Crime tops public corruption and taxes as the most important issue for Miami-Dade County voters, according to a new poll released Wednesday.
The automated robopoll by Republican Armando Ibarra of A.I. Advisory, a Coral Gables firm, showed 42 percent of respondents chose crime as the most important issue in the wake of a recent rash of deadly shootings.
That number was up from July, when the same pollster found that 28 percent of respondents identified crime as their top concern.
The percentage of respondents who chose public corruption remained unchanged at 29 percent. Fifteen percent chose taxes, compared to 29 percent in the beginning of the municipal budget season in July.
The poll, which focused on local issues, surveyed 1,790 likely voters on Monday. It has a margin of error of 2.3 percent.
The poll also found that 51 percent of respondents support superstar David Beckham’s idea to build a Major League Soccer stadium on public land at PortMiami, if the facility is privately funded. Thirty percent opposed the proposal, which is still in its infancy, and 20 percent said they were not sure.
The phrasing of the question, however, may have elicited more supportive responses. It asked if the respondent would support or oppose the extension “in order to avoid tax increases or layoffs” –- both unsavory choices.
Ibarra said he wrote the question that way to give respondents an understanding of the potential tradeoff in extending the concession. The matter goes before county commissioners Thursday.
“If I only say, 'Do you want people to go hungry,' everybody would say, ‘Of course not,’” he said. “I try to put opposing forces so they have to choose between one side or another.”
The poll only touched on state and national issues, asking respondents about Obamacare. A plurality, 37 percent, said they would favor repealing and replacing the federal healthcare reform law. Twenty-eight percent said they would not change it, 21 percent said they would reform and amend it and 14 percent said they were not sure.
In the 2014 Florida governor's race, leading Democrat Charlie Crist edged incumbent Republican Rick Scott by 6 percentage points.
However, the poll slightly oversampled Republicans, and robopolls, because they don't rely on cell phones, tend to survey older people -- who are more likely to own landlines as well as lean conservative.
A spate of recent Florida polls indicates Crist leads by more than 6 points statewide and that his lead therefore is likely higher in liberal-leaning Miami-Dade, where Democrats have tended to win by double-digits in recent statewide elections.
Ibarra said he surveyed more Republicans because they turn out in higher numbers in non-presidential election years. But his sample of 43 percent GOP voters is still higher than the party's best turnout in recent gubernatorial elections. When adjusted to use the partisan turnout percentages of the 2010 elections -- a high-water mark for Republicans -- the poll numbers indicate Scott would actually lose Miami-Dade by 11 percentage points.
None of this is to say the governor's race poll results are partisan. Ibarra didn't manipulate the data, he shared it all and the results from his crosstabs appear to jibe with results from other surveys.
Ibarra said Crist would have to win handily in Miami-Dade to defeat Scott. The pollster expected Scott's numbers to improve but not as much as they did in his poll.
"As the election gets closer, people return to their respective parties," Ibarra said.
--with Marc Caputo