October 13, 2015

Survey: Floridians remained financially stressed; and most support diplomacy with Cuba

Florida voters remain financially stressed but don’t think they’re being overtaxed and are supportive of resuming diplomatic relations with Cuba, according to the latest USF-Nielsen Sunshine State Survey released Tuesday. 

The wide-ranging survey conducted July 30 through Aug. 16 found that 71 percent of all Floridians continue to feel the effects of the Great Recession and identify the economy and jobs as the issue that remains most important to them.  Download Sunshine State Survey 2015 2

But, in the second installment of the survey of 1,251 random adults, people identified the biggest threats to the state economy as loss of jobs, government waste and inefficiency – at both the state and local level – and undocumented residents and workers.

“What this release shows is that Floridians are still stressed economically,’’ said University of South Florida public affairs professor Susan MacManus, who directed the survey. “They are very much still looking somewhat judgmentally, and in a negative fashion, toward state and local leadership. And they are hopeful for attention to transportation and infrastructure.” 

Most people pointed to either investing in education and training or improving the state’s infrastructure – each with 23 percent – as the best way to improve the state’s job climate. Only 15 percent pointed to cutting or limiting taxes and regulations.

The survey shows that support for improving the state’s infrastructure, especially transportation, increased from 17 percent in 2014 to 23 percent this year, while support for cutting or limiting taxes and regulations dropped from 21 percent in 2014 to 15 percent in 2015.

"Along with population growth comes more congestion and longer commutes—which is at least a partial explanation for growing support for infrastructure improvements,'' she said. 

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October 08, 2015

Quinnipiac poll: Florida voters back recreational marijuana, Dems lead in Senate race to replace Marco Rubio

A new poll shows that Florida voters back recreational marijuana and that Democrats are leading the U.S. Senate race however the poll omitted some candidates in that race.

The poll by Quinnipiac shows that Florida voters overall support legalizing personal marijuana use 51 – 45 percent with the highest support among young voters. And voters support legalizing medical marijuana 87 – 12 percent.

A question on the ballot last year to allow medical marijuana failed by about two points to achieve the 60 percent margin needed for a constitutional amendment. A similar question will likely appear on the ballot next year.

In the race to replace U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, Democratic U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy of Jupiter leads Republican Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera of Miami 37 – 29 percent and tops U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis, Ponte Vedra Beach, 37 – 30 percent. Democratic U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson of Orlando gets 35 percent to Lopez-Cantera’s 32 percent and leads DeSantis 37 – 31 percent.

The poll did not include Republican candidates U.S. Rep. David Jolly of Tampa or Todd Wilcox and did not ask Democratic voters to choose between Murphy and Grayson.

It also didn’t include potential candidates including Republican CFO Jeff Atwater and Democratic U.S. Rep. Gwen Graham.

Republican Gov. Rick Scott gets a negative 41 – 47 percent job approval rating, down from 45 – 44 percent in an Aug. 25 Quinnipiac University poll.

Voters approve 46 – 27 percent of the job Democratic U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson is doing and give Rubio a 52 – 36 percent job approval rating.

The survey was done between Sept. 25 and Oct. 5 and included 1,173 Florida voters with a margin of error of +/- 2.9 percentage points.  

October 07, 2015

Quinnipiac poll: Donald Trump leads in Florida, Jeb Bush drops to 4th place


Donald Trump remains in first place among Florida Republican voters -- despite being disliked and not trusted -- with twice as much support as Miami favorites Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush.

Trump garnered 28 percent support in the Quinnipiac University poll, followed by Ben Carson (16 percent), Rubio (14 percent) and Bush (12 percent). (Carson is a part-time West Palm Beach resident, and Trump also owns property there.)

"The generally more energized Republican party members, who backed former Gov. Bush and Sen. Rubio when they ran for office in the Sunshine State, are deserting the establishment candidates for outsiders -- specifically Trump and Carson," Peter A. Brown, the poll's assistant director, said in a statement.

Still, asked if they have a positive view of Trump, 57 percent of poll respondents said they don't. Fifty-four percent said he's not honest and trustworthy.

Bush's slide has been dramatic: A February Q poll pegged his support at 32 percent. It was 17 percent in the firm's last survey in August. In the latest poll, Bush didn't crack the top five candidates in the two other swing states Quinnipiac surveyed: Ohio and Pennsylvania. (Rubio didn't either in Ohio but was third in Pennsylvania.)

Early polls, Bush and his team have been saying for a while, don't matter. Rubio has said the same thing.

Despite Trump's lead, he wouldn't defeat Democrats in potential general election match-ups, according to the poll, which has an error margin of 2.9 percentage points.

