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 governor. The question and responses were as follows:

Florida Governor Rick Scott has sued the Obama administration to stop what Scott calls a forced expansion of Medicaid in Florida. Do you support or oppose Governor Scott’s decision to sue the federal government?


Republican Independent Democrat
Total Possible responses   R I D
25% Strongly support 38% 30% 12%
23% Somewhat support 34% 23% 13%
15% Somewhat oppose 12% 17% 16%
32% Strongly oppose 13% 28% 52%
5% Don’t know / unsure 4% 3% 7%
Number responding from each population 146 80 166


There is an inconsistency apparent between the two answers, said Frank Orlando, instructor of political science at Saint Leo University, and that may mean people don’t well understand the issue. “If 68 percent of the people, including a plurality of Republicans, think Medicaid expansion is good, and then in the very next question they say, ‘Yes, Governor Scott is right to sue,’ then I think it shows how complex the issue is. Because of that complexity, it is no surprise that voters are susceptible to variations in question wording,” Orlando said.

“These issues are tough, and without the benefit of studying the issues in depth, it is difficult for voters to appropriately weigh trade-offs and then come to consistent positions on the Medicaid expansion question,” Orlando said.

It is also possible, Orlando said, that some respondents aligned themselves with Governor Scott in the second question because of his new-found popularity. “Governor Scott continues to receive higher approval ratings at the beginning of his second term than he did in his first, with 50 percent of those surveyed saying they either strongly approve or somewhat approve of the governor’s job performance. This places him in line with other elected officials in the state.”

Likely voters were asked these specific questions about the Republican governor and Republican House and Senate, which are also both Republican-controlled.

Thinking about some people who hold elected offices in Florida … tell me whether you strongly approve, somewhat approve, somewhat disapprove, or strongly disapprove of the job they are doing:

Name Strongly Approve Somewhat Approve Somewhat Disapprove StronglyDisapprove Haven’t heard of Don’t know / not sure
The job Rick Scott has been doing as Governor 15% 35% 17% 28% 1% 4%
The Florida legislature as a whole 11% 38% 27% 17% 1% 5%
The Florida State House of Representatives 12% 36% 28% 17% 2% 7%
The Florida State Senate 12% 37% 28% 16% 1% 7%


In commenting further on the job-approval responses, Orlando said: “The fact that there is not a lot of variation between approval levels of the state legislative chambers demonstrates that voters do not appear to be informed enough to assign blame” for the earlier legislative session that failed to produce a state budget.

About the Saint Leo University Polling Institute/Methodology

This Saint Leo University poll of 535 Florida adults, including 410 likely voters, was conducted between May 25 and 31, 2015. The margin of error on political questions (of likely voters only) is approximately 4.5 percent +/- with a 95 percent confidence level. The Saint Leo University Polling Institute conducts its surveys using cutting-edge online methodology, which is rapidly transforming the field of survey research. Sample is drawn from large online panels, which allow for random selections that reflect accurate cross sections of all demographic groups. Online methodology has the additional advantage of allowing participants to respond to the survey at a time, place, and speed that is convenient to them, which may result in more thoughtful answers. The Saint Leo University Polling Institute develops the questionnaires, administers the surveys, and conducts analysis of the results. Panel participants typically receive a token incentive – usually $1 dollar deposited into an iTunes or Amazon account – for their participation.

Full Survey Results

The Saint Leo University Polling Institute has posted full results in table form here.

About Saint Leo University

Saint Leo University is a regionally accredited, liberal-arts-based institution known for an inclusive Catholic heritage, enduring values, and capacity for innovation. The school was chartered in 1889 by Catholic Benedictine monks in rural Pasco County, FL, making Saint Leo the first Catholic college in the state. Saint Leo provides access to education to people of all faiths, emphasizing the Benedictine philosophy of balanced growth of mind, body, and spirit.

The university welcomes learners from all generations and backgrounds, from civilian occupations and the armed forces, and from all 50 states and more than 60 nations. Saint Leo’s 16,000 undergraduate and graduate students may elect to study at the beautiful University Campus in Florida, at more than 40 teaching locations in seven states, or online from other locations. The university’s degree programs range from the associate to the doctorate. Throughout these rich offerings, Saint Leo develops principled leaders for a challenging world.

Saint Leo University boasts nearly 80,000 alumni in all 50 states, Washington, DC, five U.S. territories, and 72 countries.

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or (352) 588-7233/(717) 798-1508 or Jo-Ann Johnston, academic communications manager, at or (352) 588-8237/(352) 467-0843.