University of South Florida


USF researchers release findings from statewide COVID-19 survey

A graphic rendering of COVID-19 cells

Researchers with the University of South Florida School of Public Affairs have released the first set of results from a statewide survey that measures general opinions regarding the COVID-19 public health crisis and related policy issues, as well as emergency preparedness.

Below are key findings specific to COVID-19:

Floridians are still concerned about COVID-19: When it comes to COVID-19, a majority of Floridians (55%) believe that the worst is not yet behind us; less than 25% believe that it is.

Trust in public health guidelines: A large majority of Floridians (82%) believe that prevention guidelines being emphasized by public health officials – such as wearing a mask in public and practicing social distancing – are effective at slowing the spread of COVID-19.

Most Floridians would support closing public schools this fall: Nearly three-quarters of respondents (73%) indicated that they would support a statewide decision to close public schools this fall.  A majority (54%) indicated that they would “Strongly Support” doing so.

Strong support for a statewide mask mandate: An overwhelming majority of Floridians (87%) would support a statewide mask mandate, with 73% indicating that they would “Strongly Support” such a measure.

Concerns over political rallies: With election season approaching, 46% of Floridians feel that political candidates should not hold any rallies in Florida this fall, while another 42% feel that political rallies should only be held if they can adhere to proper social distancing guidelines.

Additional support for mitigation policies: A majority of Floridians would also support additional mitigation efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19, including placing stricter limits on public gatherings (85%) as well as temporarily re-closing bars and restaurants (66%), houses of worship (63%), and beaches/public parks (60%).

Small partisan differences on COVID-19: Majorities of both Republicans and Democrats favor enhanced mitigation efforts, though some partisan differences exist.  Republicans are more likely to believe that the worst is behind us with regard to COVID-19 and slightly less likely to believe that public health guidance is effective at limiting the spread of the virus.  Democrats are more supportive of a statewide mask mandate, closing public schools, and placing stricter limits on public gatherings, though majorities in both parties support each measure.

The survey of 600 Floridians was fielded July 30-Aug.10, 2020, and the results are reported with a confidence level of 95% and a margin of error +/-4%.

Survey results specifically related to hurricane preparedness are set to be released next week.

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