On the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton continues to hold a commanding lead with 43 percent support, followed by 19 percent each for Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden, who is not a candidate.

October 06, 2015

PPP poll: Donald Trump still leads GOP field, Marco Rubio has 'momentum'


Donald Trump's lead in the 2016 Republican presidential race has not grown but remained steady since late August, according to a new public-opinion survey by the Democratic-leaning PPP polling firm.

Trump drew 27 percent support in the poll, compared to 29 percent in August. Ben Carson came in second place with 17 percent (similar to 15 percent in the last PPP poll). Then came Marco Rubio with 13 percent and Jeb Bush with 10 percent. Trump's lead holds "with every subgroup of the GOP electorate," the survey notes.

"Rubio is really the only candidate who can claim any sort of momentum," according to the poll. "He's gone from 5th place at 7% to 3rd place at 13% over the last five weeks. And he has a 57/24 favorability rating that puts him only behind Carson when it comes to the most broadly liked of the Republican hopefuls. No one other than Rubio has seen more than a 2 point gain since our last poll."

Of Bush, the poll notes 10 percent is up a point from the previous survey, "but he's becoming more and more unpopular with Republican voters overall.

"Just 34% have a favorable opinion of him to 49% with a negative one. His struggles continue to be fueled by strong distrust from voters who identify themselves as 'very conservative' - his favorability with them is 26/56 and only 2% support him for the nomination." 

The usual caveat applies: It's early in the presidential race, and national polls don't show how candidates are doing in states that hold the first primaries and caucuses.

September 30, 2015

Poll asks voters for words to describe Donald Trump


A new Suffolk University/USA Today poll published Wednesday asked respondents to describe some declared or potential presidential candidates in one word.

The results for Republican Donald Trump are striking.

Here are the top five words or groups of words they offered in the open-ended question:

1. Idiot/Jerk/Stupid/Dumb

2. Arrogant

3. Crazy/Nuts

4. Buffoon/Clown/Comical/Joke

5. Unfavorable/Dislike him

Trump remains the first choice among GOP likely voters, with 23 percent. Ben Carson and Carly Fiorina are tied for second place with 13 percent, followed by Marco Rubio (9 percent) and Jeb Bush (8 percent).

The error margin was 5 percentage points.

September 24, 2015

Quinnipiac poll: Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio trail Donald Trump, Ben Carson, Carly Fiorina


The rise of the political outsiders continues in the latest national poll by Quinnipiac University, which shows real-estate tycoon Donald Trump still leading the 2016 Republican presidential field, ahead of retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson and former Hewlett-Packard chief executive Carly Florina.

Here's how they polled: Trump at 25 percent, Carson at 17 percent and Florina at 12 percent, followed by former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush at 10 percent and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio at 9 percent. No other candidate topped 7 percent.

Among Republican poll respondents, though, 29 percent said they "would definitely not support" Trump. And in hypothetical general election match-ups, Carson did best against Democrats.

On the Democratic side, it was Vice President Joe Biden -- who's not running at this point -- who fared best against Republicans. Among primary voters, however, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton led the pack with 43 percent, followed by Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders with 25 percent and Biden with 18 percent.

"The cast of characters changes by the week, with Ben Carson and Carly Florina in the spotlight and Gov. Jeb Bush still waiting for his big break. And Donald Trump still in the lead role," Tim Malloy, the poll's assistant director, said in a statement.

"But when the number of Republicans who 'would definitely not support' you is greater than the number who support you, where does that leave you? Welcome to Trump World, comparing his fragile support form his own party to Hillary Clinton's sagging but still stronger support from her party."

Rubio remains better-liked -- though also less known -- than Bush. Thirty-eight percent of respondents have a favorable view of Rubio, 28 percent an unfavorable one and 33 percent haven't heard enough about him. By comparison, 44 percent have an unfavorable view of Bush, 38 percent a favorable one and 17 percent haven't heard enough.

September 16, 2015

PPP poll: Alan Grayson leads Patrick Murphy, but candidates remain largely unknown

via @learyreports

Alan Grayson is leading Democratic U.S. Senate rival Patrick Murphyaccording to a new poll. But the candidates remain largely unknown across Florida.

Grayson takes 33 percent of the vote from Democrats while Murphy gets 27 percent. Still, 39 percent of voters are not sure who they like.

Murphy performs better in general election match-ups and favorable/unfavorable. Thirty-three percent said they had a favorable opinion of him vs. 15 percent who said they had an unfavorable view (and 52 percent weren't sure). Grayson’s ratio is 29/26, with 44 percent not sure.

