University of South Florida


Bird sits on a dead fish

USF researchers release findings from statewide environmental opinion survey, topics include red tide and carbon taxes

Researchers with the University of South Florida have released the results from a statewide survey that measures public opinion and attitudes regarding conservation and environmental policy issues.

Among the key findings:

Floridians see a need for more government action on the environment. Nearly two-thirds of Floridians (64%) say that more action is needed to protect the state’s environment from the effects of population growth and development. Democrats were more likely to support additional environmental measures, though a majority of Independents and Republicans said the same.

Strong support for protecting natural habitats and endangered species.  A majority (55%) say that more action is needed to preserve the state’s natural ecosystems, while only 24% say that the state is currently doing enough.  Most Floridians would support additional funding to preserve ecosystems (86%) and to further protect endangered species (85%). Support was consistent among both Republicans and Democrats, though slightly lower among Independents.

Floridians overwhelmingly approve of the Florida Wildlife Corridor Act.  Earlier this year, the state of Florida adopted the Florida Wildlife Corridor Act, which sets aside $400 million to preserve ecosystems and wildlife in the state.  Nearly nine in 10 respondents (87%) said that they either strongly or somewhat approve of the Act’s passage.

Reforestation is a popular environmental solution. An overwhelming majority of respondents (89%) would support reforestation (i.e., extensive tree planting) to absorb carbon emissions.  Support was equally high among Democrats (91%) and Republicans (90%).

Amid recent outbreaks of red tide, a majority favors stricter regulation on agricultural fertilizers.  More than eight in 10 Floridians (85%) – including a large majority of both Republicans and Democrats – favor restrictions on the use of agricultural fertilizers, which are believed to contribute to red tide outbreaks. 

Bipartisan support for a carbon tax.  Three-quarters of respondents (76%) favor taxing corporations to offset their carbon emissions.  This includes bipartisan support among Democrats (87%), Independents (71%), and Republicans (71%).

Floridians favor local control on single-use plastic bans.  While the state of Florida currently prohibits bans on single-use plastic products, most Floridians (56.5%) say the decision should be left to local jurisdictions.

General bipartisan support for environmental reforms.  Across a variety of environmental policy proposals, Floridians of all political affiliations expressed strong support for additional reform efforts. 

The survey included a representative sample of 600 Floridians, fielded July 15-25, 2021. Results are reported with a confidence level of 95% and a margin of error +/-4 %.

A final round of results, which examines attitudes about social media and regulation of tech companies, is set to be released within the next two weeks.

The complete survey results can be found here.

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