University of South Florida


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USF researchers release findings from Florida public opinion survey on key midterm issues, approval ratings and future elections

Researchers at the University of South Florida have released results from a statewide survey that measures public opinion on several key issues heading into the upcoming election, favorability ratings of candidates for governor and U.S. Senate, presidential/gubernatorial job approval, and perceptions of the Democratic and Republican parties. 

Among the findings:

The issues most important to Floridians: 

  •  More than 80% of Floridians say that this year’s election for governor will be “very important” in “shaping Florida’s future”.  
  •  Another 15% say that it will be at least “somewhat important”.  
  •  When asked to identify the issues that will have the most impact on how they vote, more than half (52%) said “inflation”.  
  •  Nearly three quarters (73%) said that “pocketbook issues” are more important to them than “social values issues” heading into the election.

Gov. Ron DeSantis’ approval ratings among Floridians: 

  • A majority of Floridians (57%) say that they either “strongly” or “somewhat approve” of the job being done by DeSantis when it comes to jobs and the economy. 
  • A large majority (72%) also say that they approve of the governor’s job in responding to Hurricane Ian. 
  • The governor received plurality support in several other key areas, including immigration (48%), climate change (43%) and unifying Floridians (50%).

Candidate favorability ratings for key statewide races: Respondents provided their favorability ratings for major party candidates in the races for governor and senate:

  •  Ron DeSantis              52% Favorable/39% Unfavorable
  •  Charlie Crist                31% Favorable/39% Unfavorable
  •  Marco Rubio               40% Favorable/40% Unfavorable
  •  Val Demings               33% Favorable/35% Unfavorable

President Biden’s approval ratings: 

  • Among Floridians, 40% say that they approve of the job that Biden is doing on “jobs and the economy”.
  • Meanwhile, 35% approve of the job that he is doing in the area of “foreign policy”. 
  • In contrast, only 25% approve of the president’s handling of recent inflation, while 69% disapprove.  
  • A third (33%) approve of the president’s handling of “immigration and border security”, while 58% disapprove.

Views on the 2024 presidential election: 

  • When asked if they believe that Biden should run for a second term as president, only 19% of Floridians said “yes”, while 66% said “no”.  
  • Similarly, only 28% said that Donald Trump should run for a second term as president in 2024, while 64% said “no”.  
  • When asked if they feel that DeSantis should run for president in 2024, Floridians were more divided; 43% said “yes”, while 46% said “no”.  

How Floridians feel about the Democratic and Republican parties:  

  • Less than half of Floridians say that they have a favorable view of the Democratic or Republican party (41% and 43% respectively).  
  • Nearly one in five (24%) say that the Democratic Party now represents the values of only its most extreme voters, while even more (30%) say the same about the Republican Party. 
  • In each case, only 38% of respondents felt that either party was representative of “moderate” voters.

Confidence in the ability of Democrats and Republicans to work together: 

  • Nearly two-thirds (65%) of respondents said that they were either “not very” or “not at all confident” in the ability of Democratic and Republican leaders in Florida to work together in the state’s best interest.  
  • Nationally, the numbers were even worse, as 74% said that they lacked confidence in the ability of Democrats and Republicans in Washington, D.C., to work together in the nation’s best interest.

Level of optimism about the future: 

  • When asked about America’s future, a majority of respondents (57%) said that they worry that the country’s best days may be behind us.  
  • Only 27% expressed confidence that America’s best days are still to come.  
  • Only 46% felt that Democratic Party leaders “are optimistic when they talk about America’s future”. 
  • Only 41% said the same of Republicans. 

Support for a more moderate “third party”:  

  • When asked if they would support the formation of a more centrist third party, 46% of Floridians said that they would be at least somewhat supportive of the idea.
  • Meanwhile, 46% also said that they would be at least somewhat likely to vote for a third-party candidate for president (if the candidate were qualified to serve in the office and held centrist views that were a compromise between traditional Republican and Democratic positions).

The survey included a representative sample of 600 Floridians, fielded Oct. 14 - 23, 2022. Results are reported with a confidence level of 95% and a margin of error +/-4 %.

The complete survey results can be found here.

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