The GOP side is not much different.

David Jolly gets 18 percent, just above Ron DeSantis with 15 percent and Carlos Lopez-Cantera 14 percent. Fifty-two percent of Republican primary voters are unsure.

In a general election match-up, Murphy does better than Grayson. From a Public Policy Polling memo: "Murphy leads all the Republicans- it's 40/35 over both DeSantis and Jolly, and 41/35 over Lopez-Cantera. Grayson slightly trails both Jolly (39/36) and DeSantis (37/36), but does lead Lopez-Cantera 41/34."

PPP, which uses automated phone messages, conducted the survey Sept. 11-13 and it included 368 Democratic primary voters.

“The main story line in the Florida Sena te race right now is how unknown the candidates are,” said Dean Debnam, president of Public Policy Polling. “It’s going to take a while for this contest to really develop.”

--ALEX LEARY, Tampa Bay Times

September 15, 2015

PPP poll: Donald Trump, Ben Carson ahead of Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio in Florida

via @adamsmithtimes

A new robo call poll by the Democratic firm Public Policy Polling finds Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio both lagging behind Donald Trump and Ben Carson in Florida, where they had been expected to dominate. Most of the Republicans tested beat Hillary Clinton in Florida, but at this point Carson is the strongest general election candidate, winning 49 percent support to 40 percent for Clinton.

A plurality of voters think Bush and Rubio should drop out. Ouch.

From PPP:

Trump continues to lead the GOP field within all the demographic groups we look at. He gets 34% with seniors, 30% with men, 29% with 'somewhat conservative' voters, 27% with 'very conservative' ones, 27% with women, 26% with moderates, and 24% with younger voters. We continue to find there's really just not that much variation in his support from one demographic group to another On the Democratic side, Florida continues to be a pretty strong state for Hillary Clinton.

She's getting 55% to 18% for Bernie Sanders, 17% for Joe Biden, 2% for Martin O'Malley, and 1% each for Lincoln Chafee and Jim Webb. Compared to our March poll in the state Clinton is down 3, Biden is up 3, and Sanders is up 15. But even though Clinton's lead is not quite as substantial as it was earlier in the year, these numbers do provide more evidence of strength for her in the south.

More here.

--ADAM C. SMITH, Tampa Bay Times

August 31, 2015

Iowa polls show Ben Carson moving closer to Donald Trump

via @learyreports

Donald Trump continues to lead in Iowa, but Ben Carson, who now lives in West Palm Beach, is moving up and is five percentage points from the boisterous New York celebrity developer, according to a new poll.

The Des Moines Register/Bloomberg Politics Iowa Poll has Trump with 23 percent support and Carson with 18.

Ted Cruz - 8 percent
Scott Walker - 8 percent
Jeb Bush - 6 percent
Marco Rubio - 6 percent
Carly Fiorina - 5 percent

"Wow," said Kedron Bardwell, a political science professor at Simpson College, told the Register. "This poll will have Republican consultants shaking heads in bewilderment. Not since 1992 has anti-establishment sentiment been this strong."

ANOTHER POLL: A Monmouth University survey released this morning has Trump and Carson tied.

--ALEX LEARY, Tampa Bay Times

August 27, 2015

Quinnipiac poll: Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio tied nationally -- in 3rd place, with single digits


Florida rivals Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio are tied at 7 percent in Quinnipiac University's latest national poll, putting them in third place in the Republican presidential field behind Donald Trump and Ben Carson.

Trump remains the frontrunner, drawing 28 percent support in the poll -- up from 20 percent in Quinnipiac's last national survey July 30. The latest poll has Carson at 12 percent; Ted Cruz is tied for third with Rubio and Bush.

On the Democratic side, the poll found Joe Biden -- who is not a presidential candidate, at least not yet -- fares a bit better in hypothetical match-ups against leading Republicans than Hillary Clinton.

Polls this early in the race mean little -- especially national polls, since presidential nominees are elected state by state. Some of the other data deep in the Quinnipiac poll are more interesting than the horse race.

Rubio has a net favorability rating a 14 percent (41 percent of poll respondents think of him favorably and 27 percent unfavorably), second only to Carson. Bush's is minus 9 percent. Trump's is minus 18 percent. Among Republican voters alone, Rubio is viewed even more favorably, 72-3 percent, for a net rating of 69 percent. Bush's rating is 42 percent. 

Pollsters also asked respondents to say the first word that came to mind about Clinton, Bush and Trump. The top three Clinton words: "liar," "dishonest" and "untrustworthy." Bush: "Bush," "family," "honest." Trump's: "arrogant," "blowhard," "idiot."