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

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

More Than Two-Thirds of Americans Will Be Watching Rio 2016 Olympics

SAINT LEO, FL – A survey earlier this month from the Saint Leo University Polling Institute ( found that more than two-thirds of Americans plan to watch broadcasts of the 2016 Summer Olympic Games, being held from Friday, August 5, through Sunday, August 21, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

The institute’s online poll of 1,001 adults was conducted from June 10 through June 16, and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.

An impressive 69.2 percent said they plan to watch broadcasts of the 2016 Rio Olympics, as the games are more commonly called. Another 18.8 percent said they don’t plan to watch the games. Twelve percent were not sure if they would tune in to the broadcasts, which are airing on NBC, the Spanish-language partner Telemundo, and related cable networks in the NBCUniversal corporate family.

Men are slightly more apt than women to plan to watch, at 70.9 percent, compared to 67.7 percent. Among age groups, those 65 and older are the most committed to viewing, at 71.9 percent, exceeding by 4 percentage points the youngest grouping, ages 18 to 44.

Phil Hatlem, instructor of sport business at Saint Leo, said there is a reason for that little wrinkle in the demography. The viewing patterns of the older group were formed when the Olympics had much less competition from other sports events for viewers, and when the games could be watched only on television screens, not on tablets or phones.

The survey also asked those intending to watch which of the 28 sports they are most eager to see.

Well over one-half said they wanted to see swimming (69.7 percent) and gymnastics (63.7 percent).
The next most popular was basketball, at about one-third of respondents (34.6 […]

By |July 5th, 2016|Institute|0 Comments