Climate Protection and Assault Weapons Ban Proposals Are Also Getting Some Attention


ST. LEO, FL  – New data from the Saint Leo University Polling Institute ( reveals which of the policy ideas suggested by various Democratic presidential candidates are the most attractive notions to a broad base of Americans of various political parties, represented by a national survey base of 1,000 respondents. A new healthcare insurance idea—Medicare for all who want it—has the greatest appeal with strong support or somewhat strong support from more than 59 percent of those polled.

Enthusiasm was not as strong in Florida, where 500 respondents from across the political spectrum answered the same survey. Still, 56.8 percent of respondents from the politically influential state say they strongly support or somewhat support the idea of Medicare for all who want it.

Another healthcare policy proposal that attracted significant regard in the survey is Medicare for all, with 50.2 percent of national responses showing strong or somewhat strong support. In Florida, the combined percentage of those showing support was 46.8 percent.

The results resonate with responses to a question asked elsewhere in the poll: when respondents were asked to say which of many issues from a long list is the single most important one facing the country today, healthcare again emerged at the top. The question is asked with each Saint Leo poll, and healthcare typically ends up in the first- or second-ranked position, sometimes trading places with the combined topic of jobs and the economy.

In the most recent survey, conducted from November 13 through November 18, healthcare gathered 18.7 percent of responses, ahead of jobs and the economy at 14.4 percent. In Florida, healthcare was also at the top of the issues list with 20.8 percent of respondents citing it; jobs and economy ranked second with 14.4 percent of the selections. Of course, healthcare is not completely divorced from the jobs issue in America, as so many people get receive health insurance through their employers.

Frank Orlando, director of the Saint Leo University Polling Institute, commented that healthcare “has been a high-ranking issue in the survey for a while, but it’s not always No. 1.” With the economy currently “steady,” voters may be shifting their attention to this topic, he suggested. Also, he said, the “increased salience of healthcare may be because of the consistent coverage it has garnered during the Democratic primary process so far.”

In completing the survey, respondents actually encountered the “Medicare for all who want it” question right after the “Medicare for all” question.

The detailed results are shown in the following tables.

Please indicate if you strongly support, somewhat support, somewhat oppose, or strongly oppose the following. You may also indicate unsure or don’t know enough.

Democratic Candidate Proposal: Medicare for all who want it

Possible responses U.S. % Florida %
Strongly support 32.4 32.6
Somewhat support 27.1 24.2
Combined support 59.5 56.8
Somewhat oppose 10.3 8.4
Strongly oppose 18.1 22.0
Combine oppose 28.4 30.4
Unsure/Don’t know enough combined 12.1 12.8


Orlando commented on the distinction between the two proposals as voters might
perceive it: “Medicare for all who want it seems to imply more choice for voters who want to keep their current plan, while Medicare for all has been attacked during the Democratic primary process by moderates as forcing voters into a system they may not want to join. It seems as though the moderates have a messaging advantage at this point.”

Democratic Candidate Proposal: Medicare for all 

Possible responses U.S. % Florida %
Strongly support 27.0 25.2
Somewhat support 23.2 21.6
Combined support 50.2 46.8
Somewhat oppose 11.9 11.2
Strongly oppose 25.1 27.8
Combined oppose 37.0 39.0
Unsure/Don’t know enough combined 12.8 14.2


 “Democrats,” Orlando noted, “are more likely to support Medicare for all than Republicans. This isn’t too surprising considering where the proposals are coming from. However, Democratic candidates may have a difficult time selling this idea to Republicans at the margin, a population Democrats may want to persuade.”

Environment and jobs

The framework of policies known collectively as The Green New Deal also appealed to a broad base. The Green New Deal was summarized in the survey question as “a proposal to reduce climate change and stimulate job creation.” Interestingly, these results resonated also with the question elsewhere in the survey on the most important issue facing the nation today. Global climate changed ranked fourth on the national list (immigration was third after healthcare and jobs and the economy) with 9.3 percent of respondents selecting the option. That is higher than in previous surveys—anywhere from roughly 3 to 6 percentage points higher.

