The Public Opinion Research Lab at the University of North Florida released a poll of likely Florida voters Oct. 6 showing former Vice President Joe Biden as the leader in the presidential race.
Of the voters surveyed, 51% indicated they intend to vote for Biden, versus 45% who stated they would vote for President Donald Trump. One percent of respondents said they would vote for someone else, while 3% are unsure.
The majority of poll responses were collected on the two days immediately following the Sept. 29 debate between Trump and Biden, said Michael Binder, director of the Public Opinion Research Lab, in a news release.
The poll found that 27% responded that the debate was very or somewhat influential in their vote decision in the coming election, with 73% indicating it was not influential at all.
“This large six-point gap between the candidates is likely attributed to the immediate aftermath of the debate. However, this is Florida, and I expect the election results to be close once all the votes are counted,” Binder said.
Counting the Nov. 3 ballots
When asked whether they agree that the Nov. 3 election results will be fair and trustworthy, 72% said they somewhat or strongly agree, 28% said they disagree.
Voters are split along party lines on that issue, with 86% of Democrats agreeing that the results will be fair, compared with 58% of Republicans.
Forty-two percent of respondents indicated they plan on voting by mail, with early and election day in-person voting at just 29% each.
The Supreme Court nomination
Regarding the nomination of U.S. Court of Appeals Judge Amy Coney Barrett to replace the late U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, respondents were asked what scenario they would like to see in the coming months.
Fifty-two percent said they would like the candidate who wins the presidential election to nominate Ginsburg’s successor; 42% said they would like to see the Senate confirm Barrett before the election; and 5% said they would prefer the president to nominate a justice after the election, but before the inauguration of the president-elect.
“Amy Coney Barrett’s nomination combined with the concern about the integrity of the election in general, highlights the important political role that the courts play in this country,” Binder said.
Rating the incumbents
In addition to vote intention, respondents were asked about their approval of Trump, along with Gov. Ron DeSantis and U.S. Sens. Rick Scott and Marco Rubio.
• Trump received 46% approval, with 53% disapproval.
• Forty-seven percent of respondents approve of DeSantis’s performance, and 51% disapprove.
• Scott received 45% approval, with 53% disapproval.
• Rubio polled at 46% approval and 51% disapproval.
Among Hispanic voters, the Cuban-American Rubio garnered just 41% approval and 55% disapproval.
Amendments on the ballot
Respondents were asked how they will vote on the six state constitutional amendments on the ballot.
Regarding Amendment 1, dealing with the citizenship requirement to vote in Florida, 78% said they would vote to change the language from “all United States Citizens” to “only United States Citizens who are at least eighteen years of age, a permanent resident of Florida and registered to vote, as provided by law, shall be qualified to vote in a Florida election.”
Amendment 2, which would raise Florida’s minimum hourly wage to $15 by 2026, garnered 60% support, with 37% saying they would vote no.
Respondents also expressed support of Amendment 3, regarding changing to an open primary election system in Florida, with 58% saying they would vote in favor of the measure and 36% against, while 6% are unsure.
Forty-one percent of respondents said they would vote in favor of Amendment 4, requiring proposed amendments to the state constitution be voted on twice before taking effect, while 52% would vote no. Seven percent are unsure how they will vote.
Respondents supported Amendment 5 and Amendment 6, both dealing with expanding homestead tax exemptions.
Amendment 5, which would extend the period during which benefits can be transferred from one homestead to another, received 68% support, with 26% opposed.
Eighty-eight percent of respondents said they would vote for Amendment 6, a proposal to extend homestead exemptions to spouses of deceased veterans with combat-related disabilities.
“Florida has a 60% threshold required for passage and I would expect Amendments 2, 3 and 4 to have some trouble getting over that bar,” Binder said.
Respondents were asked about the coronavirus pandemic as it relates to the economy at the federal and state levels.
Regarding the federal government’s response, 61% said it is not doing enough to support the economy during the pandemic, 9% said it is doing too much and 29% said the federal government is doing the right amount.
The state government’s performance had similar responses, with 59% saying it is not doing enough, 6% saying too much and 34% the right amount.
When asked about easing social distancing restrictions, 52% of respondents said the state government is moving too quickly, with 16% saying too slowly, and 32% said it is about right.
Asked which impacts of the coronavirus pandemic they are most concerned about, 57% said public health and 43% said the economic impacts.
Those findings differ from April, when UNF conducted its Statewide COVID-19 Survey, revealing 67% of respondents were more concerned about public health, versus 31% concerned about the economy.
At 82%, most likely voters believe that face masks help slow the spread of coronavirus.
Racial equality and immigration
When asked if they believe that black people and white people receive equal treatment by the police, 56% said they strongly or somewhat disagree.
When asked the same question about police treatment of Hispanic people and white people, 53% disagreed.
The majority of those surveyed, 53%, believe police-involved deaths of black people are signs of a broad problem of systemic racism, rather than isolated incidents (46%).
Regarding immigration, 22% said they would vote only for a candidate who shares their views on immigration, while 72% said it is just one of many factors to consider. Only 6% said that it is not a major issue.
Immigration appeared to be more important for Hispanic respondents, with 25% saying they would vote only for a candidate who shares their views, versus 23% of white respondents and 9% of black respondents.
Of the total sample, 49% support building a wall along the U.S. and Mexico border, 51% opposed; 79% support allowing undocumented immigrants the opportunity to become citizens, with 21% opposed; and 54% support closing federal immigration detention centers, with 44% opposed.
Among Hispanic respondents, the proposals received 41%, 81% and 55% support, respectively.
Click here for details about the methodology of the survey and additional crosstabs by partisanship, age, race, sex and education.