will encounter either during the August 30 primary vote, or the November 8 general election voting. Voters will be asked about policy ideas ranging from energy sales and tax breaks on solar panels to property tax matters and—possibly most prominently—about medical marijuana. In Florida, 60 percent of voters have to approve of amendments for the measures to pass.

So it is notable that the general support found for all the proposed measures has been steady since the Saint Leo University Polling Institute’s June survey.

The most recent survey was conducted online from August 14 to 18, 2016, among 1,500 adults in Florida. Of those 1,500 people contacted, 1,011 said they are likely to vote in the August primary. A larger base—1,380 people—said they are likely to vote in the presidential election (which fits with typical American voting behavior) on November 8. At those sample sizes, the margin of error for the responses shown in the survey is plus or minus 3 percentage points, meaning the support levels could actually be 3 points higher or 3 points lower than indicated here. In June, the Florida likely voters in the presidential election numbered 459, so the margin of error for the responses shown in that column is plus or minus 5 percentage points.

Florida ballot measures up for voter approval or disapproval in primary or general election
Percentage support levels among likely voters from June 2016 poll
Percentage support among likely voters in August 30 primary
Percentage support among likely voters in November8 general election

Provides property tax exemptions for renewable energy devices – Amendment 4 (only one on August 30 ballot)

Grants Florida residents […]

By |August 24th, 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 Poll Shows Rubio Running Strong in Senate Race, Better Than Trump is Running on Top of the GOP Ticket in Florida

Murphy Pulls Ahead of Grayson in Democratic Primary Bid for U.S. Senate

The current junior U.S. Senator from Florida—and former GOP presidential candidate—Marco Rubio appears to be in a strong position to fend off the major challenger for the GOP nomination in the upcoming Florida primary, according to the latest survey by the Saint Leo University Polling Institute (

The survey of Florida Republicans (numbering 479) and Democrats (numbering 532), was taken online from August 14 to August 18, and asked members of the political parties how they intend to vote in the state’s primary on August 30. The primary will determine the final candidates from each of the two major parties to compete for the U.S. Senate seat in the November 8 general election. Florida is a closed primary state, meaning Republicans can vote only for Republican candidates, and Democrats only for Democratic candidates (though all can vote on a ballot proposal that will appear on the August 30 ballot). In the cases of both the Republican and Democratic survey bases, the margin of error for the results is plus or minus 4.5 percent, meaning the actual results could be off in either direction by that many points.

On the Republican side, Rubio’s strongest challenger is home builder Carlos Beruff from Manatee County. Also on the ticket are Ernie Rivera, a Christian pastor from outside Tampa,  and Dwight Young, a detention deputy with the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office.

Republicans committed to one of those candidates, or at least leaning toward one of the candidates, were asked whom they would select if the August 30 primary was being held the day they answered the survey. Respondents strongly preferred Rubio, who attracted more than two-thirds of the GOP survey base.

Republican Candidates
Combined […]

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

Survey: Florida Looks Like It Will Support Clinton for President

Trump Support Confined; Minority Voters Will Cast Ballots Against Him

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has a 14-point polling lead over GOP candidate Donald Trump among Florida’s likely voters, according to a new survey by the Saint Leo University Polling Institute (

The survey was conducted online from August 14 to 18 among 1,500 Florida adults, including 1,380 who said they will likely vote in the November election. When asked which presidential candidate they would support, or would lean toward supporting, if the election was the same day that they took the survey, respondents answered in these proportions:

Combined percent of supporters and those leaning toward support

Democrat Hillary Clinton
51.7% (decided supporters = 48.3%)

Republican Donald Trump
37.7 % (decided supporters = 33.8%)

Libertarian Gary Johnson
8.3 % (decided supporters = 6.4%)

Green Party candidate Jill Stein
2.4 % (decided supporters = 1.6%)


The margin of error for the findings is plus or minus 3 percentage points, meaning the results could be off by that much in either direction. If Clinton’s actual base of supporters turned out to be 3 points lower, and Trump’s were 3 points higher, the Democrat would still have the edge by 8 points.

Saint Leo University Polling Institute Director Frank Orlando said the results show that Clinton’s lead appears “very secure” in Florida. “She was winning by 14 points in Florida in our June poll, and she’s still winning by that margin after the conventions. The opportunities for Donald Trump to make up that distance are shrinking,” observed Orlando, who also teaches political science at Saint Leo University. “Absent an unprecedented movement toward Trump as a result of the debates, or more likely, an external shock to the system, she can safely put Florida in her column,” Orlando said.

Orlando delved further into the […]

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