FAU Poll Shows Floridians Support Sanctuary Cities

A majority of Floridians favor sanctuary city policies that offer safe harbor for undocumented immigrants, according to a statewide survey by the FAU Business and Economics Polling Initiative.

The majority of respondents wanted Miami-Dade County to keep the sanctuary status (62 to 39 percent). Similarly, Floridians would like to see Tampa become a sanctuary city (61 to 39 percent).


By james-hellegaard | 2/7/2017

A majority of Floridians favor sanctuary city policies that offer safe harbor for undocumented immigrants, according to a statewide survey by the Florida Atlantic University Business and Economics Polling Initiative (FAU BEPI). 

A majority of respondents (52 percent to 36 percent) do not want the federal government to cut off funding to sanctuary cities and a plurality of respondents (46 percent to 38 percent) do not want the U.S. Justice Department to take legal action against sanctuary cities. All regions of Florida with exception of the Southwest are in favor of sanctuary cities.

“This means that Floridians support sanctuary policies that commit a city to serving all individuals without regard to immigration status,” said Monica Escaleras, Ph.D., director of the BEPI.

While Democratic mayors across the country have banded together to fight U.S. President Donald Trump’s executive order that White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said “will strip federal grant money from the sanctuary states and cities that harbor illegal immigrants,” Carlos Gimenez, Republican mayor of Miami-Dade County, announced Jan. 26 that it will abandon the practice of a sanctuary city.

This decision will affect many since Miami-Dade County has the second highest number of immigrants in the country, with more than 1.3 million, according to the Migration Policy Institute. The majority of respondents wanted Miami-Dade County to keep the sanctuary status (62 to 39 percent). Similarly, Floridians would like to see Tampa become a sanctuary city (61 to 39 percent).

Republicans were the only group who supported cutting federal funds with 70 percent in support and 24 percent opposed. When asked about the proposed border wall, 44 percent support and 56 percent oppose. However, when respondents were told constructing the wall would cost $15 billion, support dropped to 34 percent. Republicans favor extending the wall at 70 percent, with their support dropping only to 65 percent when told it would cost $15 billion.

The online survey, which polled 600 Florida residents from Feb. 1-4, with a margin of error of +/- 3.9 percent, found that nearly two-thirds of respondents currently disapprove of Trump’s job performance (66 to 34 percent). However, among Republicans, Trump’s approval is at 73 percent. Only 8 percent of Democrats approve of the job he’s doing so far.

Democratic Senator Bill Nelson appears vulnerable in his 2018 re-election attempt with 28 percent saying he deserves re-election while 72 percent said it was time to give someone else a chance. No political group supported Nelson including Democrats.

It appears having previous knowledge of sanctuary cities influences a person’s attitude toward the practice. Of the 55 percent of respondents who were familiar with sanctuary cities, 51 percent wanted the Justice Department to take legal action against these cities.

For more information, contact Monica Escaleras, Ph.D., director of the BEPI, at 561-297-1312 or mescaler@fau.edu , or visit www.business.fau.edu/bepi .  

-FAU-

©