Democratic Candidate Proposal:
Green New Deal – a proposal to reduce climate change and stimulate job creation

Possible responses U.S. % Florida %
Strongly support 28.0 25.6
Somewhat support 27.0 24.0
Combined support 55.0 49.6
Somewhat oppose 9.7 10.0
Strongly oppose 19.2 23.2
Combined oppose 28.9 33.2
Unsure/Don’t know enough combined 16.1 17.2


Orlando commented, though, that the dialogue on the Green New Deal may well shift as we get closer to the November 2020 election. “Voters seem open to a plan that would help the environment and the economy, but if this issue were to be front and center during a presidential election, the fight would be over the details. It will be interesting to track support of this proposal as it gains more specificity and publicity.”

Assault weapons in civilian hands

As various gun-control policies were discussed by Democratic presidential candidates, news coverage pointed out that all wanted to ban new sales of AR-15 rifles. There was more disagreement about what to do about guns already owned, and whether to offer a voluntary buyback program to remove the weapons from civilian circulation, or whether to make such a program mandatory. Other issues are under discussion, as well. The polling institute posed a direct question on the matter and found about half in favor of banning new sales and supporting confiscation of the weapons from civilians.

Democratic Candidate Proposal:
Confiscating assault weapons from civilians and banning new distribution

Possible responses U.S. % Florida %
Strongly support 30.1 28.4
Somewhat support 21.1 21.6
Combined support 51.2 50.0
Somewhat oppose 13.4 13.8
Strongly oppose 23.6 24.6
Combined oppose 37.0 38.4
Unsure/Don’t know enough combined 11.8 11.6


Looking at support along party lines in the national sample, about half of independents supported the idea at 48.5 percent, and 70.5 percent of Democrats support it. By comparison, only half that level of Republicans indicated support, at 35.6 percent.

“The broad support from voters here might have something to do with how the issue is framed,” Orlando said, “but we don’t know how intensely voters hold these preferences. Those opposed to these confiscation plans may be more likely to be single-issue voters, whereas there may be fewer single-issue voters among those in favor.”

Other ideas without as much popular support

Some other matters that have been discussed by Democratic presidential candidates, or that appear on websites and documents, just did not inspire broad-based interest.

Candidate Andrew Yang’s idea of providing all adult Americans a universal income in the form of a $1,000 monthly government payment did not impress. A combined base of only 35.5 percent said they strongly or somewhat support the idea, but a combined sum of 43 percent reported the opposite. And of that sum, 30.4 said they strongly oppose the plan.

Orlando said the results indicate that either voters don’t know enough about this plan, or, Yang “hasn’t made the case of why it is necessary.”

Only a third of those polled nationally strongly support or somewhat support the idea of revoking tax-exempt status for churches, mosques, synagogues or other religious groups that do not recognize LGBT marriages. The precise level of combined support is 34.5 percent, compared to 45.4 opposing strongly or somewhat. And the percentage of strong opposition is 32.8 percent, comparable to the combined base of support.

In some ways, Orlando said it is surprising that as many as one-third of those surveyed “support a policy revoking the tax-exempt status of religious institutions.” However, Orlando noted that other research has shown an “increased share of ‘nones’ in the electorate,” meaning people with no religious affiliation—perhaps influencing reactions to this proposal.

Expanding the number of U.S. Supreme Court justices from nine does not seem like a good idea to 38.7 percent of the respondents, with 25.9 percent in strong opposition. This compares with 30.6 percent who favor the idea, and 30.7 percent who do not know what to think.

Simply put, “voters seem inclined to keep things as they are on the court, despite the partisan rancor,” Orlando said.

About the Poll

METHODOLOGY: This national survey was conducted from November 13 through November 18, 2019, among a base of 1,000 respondents nationally, using an online instrument. The national sample has an associated margin of error of +/- 3.0 percent at a 95 percent confidence level.

During the same time frame, the same online survey was administered to a sample of 500 residents of Florida. 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: You can also follow the institute on Twitter @saintleopolls.

Media contacts: Jo-Ann Johnston, Saint Leo University, University Communications or (352) 467-0843 (cell/text).     

About Saint Leo University

Saint Leo University is one of the largest Catholic universities in the nation, offering nearly 60 undergraduate and graduate-level degree programs to more than 19,500 students each year. Founded in 1889 by Benedictine monks, the private, nonprofit university is known for providing a values-based education to learners of all backgrounds and ages in the liberal arts tradition. Saint Leo is regionally accredited and offers a residential campus in the Tampa Bay region of Florida, 32 education centers in seven states, and an online program for students anywhere. The university is home to more than 95,000 alumni. Learn more at