A similar proportion would cut out plastic straws

ST. LEO, FL – A Saint Leo University Polling Institute (http://polls.saintleo.edu) survey revealed that more than half of Americans agree with the idea of banning plastic straws and plastic shopping bags. An even higher proportion of Florida respondents are in favor of bans on the single-use items.

While the plastic items have been widely used in the American consumer economy, critics dislike their environmental impact. Both categories of single-use plastic products are from oil products, so prolong fossil fuel usage, and they do not decompose easily once discarded. Straws are also big contributors to litter and when they are discarded in coastal and lakefront areas, are hazardous to wildlife that can ingest them. Consequently, some communities, companies, and individuals have either switched to substitutes for the plastic items, and have advocated for widespread bans.

Still, the belief that the issues should be settled by consumer or customer preference, that there are legitimate medical uses for plastic straws, and a dislike of business regulation, have all been presented as arguments against bans.

The Saint Leo University Polling Institute sought out public opinion on topic of single-use plastics while conducting its annual spring survey on climate change (see related release).

The institute surveyed 1,000 respondents online nationally and another 500 people online in Florida between February 16 to 25, 2019.  Florida is home to the Saint Leo University Polling Institute and Saint Leo University and its residents are regularly surveyed in parallel polls when a national survey is conducted. The margin of error for responses from the national base is plus or minus if 3.0 percentage points, and plus or minus 4.5 percentage points for Florida results.

Test statement/question: Plastic straws should be banned. Would you say you…

Possible of responses U.S. – % FL
Strongly agree 28.7 32.2
Somewhat agree 29.2 30.4
Combined –  in agreement 57.9 62.6
Somewhat disagree 17.0 17.4
Strongly disagree 14.6 13.8
Combined –  disagree with this 31.6 31.2
Unsure 10.5 6.2


Test statement/question: Single-use plastic shopping bags should be banned.
Would you say you…

Possible responses U.S. – % FL – %
Strongly agree 30.2 36.6
Somewhat agree 30.3 27.6
Combined – in agreement 60.5 64.2
Somewhat disagree 16.0 16.8
Strongly disagree 14.6 11.6
Combined – disagree with this 30.6 28.4
Unsure 8.9 7.4


About the Poll
METHODOLOGY: This national survey was conducted from February 16 through February 25, 2019, among a base of 1,000 respondents, using an online instrument. The national survey has a +/- 3.0 percent margin of error at a 95 percent confidence level on a composite basis. In Florida, the survey was conducted among 500 people across the state during the same time frame, also using an online survey instrument. The Florida poll has a +/- 4.5 percent margin of error at a 95 percent confidence level (on a composite basis).

The Saint Leo University Polling Institute conducts its surveys using cutting-edge online methodology, which is rapidly transforming the field of survey research. The 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 deposited into an iTunes or Amazon account—for their participation.

The Saint Leo University Polling Institute survey results about national and Florida politics, public policy issues, Pope Francis’ popularity, and other topics, can also be found here: http://polls.saintleo.edu. You can also follow the institute on Twitter @saintleopolls.

Media contacts: Jo-Ann Johnston, Saint Leo University, University Communications jo-ann.johnston@saintleo.edu or (352) 588-8237 or (352) 467-0843 (cell/text).     

Mary McCoy, Saint Leo University, University Communications mary.mccoy02@saintleo.edu or (352) 588-7118 or (813) 610-8416 (cell/text).

More About Saint Leo University
Saint Leo University (www.saintleo.edu) is a modern Catholic teaching university that is firmly grounded in the liberal arts tradition and the timeless Benedictine wisdom that seeks balanced growth of mind, body, and spirit. The Saint Leo University of today is a private, nonprofit institution that creates hospitable learning communities wherever students want to be or need to be, whether that is a campus classroom, a web-based environment, an employer’s worksite, a military base, or an office park. Saint Leo welcomes people of all faiths and of no religious affiliation, and encourages learners of all generations. The university is committed to providing educational opportunities to the nation’s armed forces, veterans, and their families. Saint Leo is regionally accredited to award degrees ranging from the associate to the doctorate, and the faculty and staff guide all students to develop their capacities for critical thinking, moral reflection, and lifelong learning and leadership.

The university remains the faithful steward of the beautiful lakeside University Campus in the Tampa Bay region of Florida, where its founding monks created the first Catholic college in the state in 1889. Serving nearly 12,000 students, Saint Leo has expanded to downtown Tampa, to other sites in Florida and beyond, and maintains a physical presence in seven states. The university provides highly respected online learning programs to students nationally and internationally. More than 93,000 alumni reside in all 50 states, in Washington, DC, in three U.S. territories, and in 76 countries.